This “Bad Mom” Doesn’t Seem So Bad To Us

April 13th, 2011 | 14 comments | Posted by Jen

Last month, single mom and TV producer Winnie Chaffee left her 13 year-old daughter home alone for a week in NY’s Westchester County while she took a job in Taiwan, supplying the girl with pre-made meals, cash, and credit cards. According to her lawyer, Chaffee had wanted to bring her daughter to Taiwan but couldn’t get permission from her daughter’s school to take her out for that amount of time.

After two days in which Chaffee’s daughter was on her own, a friend of the girl’s found out about her situation, told his family, who then took her in and called the cops. When Chaffee returned from her work trip, she was arrested and charged with child endangerment.

The official DISGRASIAN response to this story is that this is terrible, just terrible. What kind of mom does that? What if something bad had happened? What kind of meals did Chaffee leave? Were they delicious? Kidding! This is seriously very serious, and none of this is funny. At all. Thank goodness nothing happened to the girl, and she, as well as her bad mom, will be in our prayers.

Our unofficial response?

JEN: Credit cards? She left her kid credit cardsssss plural???

INTERN JASMINE: I was lucky if my parents left me change for the phone booth.

DIANA: Oh come on! That kid would've totally lived!

Officially, of course, we can’t condone Chaffee’s actions or question why her 13 year-old daughter didn’t throw a huge rager at her parent-less house, which would have thus made her the most popular girl in school in perpetuity which is to say forever.

Because that also would have been terrible, just terrible.

[Gothamist: Mom Arrested, Left 13-Year-Old Home Alone For Week]

Thanks, Jasmine!

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14 Responses to “This “Bad Mom” Doesn’t Seem So Bad To Us”

  1. Cindy says:

    I was babysitting other children when I was 11. I look back now and wonder, “What were those people thinking?! What were my parents thinking?”

    Then again, that was Texas.

  2. Diana says:

    @Cindy So was I! And we ALL LIVED.

  3. jasmine says:

    We should teach a class on survivalism or something to Asian pre-teens. We’d make a fortune!

  4. burakkuburain says:

    This girl needed a Ferris Bueller but got this instead…

    “…Her child was home alone for two days before a male friend learned of her situation. That boy’s mom took the child in, and Westchester Child Protective Services were called…”

  5. Jen says:

    @burakkuburain Her “male friend” was a total Cameron.

  6. rameyko says:

    As someone who has worked in family law, I feel the child endangerment standards are pretty inflexible sometimes. My parents started a business (technically a branch of a business, but it was essentially starting one from scratch) when I was in third grade, and pretty much from that point forward until high school, I was alone at home until midnight most days. By high school, I had so many activities that I wasn’t home until pretty late most days, so it didn’t matter, but I never felt endangered. In fact, it was one of the reasons I could cook, handle household issues, and take care of myself pretty well by the time I graduated high school.

  7. rameyko says:

    I do think it did stunt some social/emotional skills, though, so I guess it’s a wash. =)

  8. Zinna says:

    Okay. I would never do that with my kids. BUT by the time I was 10, I was going to school by myself, let myself into the house with my key when I got home, helped my younger sister and brother get home from school, helped them do their homework, watched a ton of TV and then started dinner so the rice would be cooked by the time my parents came home from working 12 hours that day (and every day).

    I’m not saying Ms. Chaffee shouldn’t have been arrested or charged because you just don’t do that sort of thing, but I agree with Diana, that kid would have totally survived. In retrospect, Ms. Chaffee should have just had her daughter stay with a friend for the week.

  9. TruePhillyCheeseSteak says:

    I really like seeing your individualized responses to the issue. It goes to show that your blog is not a organism itself, but a community of individuals. BTW, Diana’s picture looks most flattering :P .

    @ Ramey, your story is quite unique. However, I do have some similar experiences. My parents didn’t come home until around 6 or 7, which meant my brothers and I had to work together, cook rice, clean the kitchen, clean the house, and set the table, etc. We learned much about self care.

    @ Cindy. I am offended by your comment “Then again, it’s Texas.” I grew up in Texas, Austin to be more specific.

  10. noneinaye says:

    Oh For Fuck’s Sake … I’d hate to take on the whole “boot strap” parenting model but the girl is 13 fucking years old w/ any serious physiological/mental conditions. She knows how to bathe, dress, and feed herself. She knows what time she’s supposed to get up, do her homework and go to sleep. And the mom left her credit cards just in case she runs out of whatever she might need.

    I reiterate Jen’s point- CREDIT.CARDS-S-S-ZZZZZZZZ

    The mom was only going to be out for a week. Its not like she abandoned her in the middle of winter with no heat,food,water or electricity. ( Happened to my old boss )

  11. noneinaye says:

    *Anger is directed towards the arresting officer.

  12. Cindy says:

    @truephillycheesesteak …I grew up in Texas too. Dallas area when I was a kid…Austin as an adult. And there were the lost years in Odessa somewhere in between. So please know I make that comment from a place of home grown life and knowledge, not as a judgement.

  13. aptkane says:

    Pft, whatever. While I may be just a country white-boy, my parents would have had no trouble leaving me alone at 13 for a week.

    Look, its like the R Kelly case…at what point is 13 old enough? I mean…at 13, I would know if getting peed on was okay or not and I would have gladly taken those credit card(S) and bought myself a brand new shiny BMX for “toughing it out” on my own.

    I blame the school. No, wait, the lame-o post-hippie parents who think this is bad. No wait, I blame R Kelly. What was my point again?

  14. isaacakira says:

    C’mon! 13 years old? When I had her age I was able to bake breads and cakes, make full course meals, laundry, go shopping home provisions and some woodworking and some home maintenance. Of course, take a bus or train were no big deal to me too. Plus, I didn’t live in Westchester County, but in Sao Paulo. I think it’s all a overeaction.

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