On Display

Parenting in Public Ain’t For Wimps.

From the minute we have left the “safety” of closed doors, we are a walking, talking, mobile piece of artwork. We’re visible. The choices we make are on display. And if you choose to do something which is atypical in your community, you lose your anonymity. Like a goth at a Laura Ashley appreciation meeting, you stand out. I think. I’ve never been to a Laura Ashley appreciation meeting.

For us, we left the hospital with our two babies in a sling. A gorgeous sling. Orange, red, blue, green – nothing quiet about it. We got stopped every 5 metres between the door to the Special Care Nursery and the elevator. In the elevator, we were trapped with “twin tourists”. Then we got gawked at and stopped every 5 metres from the elevator to the exit. It seemed like 30 minutes before we were safely – and privately – in the car.

Parenting in public is difficult. Your decisions are sort of on display, and baby wearing is really obvious. No matter how neutral your wrap, sling, MT or other carrier is, it seems to glow neon when you’re out and about. Parents who wear their babies in public are brave. They are saying “I’ve thought about this; I’ve consciously decided to parent this way and even though you look at me and talk as I walk past, I am going to do what I believe is right by these kids.”

Taking your newborn out in public seems to have a magnetic effect – people seem compellingly drawn to you and your wee one. Wearing them somehow increases the magnetism, and wearing two children must be akin to the force of a neodymium magnet! It has taken about 7 months of wearing the babies in public for me to feel a sense of acceptance about the attention. In a way, I say “bring it on!” – because my children will only have this time once. My conscience tells me it’s important that babies be worn close to my heart. My conscience tells me not to distance my children from myself; to keep them near to me physically and emotionally. I don’t think it’s the easiest way to parent – and there are times when I really tire of having child after child all over me – but I believe it is right.

If you’re going to make it through with your sensibilities intact, you’re going to need support. It’s wonderful if you can get that support from your friends and family, but there’s every chance they won’t understand immediately. Please know you’re welcome to join the forums at BCD; we’d love to help support you on your parenting journey.

Do you find babywearing makes you conspicuous? Is it a positive or negative experience for you? Leave a comment and let us know!

About ScarletRubies

Ruby is a woman living on the edge of reason! She has 4 kids - a 5 y/o daughter, 3 y/o son and her fraternal girl/boy twins were born between 6 and 10 weeks early 6 months ago. She is a ring slinger from way back but is finding the love of woven wraps in recent months. She has her stash spread out in several places around the house and cars so it doesn't appear to her husband to look as large.
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4 Responses to On Display

  1. desiree fawn says:

    I often feel as though I’m being stared at, which is pretty accurate! Everyone wants to see what exactly it is that I’m carrying around like this. People often approach me and say “oh I thought you had a doll” or “oh I though there was a puppy in there”.
    I only really get annoyed when people still try to TOUCH her when she’s in the wrap. That’s just invading all kinds of personal space!
    None of this will ever stop me, however. I love wearing Gretchen & she loves to be worn!

  2. Evie says:

    I don’t mind most of the comments and attention we get with a baby carrier/wrap. People often ask questions about “how do you get them in there?” “is it comfortable?” and say things like “he looks as snug as a bug in there!”. I like to think it’s my little role in babywearing advocacy. I also find parents and grandparents sometimes approach me to ask questions about where to get different carriers or to recommend a carrier to them, I must look like I know what I’m doing!

    One thing that does slightly annoy me though, is when you are trying to put your baby in a wrap or mei tai on your back in public and people rush in to “help” you- they just get in the way! And do you think I would ask for help if I needed it? They think I’m gonna drop him on the ground! But I know people are just trying to help and it’s nice that they are trying to help a mumma out.

  3. Christie says:

    I have had a similar experience to Evie, people do stare, but more in the sense that they feel this is slightly unusual more than anything else. Many people comment how happy my daughter looks being worn, and I have often had people ask me advice on different slings and why I am using the one I am at that given moment (closet sling/carrier junkie coming through :P).

  4. Rebecca says:

    Hi ScarletRubies, I’m trying the scatter around the car/house method to disguise my slings too (one maya wrap, one cotton ring sling, one double layer gauze ring sling, one didymos woven wrap, one gauze woven wrap, one pikkolo catbird baby carrier). I just wanted to ask you, my sister in law is expecting twins (her surprise pregnancy turned into a double surprise – this is number 5 and 6), what carrier/wrap would you recommend for her? It will be summer and hot when they are born.

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