After many months of gentle persuasion (AJ would call it nagging but I beg to differ) all it took was a comment from the How to Dad book to get a guest blog out of AJ. Cheers How to Dad guy, your point of view (that being a babywearing dad depletes your man points) is one we are in total disagreement with, but you achieved in one short statement, what I’ve been unable to in 15 months. A guest blog by Ziggy’s dad.
Why don’t Dads Babywear – by AJ Prime.
A while back, Em started managing an Instagram account depicting babywearing dads and quoting the reasons why they do so – imaginatively entitled Why Dads Babywear. The idea behind it being to promote and encourage babywearing to the paternal community.
Em loves to take photos of Ziggy and I together. She has a shit-load of them so naturally we feature on this account a number of times. Selecting a photo to post is fairly easy – well I think it is. I’m like “Yep, that’ll do”. Then she’s all “But what about this one?”
“Looks the same as the last one”
“But it has (insert minuscule difference)”
“Ok, that one then”
“Are you sure? Na don’t worry about it babe, we’ll use the one you like”
But I digress.
As I was saying, selecting the photo is fairly easy . . . It’s captioning them that can be a bit tricky. Tricky because I have to come up with multiple different reasons as to why I wear Ziggy when really there are only a few. And they are the exact same reasons mums babywear.
It’s practical. It leaves your hands and mind free to focus on the task at hand while your child is safe and sound on your back (or front).
It’s intimate. They’re close to you. They’re safe and warm. It’s like a hug that will last as long as your back/and shoulders can hold out.
See, I could only come up with two reasons. Practical and intimate.
So the real question is: Why don’t dads babywear?
The first time Em asked me for a quote for this Instagram account I had to really think about it. While all the other dad’s quotes were different they were all essentially either reasons practical or intimate. So I offered up: “Because, why the fuck not?”
Swear words make a regular appearance in my day to day vernacular but apparently that sounded a smidge too strong so another quote was chosen. Yet that was the way I felt – and still do feel about it. Why the fuck not?? I’m not angry about it, I just swear a lot so it sounds more aggressive that I intend it to be, but seriously, why the fuck not???
It seems to me that the main reasons men won’t babywear are the same reasons why some of us exaggerate the size of . . . the fish we caught. Or why some of us won’t wear pink. Or why some of us won’t cook unless it’s on a BBQ. Or why some of us won’t change a nappy. In short, to remain manly in the eyes of the other manly men, or some bullshit like that.
Likely, ironically even, it’s a fear thing. The fear of looking less manly in the eyes of these manly men. It’s a fear that wearing a baby means the man-card will be revoked or the “manhood” will be dented. Delicate manhood, I say.
I know quite a few dads that babywear and like me they just do it. There’s no fuss about it. They don’t need to talk themselves into it and they’re not praised by their partners and wives for doing it. It’s just something they do as part of being a dad. And that’s the way it should be.
Occasionally we might receive the odd comment about how I’m a good dad for babywearing but the reality is I’m just being a dad. Mums receive little to no praise for babywearing because it’s expected of mothers and yet dads receive accolades for the same thing. To me that’s a reflection of the way western society perceives babywearing – it’s a mother’s thing. But is it??
If more dads would babywear then the comments would fade as it gradually became an accepted normality of western society, to the point that no one would bat an eyelid at the dad with a toddler on his back and an infant on his front. Hell, in some parts of the world, outside the western world this is the norm!
So why don’t dads babywear? If I had to sum it up in a word I’d use the word “fear”. It may not be a great fear or a debilitating one but it is a fear none the less. At best it’s a worry.
And how do we overcome fears? By facing those fears, and with the encouragement of others.
To the dads that don’t babywear – up your game and get amongst it, lads. It won’t hurt. In fact you can bond with your child while you’re swigging a decent IPA and watching the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. I do.
And . . . because, why the fuck not?
Definition of Dad: The man that cares for and loves your children. Not just the guy who “wet the gremlin”.
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A special thanks to Soul Slings for some of the beautiful carriers you see in this blog. You can find Soul Slings carriers available in New Zealand from The Sleep Store and Woven.