At Berkeleyside we feel quite proprietorial about having self-described “bad mother” Ayelet Waldman in our midst. Waldman, who lives in Berkeley, has made a career out of exposing the fallibilities of motherhood which, in fact, are common to all women who give birth.

But Waldman has an East Coast contender to the “bad mom” throne and she is coming, if not to Berkeley, very close.

Lenore Skenazy made headlines when she wrote about letting her 9-year-old son take the subway home in New York. As she writes on her blog: “Two days later I was on the Today Show, MSNBC, FoxNews and all manner of talk radio with a new title under my smiling face: ‘America’s Worst Mom?’”

Skenazy has turned her experiences and views into a book and now a movement founded on  the snappy term “free-range kids.” The book is titled “Free-range kids: Giving our children the freedom we had without going nuts with worry” and, as she says (and we have to agree): “Children, like chickens, deserve a life outside the cage. The overprotected life is stunting and stifling, not to mention boring for all concerned.”

On Thursday, Skenazy will speak at a PTA meeting at the Kensington Hilltop Elementary School. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the school’s multipurpose room, with Skenazy’s talk following the regular meeting. The school is located at 90 Highland Boulevard in Kensington.

[Photo: freerangekids.wordpress.com]

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...