This week I had the pleasure of going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with 20 other dads from the NYC Dad’s Group. Since our trip was in celebration of International Baby Wearing Week, Britax sponsored us and gave each one of us a carrier and a stroller for use that day. I was thrilled with the idea because it meant visiting a place I love with a person I love and hold close to my heart, both literally and figuratively.
It was a beautiful day, even though the rain drizzled down outside. I had the pleasure of strolling around the museum with other dads, as we carried our babies and talked about all things fatherly. The babies had a great time too. During our entire time at the museum, not one baby screamed or cried. The babies were joyful and loved spending the day being held by their fathers. Since many of the babies faced out, they also interacted with each other by waving or holding each other’s hands as the dads talked. It was a fantastic way to spend the day.
After picking up my two older kids from school, doing homework, feeding them supper, and putting them to bed, I clicked on the NYC Dad’s Group Facebook page to see some of the pictures from the day. On the page was a photo and link to the Britax Facebook page, and so I clicked on it. It was great to see all the dads grinning with their babies for the camera on Britax’s page. Then I scrolled down and read the comments. What a mistake.
While many people were celebrating that there was such a large number of dads enjoying their babies, I couldn’t believe how many parents were poo-pooing our day. Primarily, people took issue with the fact that many of the kids faced outward in the carrier. Apparently, this is a big issue with many in the baby carrying world because they feel like having a baby face out could cause long-term issues with the child’s spine, knees, and joints. And I get that, even though I haven’t read any studies that show that carrying a child face out causes long term problems and it hasn’t been my experience. I understand that if people feel like something might be harmful to a child, then the point should be raised. But on a photo that is celebrating fathers carrying their children?
As I read the comments, I was forced to realize one of the ugly truths about parenting. Parents are way too opinionated for their own good. It happens all the time in parenting circles; there is always that one parent that feels their way is best and everyone else is wrong. To those parents, I say you should try to find a better way of spending your time, like maybe parenting your own children.
I love my kids and would not do anything that might harm them. I’m a stay-at-home dad and I’ve given up my career and income ambitions to spend as much time with my children as possible. And I’ve been doing it for 8 years. To suggest that I don’t know how to carry my own baby is quite insulting. I know how my child likes to be held. I know when my baby is upset and I know when he is uncomfortable. The fact is, my son hates being held facing me. He wants to see what’s going on around him and if I try to put him towards me, he pushes with his hands and legs and cries and I end up plopping him in the stroller.
Celebrate with us if you want, but if you want to be one of those annoying, opinionated parents, then complain with your other annoying, opinionated friends. I’m sure that’s a fun parenting group.