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!