Dad's 'no shame' post on using toddler leash: 'She'd be the lost child'

"I was surprised as many people felt the same as I did," Clint Edwards said.

ByABC News
June 1, 2017, 3:32 PM

— -- An Oregon father's post is catching buzz on Facebook after he shared an image of his toddler wearing a leash.

On May 27, Clint Edwards, 34, explained why he sometimes uses the backpack safety harness. His status resonated with thousands who commented.

"I put this kid on leash because I love her, but I'm going to get some backtalk about it and it's a complicated position to be in," Edwards told ABC News today. "That's what parents respond to the most is, 'You're doing everything you can to keep your kid safe and somehow, somebody's ready to judge you.'"

"You've just kind of got to blow through that," he said. "I was surprised as many people felt the same as I did."

Edwards, dad to Tristan, 10, and Norah, 7, and Aspen, 3, is the creator of "No Idea What I'm Doing: A Daddy Blog."

Edwards said he and his wife got Aspen a leash last Christmas and she wore it during their family trip to Disneyland.

"I'm glad we did because she almost took a dive into the pond at 'It's a Small World,'" Edwards said.

"She's very curious and not afraid of as much and runs wherever she wants to go," he continued. "I don't want to lose her."

Last week, Edwards posted a photo to his blog's Facebook page of Aspen wearing the leash while at the farmer's market.

Edwards then explained why he sometimes attaches the leash to Aspen.

It read, in part:

"The real difficulty with having a wild child is that you are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t," he wrote. "Because the fact is, if I didn’t put Aspen on a leash while at amusement parks, the zoo, a crowded mall, or the farmers market, she’d be the lost child announced over the intercom. She’d be the kid popping up in every Facebook feed for wandering into a shopping center parking lot, unattended. She could be the child climbing into the tiger cage. Because I can't, for the life of me, keep her from moving."

Edwards continued, "And sure, I get dirty looks from strangers. In fact, I'll probably get some 'I'm the perfect parent and this is why you s---' comments on this post. And to you I say this, 'I'm keep this kid safe while maintaining my piece of mind, and that is 100% worth it.' Because the reality is she'll calm down. She'll figure it out, because all kids do."

Clint Edwards seen in an undated photo building a snowman with two of his three children, Tristan, 10 and Norah, 7.
Courtesy Clint Edwards

Over 3,000 people commented on the post. Edwards said he was surprised of how many parents said that they can relate.

"That was one of the best things I've ever bought in my life," one wrote. "I got dirty looks and comments, but it kept my son safe! People shouldn't be so quick to judge."

"We had a giraffe backpack with a leash for my now 7yo," said another. "She needed it. Before we got it for her she wandered away from us at an MLB game."

Some parents admitted that at first, they were against having their child wear a leash.

"When I had my son I was completely anti-leash!" one person wrote. "I was the parent looking at other parents wondering why that was even necessary...Well, God gave me a slice of humble pie when he blessed us with our daughter!"

"I used to be pretty judgy about those things," wrote another. "Then I had kids. Keep on keepin' on, man."

Others were not on-board with the harness at all.

"The words 'leash' and 'kid' shouldn't be allowed in the same sentence," one wrote.

"My only issue with leashes is parents who use them as babysitters," wrote another. "Just loosely holding that strap ain't gonna be enough if someone wants to snatch them or they want to go."

Edwards admitted he sometimes gets negative looks from strangers, but stands behind his parenting. He hopes his post helps others understand that parents are doing everything they can.

"There's certain things that you say as a parent, 'I'm never going to do--, I'm never going to by that minivan. I'm never going to go grocery shopping in sweatpants," he said. "You get into the parenting thing, you always end up doing it and now you understand why."

"What I hope that people better understand why parents make this decision," Edwards continued. "But more than anything, it's just nice to have a mom say, 'Yea, I share your struggle' and that feels good."

"Sometimes you feel really alone and I think being able to share your struggles," he added. "I think that's good for all parents to be able to have."