I never had a clear intention on being a “baby wearing dad”. It wasn’t something that crossed my mind before having kids, I didn’t have one picked out, and I for sure didn’t know anything about the cost.
Just like a lot of things, I never questioned it when my wife bought her first Moby. I was honestly terrified to use it, especially in the first couple months. When the time came to buy an Ergo, I didn’t question that either, I was actually pretty excited because it was now something I could wrap my head around. I felt comfortable and confident using the Ergo, it just seemed like a no brainer. Baby’s crying, Ergo…Baby’s over stimulated, Ergo…Trip to Disneyland, guess what, Ergo!
I can remember the day my wife was gifted a ring sling. While she struggled to figure it out, I stepped in to give my two cents. Its funny because when it comes to parenting our kids, I have always shown this very intuitive, kind of “I know what I’m doing” attitude. Don’t tell my wife but I honestly don’t have a clue what I’m doing most of the time but one of us has to give it a shot, right!? Plus they’re my kids, if anyones gonna mess them up its gonna be me! But I digress.
I remember how easy and natural the ring sling felt and I took to it right away. My wife thought it was really cool because at the time, I hadn’t seen many men wearing their kids, and if they did it was definitely not in a sling. I have never been one to conform, in fact I have always been quite the opposite. My wife really inspired me to “make it my thing”.
I realized right away by the stares I would get that what I was doing was not something people were used to seeing. First of all I’m covered in tattoos, so people probably have a preconceived notion about what kind of person I am, so to see me baby wearing my son in a ring sling must have blown peoples minds, or at least it seemed that way.
No joke, everywhere I went, women old and young would come up to me with praise and admiration. Now as much as I would like to go off on a tangent about how low the bar is set for men to be considered a “good dad”, I will leave that for another time.
I didn’t like the fact that it was such a big deal. Don’t get me wrong, its a nice stroke of the ol’ ego having random women come up in admiration because you are doing something out of the ordinary. I don’t know how many times I would hear, “I wish my husband would wear our kids”, or “my husband would NEVER wear one of those”. So needless to say the dissenter in me was pumped and determined to change things, but what exactly, or how, I wasn’t really sure.
As my fondness for baby wearing grew, so did the bond between me and my son. I remember watching my wife while she nursed him and feel a little left out. Baby wearing gave me that closeness I needed to bond with my son. It also gave me the confidence in knowing that I had the ability to soothe and comfort him. The more I grew to love wearing my first son, the more I noticed a definitive effeminate association towards baby wearing.
I couldn’t help but wonder why other men wouldn’t want this same closeness I had gained with my own son. How could something that seems so natural be considered unmanly. Well guess what, I didn’t care! In fact I was determined to do my part to break those stereotypes.
In 2014 I was honored to be featured along side my wife in Sakura Bloom “Sling Diaries”. Going into it I had no idea how much of an impact writing about baby wearing would have on me. We were already HUGE fans of Sakura Bloom and the quality of their products, but beyond that, reflecting on those moments and opening myself to being completely transparent directly influenced the kind of father I was at the time and opened my eyes to be proud of the father I would strive to be in the future.