If you’ve been around a while, you know that I’m a home-birther (to the extreme), a baby wearer, a cloth diapering advocate, I make my own baby food, I breastfeed into toddler-hood, I rear faced by daughter until 4, harnessed until nearly 7, and I’m newly a co-sleeper. My goal is for every mom and mom-to-be to be fully informed, but you won’t catch me judging a scheduled c-section, disposable diapering, Gerber using mom with a crib sleeping baby. Why? Because I’ve been judged, and it sucks!
Frankly, I’m used to being judged for breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, cloth diapering and the like. I’m getting used to being judged for not being “green enough” in that I still use mainstream personal care products for myself, and I use Tide on my cloth diapers.
However, a few years ago I had an experience that still sticks in my craw. I’ll try to keep it short.
If you have never had a child who would.not.sleep, you may not entirely understand this. Rewind to August 2009. My son was 3 months old, and my daughter was 4 1/2 and attending preschool 3 days a week, 2 1/2 hours each day. The preschool was about 15 minutes away, and I had to park, get the kids out, walk into the building to sign her in, and leave. 5 minutes max. At that point, my son would only “nap” if he happened to doze off nursing, and every darn time I tried to put him down, he’d wake up. Shamefully, I even tried the swing (sometimes worked at night in the beginning) but as soon as I tried, he’d be wide awake.
The one time he’d fall asleep was in the car, so pretty much every time, he’d be asleep before we’d gotten to the preschool. These days, I can unbuckle him, carry him inside and set him on the couch. Back then, as soon as I unbuckled the chest clip, he was wide awake. Forget actually transferring him anywhere. So, I’d have to unbuckle him, wake him up, take my daughter inside, then deal with the fact that he absolutely did not want to get back in that doggone car seat, buckle him up, listen to him scream for 15 minutes, then get him home and calmed down.
Although I realize that car seats are for riding in the car, I took advantage of the infant seat and attempted to gingerly carry him into the building and back. Unfortunately for me, there was too much jostling involved and he woke up (I tried twice.) So, it was either unbuckle him and have to carry both him and the seat back up the steps and through the parking lot, then buckle him again, or leave him in the seat for less than 5 minutes. I left him in the seat.
So keep in mind that I tried this twice before I ended up just putting the sleepy wrap on before we left the house, putting him in, carrying him down, walking back to the car, taking him out and buckling him back up. There was another Mom (there were only 8-10 kids in the class) that wasn’t always the one to drop her daughter off, and wasn’t always there when I was dropping mine off (there was about a 10 minute window to drop kids off) who seemed to always be around when I had my son in the car seat, but never when I was carrying or wearing him.
Well, this same Mom was also a member of a MOM’s club I joined (another long story on why I joined & why I left.) To make a long story short, my non-napper was also not a fan of sitting still at that age, and tired very quickly of walking around & around the same room. He was great at the grocery store, but miserable when trying to visit family, or when attending MOM’s club events or meetings. If he was awake, I was left trying to keep an eye on my daughter while bouncing and walking him around, anything to keep him from screaming, until we finally had to leave, with my daughter usually upset and me about at the end of my rope.
Can you see where this is going yet? Twice, my son was asleep when we got to events. Once, I popped the seat out and put it in the stroller and let him sleep. I guess because it was rolling smoothly instead of jostling, he stayed asleep for quite a while. Another time I carried the seat inside the host’s house (and it was this mom of course!) and let him sleep for a few minutes before he woke up.
Other than that, I moved him in the seat once or twice while he was sleeping during a visit to my parents and maybe twice when he fell asleep as he was tagging along to my daughter’s playdates. The rest of his waking (and many of his sleeping, LOL) hours were spent either held, or in the sleepy wrap.
I saw the mom another time and she says “Oh! This is the first time I’ve seen him out of his ‘bucket!'” OK, it sounds innocent enough as typed, but believe me, the intent and tone behind her words was there, and it was not just me being sensitive. The inference was that I was one of “those” moms that just toted the kid around in the “bucket” like some sort of luggage.
It is really unsettling to be judged for doing/being something/someone you’re not! Gosh darn it, I am not a baby bucket carrier! Them’s fightin’ words! (to be said like Sandy from Spongebob.)
So, if I see you toting your child around, awake and bouncing against your knee in that “bucket,” I’m gonna smile. I might even tell you he’s cute. But I’m not going to judge you, because I have no idea if that bottle is filled with breastmilk, if you were unable to breastfeed, if your babysitter put that sposie on your baby…and frankly, it’s none of my darned business.