Mia Freedman left her three kids at home while she was in New York. Here's what happened.

Telstra Smart Home
Thanks to our brand partner, Telstra Smart Home

A few weeks ago, I went overseas. To New York. For work. I’ve had to go to New York three times in the past six months because Mamamia has opened an office there to launch our new US site, Spring.St.

I love going to New York because New York. What’s not to love? A hotel room, alone. Room service. Silence. The ability to go to the bathroom with the door closed. Getting to pretend I’m Carrie Bradshaw or Lena Dunham or Liz Lemon or Kimmy Schmidt or any of the other Single Girls Living In NYC whose lives I feel like I’ve already lived a little bit in my heart.


But this trip was different.

Not because it was my first time in America under its new President (hold me). And not because it was snowing. This trip was different to all work and pleasure trips that have gone before it because my husband was with me and all the children were home. Alone.

Like this.

mia freedmans parenting
Image: Hughes Entertainment.

Well, not actually like that.

Nothing like that. But they were home alone without us. Without any parents or grandparents.


If you have small children or if you have ever been a small child, you will be wondering why I would leave my three kids unsupervised, unchaperoned, unparented, unleashed.

Is that even legal, you wonder?

This is an excellent question and it is, in fact, legal because my eldest child is not a child anymore, he’s a 19-year-old man. And for the 10 days during which both Jason and I were away, Luca was not just a man, he was a full-time working single Dad to two kids/siblings aged eight and eleven.

#nyc chillly @springst

A post shared by Mia Freedman (@miafreedman) on


The degree of difficulty was ramped up further by me due to the fact his single-dad stint happened to coincide with back to school. And not just any start of the term but TERM 1, which, as all parents know, is a cluster of drama and disorganisation and anxieties and forgetting bits of uniforms and sporting equipment as everyone adjusts to new classes, teachers and timetables.

I wasn’t worried though.

My firstborn has always been very capable and mature, far more mature than his mother -  as he never tires of telling everyone.


This is how he felt about it, according to the post he wrote for Mamamia on day 3:

“I’m torn, really. I don’t know whether I should feel honoured my parents entrusted me with their two youngest children for ten days, or sour at the fact I had no choice in the matter.

I’m approaching these ten days with a long-term goal in mind: when I hand them back over to Mum and Dad, they must be living. That will be a mission completed successfully. Anything that happens in the interim is irrelevant; unimportant; meaningless.


mia freedmans parenting
Left: Mia Freedman in New York. Right: Meanwhile, her son Luca has been holding the fort. Image: Supplied.

Look, I have to admit he learnt this style of parenting from me. I don’t sweat the small stuff, I really don’t, and he knows this from all the times he used to arrive at his friends’ birthday parties without a present.

“Tell them sorry and I’ll send it in to school on Monday!” I’d shout out the open car window as I drove away. “It makes the celebrations last longer!”

So I can’t really blame him for cutting corners. Also, he was working full time. The struggle is real. But I was never worried he would, you know, forget them entirely. WOULD HE? He wouldn’t. I don’t think.

In truth, whenever I’m away I find it’s the little things I miss about family life. Watching the kids do their homework or play with the dog or muck around in the garden. I also worry a bit, of course. Are the doors locked? The windows closed? Has anyone remembered to close the gate so the dogs don’t escape? The time difference between Sydney and New York is a tricky one, there are only a few waking hours of cross-over. Communication can be fraught.


On this trip, I found myself wondering how things were going as I went to meetings (and maybe Zara and Sephora) in New York while (presumably) the kids and dogs slept at home.

If only I’d had a Telstra Smart Home but this was still a month into my future. Now that I do have one and my house is rigged up for me to monitor and control it via my phone, I can see all the smart uses for when I’m away.

I could have seen the kids arrive home from school or checked to make sure the little kids weren’t still watching TV at 11pm. I could have made sure the doors and windows were closed when they went to bed and after they left for school and work in the morning.

I could have made sure the iron was turned off (if they ever turned it on, who am I kidding) and the garage door was closed.

I could have had a degree of peace of mind that I never quite got, no matter how much I knew they were totally fine.

A post shared by Mia Freedman (@miafreedman) on


In case you were wondering, the kids were watching TV at 11pm, and the iron wasn’t used. Here is an excerpt of the first afternoon and evening they spent under Luca’s supervision after dropping us off at the airport:

4pm – This thing happened where we arrived home and I forgot about them for five hours.

4.05pm – Shout out. No response. Plan search through house. Make toast in case search is long and arduous.

4.06pm – Scour upstairs. No one there. Finish toast. Rations low.

4.08pm – Sister watching videos on computer in living room. YouTube. Much laughing. Safe and also alive. Success.

4.09pm – Brother (8) in TV room. Playing Xbox.

Has found shooting video games, which are hidden, on account of him not being allowed to play them. Clearly not well enough.

mia freedmans parenting
Luca's face post-parenting. Image: Supplied.

Call of Duty: Black Ops. Look on his face resembles dog caught peeing on carpet. Well aware this is defining moment for me as parent. Ask self ‘What would Phil Dunphy do?’

4.10pm – Decide best course of action is sit down and also play Call of Duty: Black Ops. Am cool dad. I supervise, explain benefits of throwing grenades when enemies in large groups etc. Teaching moment.

4.30pm – Leave brother to play Xbox alone, satisfied have imparted sufficient knowledge.

5.14pm – Celebratory beer.

5.30pm – Friend comes over. More celebratory beers. Children quiet. Call out to confirm wellbeing. All OK.


8pm – Realise neither have moved in 10 hours. Also, dinner is a thing I am responsible for. Order pizza. Brother wants Hawaiian. Sister wants salami. Swim while waiting for delivery. Happy times.

8.23pm – Eat pizza together at table. Kids tired after difficult day on respective couches. Sister removes salami from salami pizza.

8.40pm – Ask for help clearing table. Much eye-rolling, despite fact we didn’t use plates. Inform both children TEN MINUTES TILL BEDTIME.

10.45pm – Check on sleeping children. Beds noticeably missing sleeping children. Minor heart attack.

Locate in TV room. Wearing clothes from this morning. GUYS I JUST… I’m not angry. I’m just disappointed.

*mic drop*. Walk out.

10.46pm – Walk back in. “No but seriously go to bed.”

I read all that in my hotel room and laughed my pants off.

Guess who was happiest to see us on our return?

“This parenting caper is exhausting,” he said.

Someone give my son a medal.

You can read how things turned out for Luca and his siblings here and here.

What's your game plan for looking after the kids when you go away? Grandparents? Their other parent? A babysitter? 

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Telstra Smart Home.