Now, the other day I got told I looked like an Earth Mother. This for me is definitely one of the best compliments I've ever received. Having finally started to be fairly competent at a back carry with a kanga, I was feeling pretty smug.
My smugness was short lived after a rather sweaty and high tense run in with a woven wrap in a supermarket carpark.
You see, my imaginings of an Earth Mother are a woman of a calm nature; who takes life as it comes, let's her children run free whilst remaining in tune with their every need and obviously carrying a baby around wrapped in some kind of animal hair blend woven wrap at all times. She completes tasks effortlessly whilst gliding around barefoot with her baby on her back every now and again stopping to be mindful of the task at hand, serenely gazing lovingly into her children's eyes.
This woman I am not. To be what I refer to as a 'hardcore' babywearer you need to do it for the love of the carry. I myself am a pretty practical person who will definitely go for the easy option. If the easy option means I use a sling then I definitely do it. If the easy option involves my double buggy I'm totally up for that too. Then there are those days when I feel like I can attempt a little Earth Mother moment.... Hence the carpark incident.
So we arrive at said carpark and its raining. Baby is asleep and toddler is in a pretty serious grump after a badly timed snooze. At this point I think, yeh let's wrap the baby, why not? Well it's raining for one but anyhow I carry on and manage to fashion some kind of hold which vaguely looks like a kangaroo carry. My children are neither a fan of the transfer when they are asleep, so at this point baby is now wide awake and personally I do not find a kangaroo carry conducive to peering around. With a nosey 10 month old this could be an issue. Hey ho, she's in and I'm not dragging my tails in the rain again. Get toddler out and attempt to find a trolley. Decide that of course only one seat is needed in the trolley because the baby is in the sling and the toddler is walking.
Right there, at that moment, that's where my earth mother moment ended. Toddler running off after raiding the free fruit basket at the front of the shop and lobs chosen apple on floor for it to roll under a display, lots of tutting from a nearby old dear. Heaving baby strapped to chest in an inappropriate carry whilst chasing a toddler and pushing a trolley that toddler won't sit in and that has a wonky wheel is sweaty work, queue harassed looking me. I stop. I breathe. I look vaguely serenely into the distance whilst trying to keep half an eye on toddler who is now attempting to pull the heads off the cut flowers. At this moment baby decides she's had enough of the sling. Put baby in trolley and unravel sweaty self from woven wrap. Locate toddler mid snotty nose smear hiding in the clothing rails. Pretend I haven't seen nose smear and continue. Toddler asks to go in trolley. Now, ordinarily toddler wouldn't deign herself to be strapped in to anything. But of course on this day, at this moment it's the perfect idea. Earth Mother persona so far away and replaced by slightly manic over enthusiastic shouty mother. Random items grabbed, trip abandoned, children eating bribery snack of biscuits in the car. Who's looking smug now?
This incident is one of many that on reflection I just should have used the double trolley and bribed my children with snacks like all the other mums in the shop. My attempt to emanate calmness resulted in a high tense meltdown of the grown up variety, definitely not the look and mood I was aiming for. Earth Mother status is still an aspiration of mine but I will take that compliment and rest easy that someone one day thought I was worthy of the title. Thank goodness they weren't in that carpark!
To be fair this same lovely lady was with me the day I decided to shop for toddler shoes and tipped the double buggy upside down with a newborn in it. But that's a whole other story....
Whatever your aspirations of the kind of mother you want to be, there is a woman next to you already thinking you're just that. Or there is one behind you in Tesco carpark thinking 'why doesn't she just use a trolley?'. Either way, babywearing for the love of the carry is definitely not my bag! Necessity is key, whether I'm wrapping with some kind of ancient Yak fabric or a dirty towel from the boot of my car.