Just yesterday I was asked if I “wore” my baby. Hmmm . . . I had no idea what she meant. After delving a little more into the subject with her I realized that she was asking if Lyla rode in a baby sling or Snugli or Baby Bjorn. Ah, well yeah, sometimes. But do I wear her?!
Later in the day I was chatting with Kristen and asked her if she’d ever heard the term “baby wearing.” Kristen had. Apparently so have most other moms. I guess I am behind as usual. Kristen encouraged me to do some research and see what I find. Wowee! This baby wearing stuff is a big deal.
Facebook came up with 500 groups dedicated to baby wearing. When I googled baby wearing I found links to companies that make slings/wraps, thebabywearer.com, an entry in wikepedia, an article from Dr. Sears, babywearing.com, and literally thousands of other forums, articles, groups, etc. wholly dedicated to strapping your young one to your torso and carting them around.
According to Dr. Sears, famous pediatrician who coined the phrase “attachment parenting”, and many of these sites some of the benefits of babywearing are: less crying, smarter babies, babies with better organizational skills (? okay . . .), babies are “humanized” earlier (again….okay), and the more practical ones – you can do things you need to get done, hands free! This one, I get.
Am I against babywearing? Not necessarily. I “wore” Lyla for the first time last weekend while Jason, Jonah and I went to Target and some other public places. It was nice because #1 – no one tried to touch my kid. Strangers can be amazingly handsy with other people’s young children. #2 – I could walk around and do whatever with her sleeping securely on me. That was nice. Is this something I want to do 24-7? Nope. It’s not. Am I less of a mother for not choosing to do so? No way.
That leads me to a bigger issue that I noticed when I had Jonah. Mommies and their identities. When you have a kid for the first time, it’s pretty overwhelming. Not only are you and your partner responsible for another living person, you’re thrown into this new world of “mommyhood” that includes all these rituals, language and rites of passage that you are totally clueless of. Then you’ve got hormones thrown in with a generous dash of “Who the heck am I now?!”
Here’s where babywearing comes in . . . go to any mommy website like whattoexpect.com or parents.com and you’ll find these lists of forums for people who are dedicated to various aspects of parenthood like exclusively breastfeeding moms, babywearers, all organic mommies, natural childbirth divas . . . etc, etc. Don’t get me wrong, everyone needs support and encouragement. I’m all for that. What doesn’t sit well with me is when so many moms seem to cling to some aspect of motherhood in order to find some sort of identity that they’ve lost or misplaced. In reality, these are usually the same moms who love to lecture us other low-lifes who don’t care a thing about touting the party line for this cause or that. “What do you mean you had an epidural?!”
Let’s give each other a break! Feed your kid wheat grass and I’ll keep giving mine mac n’ cheese. No biggie. 🙂
But seriously, I have to remind myself that kids don’t stay little forever. Babies grow up. I highly doubt anyone will be “wearing” their 12 year old. If they are, wow – their chiropractic bill must be outrageous! In the midst of constant feedings, endless diapers and all the sweet things in between, at the end of the day my identity is still found in Christ. I’m still Crystal Zaragoza – a mom, yes, but also wife to Jason, freelance writer, daughter, bookworm . . . child of God.