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This board seems pretty dead, but I'll post here anyway and see if anyone is paying attention. Sorry this is so long.

I am separated from my husband right now and anticipate being divorced within a year. I have two sons, ages 12.5 and 4.5. I have been leaving the 12-year-old home by himself occasionally recently and let him babysit his little brother for 1.5 hours one evening last week. On Sunday, something happened that got me wondering if I should start carrying a cell phone regularly. (I currently have one only in my car for emergencies.)

Another mom asked me if it would be okay for my son to go to another boy's house with her son. She was going to call the other boy's mom to make sure it was okay, and then call us to make plans one way or the other. Meanwhile, my younger son's school had a back-to-school picnic which was supposed to start before the other mom called us. Since we live only 2 blocks from the elementary school, I decided to leave Older Son at home by himself to wait for the call from his friend's mom with the backup plan that if he was unable to go to the other friend's house he was to walk over to the picnic to meet us.

When the friend's mom called, she said that the other mom didn't want so many boys in her house (3 is so many?!), so she suggested she would pick up Older Son later for an evening event. She asked if she could talk to me, and my son said that I wasn't available, which is what he's supposed to say instead of "she's not home". The friend's mom talked to him for a while then asked when I would be able to speak to her. He blurts out "Oh, she won't be home until 4:00" -- almost 4 hours after the current phone conversation. So, Friend's Mom decides that it was not my intention to leave Older Son home by himself all afternoon and decides to take him over to Other Friend's house anyway. Friend's Mom was most alarmed that I didn't have a cell phone with me for Older Son to reach me. (Other Friend's Mom was apparently freaked out that Older Son was left home by himself at all. Other Friend is a year younger and pretty much over-protected.)

Anyway, I discovered in discussions with other parents that many parents are using cell phones as a way to allow their kids to get in touch with them at any time. (One single mom whose kids are grown now said that she had a pager since cell phones were less common back then.)

So, what do Foolish Single Parents think?

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

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