When is a child old enough to stay home alone while you run a short errand? Parents often disagree on the right age, but many would say that five is too young.
As Mamamia reports, a mom named “Tarin” recently wrote about an argument with her fiancé when he discovered that she had left their 5-year-old son home alone.
In a post that was later shared to Reddit, Tarin explained that she is 34 weeks pregnant and a stay-at-home mom. Her fiancé only has one day off per week, leaving Tarin alone to deal with any small errands.
Like many pregnant moms, Tarin finds it difficult to get out of the house. So she found a way to avoid the chore of dragging a young child with her everywhere she goes, by leaving her son behind. As she explained:
It’s a pain being pregnant and having to get my son ready and in the car, so I usually leave him home behind my fiancé’s back. (No judgment please.)
However, as Tarin continued, her fiancé recently learned about this firsthand. And he was not pleased.
(Warning: Some of the language seen below may be offensive to some.)
As Tarin explained, she had a pregnancy craving for lunch from a specific place at the mall and figured she could run out, pick up her lunch, and be back in less than an hour:
My son’s lunch was in the oven and [I] figured by the time it was ready, I would be home considering the mall isn’t more than 15 minutes away. My son is potty trained and just plays games on his iPad/watches TV.
However, about 30 minutes after Tarin left, her fiancé came home from work early. He wasn’t pleased to find his son at home alone and sent Tarin a series of angry texts.
“Why the f*ck is Brent here all by himself, are you crazy?” the fiancé asked in one text. After being assured that she just ran to the mall while her son was watching TV, the fiancé added, “How do you not see this is wrong?”
Tarin explained to her angry fiancé that the reason their son was home with the oven on was because his chicken nuggets were cooking and would be done by the time she got home.
The mom didn’t include her fiance’s response to that explanation, but it’s clear that she was deeply offended by his texts. Her objective in posting about the incident wasn’t to ask whether she was in the wrong for leaving her 5-year-old at home, but rather to ask, “Would you guys be mad if your significant other spoke to you this way?”
“I feel degraded and belittled over nothing,” Tarin explained. “A five-year-old is perfectly capable of fending for himself for an hour.” She concluded:
“I’m honestly about to pack my bags and never let my son see his father again as well as when this baby is born. I would rather be a single mother than be spoken to this way.”
On Reddit, most commenters were more concerned with the decision to leave the 5-year-old at home alone than the relationship question Tarin asked about.
Some did point out that the standard on when you can leave kids at home is a flexible one. However, most disagreed with Tarin about a 5-year-old being self-sufficient.
“I might argue a kid can handle themselves for a bit, but a whole hour, with the oven running, no food ready, while she is out at a mall?” wrote one commenter. “Five minutes in my kid would have burned himself on that oven.”
Another commenter explained that whether a child can entertain himself isn’t the measure of when he can be left alone:
Even if you set aside the question of whether a child can take care of themselves, there still is a question of what would happen in an emergency. The door is unlocked, will he walk outside? What would he do if a stranger walks in? The oven is on, Will he open it because he’s hungry and end up burning himself? What if the nuggets catch on fire while they remain in the oven? Will he call 911? Will he know to leave the house? Or will he hide under the bed?
More than one person commented that things wouldn’t get easier for the pregnant mom after her second child was is born. As one person wrote, “If she can’t manage putting a 5-year-old in the car to grab lunch, she won’t be able to take care of a 5-year-old and newborn as a single mom.”
Finally, there were a few who weighed in on the relationship question at the heart of Tarin’s post. However, they didn’t agree that Tarin’s fiance was out of bounds, on the contrary:
“Given the gravity of the situation, I’d say he’s pretty composed,” wrote one person.
Another wrote, “I was home alone after school quite often a couple years older than this so it’s hard for me to be too critical of her on this. However, her attitude towards being called out on this really speaks a lot more about her mindset which concerns me more than anything.”