My kids are 10 and 13, so it’s been quite a while since I’ve had to worry about diaper bags, strollers, and juggling kids and grocery bags. One of my Facebook readers, Rachel, asked this question, and I wanted to post it for input from all of you, especially if you’re a mom with little ones.
Do you have any tips geared towards self-defense/personal security while schlepping around toddlers? I live in a city where crime against women is on the rise and always feel so vulnerable when I’m out with my daughter… I’m kinda at a loss about self-defense techniques to use when I’m, for example, putting her in her car seat or carrying her and a bag of groceries or such…
Here are a few tips I have for Rachel.
- Before heading toward the store, tuck only the absolute essentials in your pocket: a debit/credit card, keys, cell phone, and do NOT carry a purse or diaper bag into the store. Subconsciously, you’ll be tracking the location of that bag, it will slip off your shoulder, or in a panic, it will spill or cause your attention to be distracted in some other way. Free hands = a mind that can focus on your surroundings, including your kids.
- Know about the four stages of situational awareness. From Chapter 8 in my book:
- Level White—oblivious and only slightly aware of surroundings, people or events.
- Level Yellow—relaxed but alert.
- Level Orange—alert and focused on a specific person or event
- Level Red— A very real danger is happening NOW!
- Practice being at Level Yellow as you run errands, travel in your car, etc. Pay attention to details. Watch for anything suspicious, anything that makes you feel uneasy.
- Whenever possible, leave your little ones with a very trusted friend. This will allow you to take care of errands far more quickly, and it will be easier to be alert and ready to take action than if you had babies and grumpy toddlers and diaper bags and a stroller! (See! I remember those days!)
- Limit your errands to locations in safer neighborhoods, with plenty of other moms, and in daylight hours. Bad guys/gals don’t want to get caught, so they prefer to do their skulking around in the evening through early morning hours. They’ll avoid locations with active security or police presence. They’ll look for victims who are especially vulnerable: women, women with children, and the elderly. It’s your job to not appear vulnerable by your body language, eye contact, and smart decisions.
- If you have no choice but to be out at night with your children, ask if a store security person can walk you to your car and always park as close to the store entrance as possible and under a street light.
What other tips do you have for Rachel and other moms like her?