Monday, March 28, 2011

5 Things I Didn't Learn from Babywearing

1. Patience

Unfortunately, if you weren’t patient before you had kids, learning to affix a child to your body is not going to magically make you a more patient person.  Having a child will, however, definitely make you wish you were a more patient person, regardless of your starting point.  The nice thing about babywearing is, while you may not become more patient during the excruciating and ever-variable length of time it takes to get a 3 year old moving in the direction of your desire, you will at least not have to worry about where the baby has gone off to.
2. Stain Avoidance

If you have ever been near children in a public setting, you may have noticed that children are, well, sort of disgusting.  And sticky.  And slimy.  Especially in the spring and fall, what with allergies and colds and stuff.  And winter, because, you know it’s flu season. And summer (because of the popsicles).  Once you actually have one or more of your own, the ick-factor is undeniable.  Unfortunately, with babywearing, the regular proximity of noses, mouths, eyes, hands, torsos and diapers to you pretty much guarantees that you will end each outing with some sort of something smeared on your clothes.   However, you will have ample opportunity to discuss stain removal, and perform a number of at-home comparison tests.  Take good notes- this will hold you in good stead when you must face the dreaded Science Fair projects that loom in your future.

3. Color Coordination

Unless your budget is unlimited, or you have a monochromatic wardrobe, you are unlikely to have “the” perfect carrier for each and every fabulous, stain-free, slimming, sleek and chic ensemble you have in your wardrobe as you go about your daily affairs.  However, you will learn how to select the perfect carrier for its ability to support the child in question during the activities you have planned for the day, and if you choose wisely, said carrier might also hide the muffin top or the muffin stain someone so considerately place on your shirt. 

4. Karmic Balance
Try as you might to remain on an even keel, children have the most maddening way of putting your ability to remain calm, to find your inner eye, feel your zen, escape to your happy place, to the test on a regular basis.  And babywearing is not going to make those moments any less frustrating.  But babywearing can improve your actual balance.  I’m no Sarah Jessica Parker, but I have been spotted on occasion high-tailing after some wayward child, wearing heels with a baby strapped to my back during a pickup gone awry after a long day of work.  
5. The Right Way to Parent

Despite what the book you’re reading promises, and despite what your mother keeps telling you, there isn’t really a “right” way to parent.  And some times, groups of parents can make you feel defensive about the choices you’ve made, and you gravitate towards those who share your parenting approach.  In my decade of motherhood (okay, typing that made me feel a little queasy- four kids in, how do I still know nothing?), I have never felt more different, yet more welcome, more supported, and more included than at a babywearing meeting.  I believe that our local group has always had a special ability to create community, and the friendships I have made have lasted through all kinds of transitions.  And it is impossible to overstate the importance of being among those who can give you a different perspective.  You may not always agree, but you might broaden your appreciation for the incredible variety of ways there are to be a good parent.

It takes all kinds of mothers to mother all kinds of children … the only “right” way is to be the kind of mother you are.  (I mean, unless you’re a dad.  Then you probably want to go another route).   But mom or dad, it doesn’t help anyone in your house to try to parent like someone else.   So much of parenting is about acceptance – accepting your limitations, accepting your childrens’ challenges, and accepting that “because I said so” doesn’t necessarily mean everyone else will agree.  But it can still be the right thing for you to do.

So throw on some clothes.  We won’t mind if they’re not completely clean.  Slap on a smile.  Strap on your kid.  And we’ll see you at our next meeting.   Wonder what you won’t learn…  

Posted by Nancy


  1. Great post Nancy. We love you, as always.

  2. has anybody translated it into polish? maybe I can do it?