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Friday, 27 January 2017

I'm a Judgmental Parent | Baby Wearing Mothers Are Pack Ponies

Loose Women Baby Wearing Mothers Are Pack Ponies
Loose Women publicized their debate on the 'Pack Pony Baby Wearing Mothers', and it's forced me to come to terms with the reality of parenting. The world of parenting is judgmental, that much, I've always been aware of. No matter what decision you make, someone will disagree, and if like me, you choose to put many of your choices online, someone will disagree publicly. Everyone judges, and that in itself is nothing to be ashamed of. I always liked to believe that I was not one of these people though when it came to parenting. I could preach to the high heavens about how much I do not judge anyone based on their own parenting decisions - but this week the ladies of Loose Women and another blogger showed me I was simply another one of those judgmental parents I claim to be nothing like.


Loose Women - a bit of a naff all female morning chat show for those of us living under a rock - recently aired a short segment on baby wearing. Four panelists essentially ripped a woman apart for having a baby strapped to her front, and a child strapped to her back. They compared the mother to a pack pony, and labeled her as a door mat, all but trampling over all of the benefits baby wearing offers. I hadn't really taken much note of what I'd watched until I came across Abi's post: 'An Open Letter To The Loose Women Production Team', which gives her opinion on the quite frankly demeaning segment. As a frequent baby wearer, she was offended, and watching it back, I can now completely understand why. Loose Women gave a completely biased argument against baby wearing, and anyone watching could be forgiven for thinking baby wearing was the modern devil of parenting.

Now here's the thing. I agreed with everything they said on Loose Women. As these four ladies debated whether it was the mother who did not want to let go, deemed them to be 'vehicles' rather than parents, and claimed that there is no added bonding benefits to baby wearing I nodded along. I found myself tutting at these mothers who wouldn't let go of their babies, who wore their babies as a comfort to themselves rather than for the necessity of it. Once again, I found myself writing off baby wearing, almost giving myself a silent pat on the back for still not having demeaned myself or my child to this godforsaken parenting trend. And that is where I was wrong: where we were all very wrong. I've never used a baby carrier, or a wrap, despite having wanted to many times I've just never got around to purchasing one. I am in no position to comment on baby wearing or the effects it may have on my child or our relationship, because I've never put myself in the position where it could have an effect, and neither have the ladies on Loose Women. I judged another parent without ever being in their position, and it's something I've done too many times. 

I like to claim I do not judge - but let's face it. We all judge, some of us more publicly than others, sure, but we judge. I judged the lady wearing her four year old on her back, I judged the lady wearing the baby on her front. With only a mere three minute segment of a morning talkshow, I was completely against baby-wearing, and coming to my own -influenced- conclusions about those who choose to. I agreed with them because I have never been on the other side of the argument, and this is something so many of us are guilty of doing. I claim I don't judge, because I've probably tried most of the things that cause controversy in parenting a newborn. I don't comment on bed sharing, or not breastfeeding, or dummies, or controlled crying - because I've tried them all.  I don't judge those who use or do them, because I've been in their position, but I've never once been in the position of a baby wearer, so I don't have the right to judge. 

I repeat, I don't have the right to judge, and neither do you.

So what if there breaking their own backs? It's exactly that, THEIR back. It's their back and it's their child. If there was any risk of baby wearing wreaking havoc on the mental or emotional development of a child then I'm fairly sure they would never have made it to the shelf in the first place, and if on the off chance it is becoming detrimental to a child's development, then it should be the parent's job to notice this and to phase out the baby wearing. It's not my job to comment on this, and it's certainly not the job of the four panelists on Loose Women. We are all far too quick to judge based on the tiniest piece of information, I mean, if a 3 minute segment was enough to have me writing off something that so many parents swear by, what could have happened had I watched an hour long one? I was lucky enough to have stumbled across a post from the opposing point of view pretty quickly, and that was enough for me to realize that both myself and the ladies from Loose Women had jumped to conclusions far too quickly - but how many people will have watched that TV show without ever getting to hear the opposing argument?

Too often in parenting we choose to judge someone based on a situation we've never been in, and have no ability to comprehend. I can't promise that I won't judge other parents in the future, but I can promise I'll make a conscious effort to remind myself that I probably don't have a clue what I'm talking about. Your child is your child, you will always be the best person to make decisions about what is best for them, and judging someone for making a decision that is most appropriate for their own situation is never going to be ok. It's time we all took a step back and focused a bit more on our own lives, and less on what others are doing. Loose Women ladies, that goes for you too. I was on your side at first, but now I'm choosing to be on my childs side instead, as are the baby-wearers.

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