I’ve been thinking about aging out a lot lately. It only seems natural as my worn “baby” just turned four years-old. Do we still wear? Yes. When little legs are tired, or little hearts are sad, or you’ve had a long day at work with your mom and want her to walk in heels carrying forty pounds of you and two bags on momma’s back… for three city blocks. (Ask me how I know). Thanks again, Alisa, for lending me a wrap for said adventure.
But more and more I find myself drawn to other projects, other subjects, other advocacy. Maybe I’ll write a blog about how to reclaim your house after your kids stop drawing on the walls (any day now) or about how to avoid ALL your hair turning gray while doing public school advocacy. Maybe I’ll write about my misadventures in marriage and love or how I’ve finally made peace with my mombod. Maybe I won’t write anymore (doubt it). Whatever I do, though, I am always going to be a babywearer.
See… I’m not aging out, I am aging up.
We grow “out” of things that are temporary, stagnant, arbitrary, or fixed. Kids grow out of shoes that are too small, people out grow jobs that don’t satisfy. We grow up into potential, into our best being, into possibilities. Kids grow up to learn new skills and responsibilities, and independence. You “move on up” to something better, but “move out” of something less than ideal. Babywearers, lets age up, not out.
Take what you’ve learned in this community and share it. Make yourself available to answer people’s carrier questions, or point them to local or online resources. Smile at that caregiver in the grocery store. Value babywearing and share it. Offer to wear other people’s babies, to take their selfies, to tell them that that baby matches their outfit perfectly! Give other caregivers the support or kind word that you know they could use right now.
Buy from ethical companies. Some people may call the social justice movement in this community, “drama.” I don’t. I appreciate what babywearing has taught me about cultural appropriation, staying in my lane, voting with my dollars. Babywearing has changed how I look at products, big and small. Conscientious consumerism is not something to grow out of, but to grow into broader spheres, up.
Value babywearing educators. We are no longer taught babywearing by our abuelas or mothers, these people have learned a valuable skill and are willing to teach it to you. Pay them; make a donation to an organization that taught you for free. Do you remember the first time you learned that you could be hands free with a snuggly baby? The day was saved, sanity rained down from the heavens, and no song was sweeter than the sound of you being able to get. ish. DONE. How much was that worth? Pay them. Give babywearing consultations as shower gifts. Value the education people have undertaken. Support endeavors to professionalize the industry.
Advocate for access. Babywearing is for everybody and every body. Support nonprofits that are attempting to get carriers into the arms of caregivers with the most access barriers. Give your time and old (safe) carriers away to people who may not be able to afford it. Better yet, give your money to create access in underserved populations. Pay it forward to those that need it most.
Have gratitude for babywearing. Babywearing has given my children an attachment to people, a safe place to be, a mother who can still practice law. It was there when my son had a brain injury, when my daughter tests my last nerve, when I learned to love a selfie. Babywearing has given me a community, a safe space, a hobby. Thank you.
When it is over, it won’t really be over, though. I’ll still be here, mostly as an attorney working risk management stuff, less like a blogger or even a caregiver babywearer, but that’s me… growing up, not out. I encourage you to do the same.
Cynthia Soliz is an Austin-based liability attorney and risk-management professional in private practice. She was a babywearer long before she was an attorney and although her massive youngest child is rarely worn anymore, she enjoys wearing other people’s babies, writing about it, and taking babywearing selfies (true story). The opinions expressed are truly her own (damn right) and do not reflect the opinions of BWI National or any of its affiliates. She received no financial compensation for this writing, but believes professional babywearing educators should be compensated for their work.