Independence vs. Freedom vs. Closeness
Two weeks ago, my adoptive country of Chile celebrated the anniversary of its hard-faught independence from Spain. Chilean flags have been flying everywhere, traditional Cueka music is all around us, and a very simply long lovely weekend was granted to all. I spent mine in a beautiful mountain home with my partner, the married couple whom own the house, and the couple’s 18-month-old son – a ferocious walker, runner, and Cars fanatic. It was a weekend of independence of a sort for me, too. No internet or cell reception, no bustling city noise or crowds, no timelines. Just spontaneous walks, backgammon games, good food and wine, and amazing amazing starry night skies… and the freedom to speak my mind about a few parenting ideas I have that came from the closeness I share with my handsome man… and a young family taking there own different approaches to parenthood to get me thinking a lot more about the topic at hand: independence. The word, as I feel it is used a lot today, can have a bit of a conflicted connotation. For one, we can think of independence as aloneness, or simply not dependent on anyone. However, I don’t think that any Chileans acted alone in their endeavors to be free of Spain’s taxation and governance, and they banded together to earn their freedom. And I certainly couldn’t be experiencing a sense of freedom and even independence in the Andes were it not for the togetherness within which it was offered by our hosts, available through my intimate relationship, and given by merit of all the support I’ve received in my journey to becoming an expat. And of course, with all the economical and ecological arguments flooding our media these days, we are all certainly well aware that nothing acts independent of everything else. So, maybe the better theme for this post is freedom. I am struck by the sheer amount of preparation, attention, and constant logistical planning it takes to carry out modern-day techniques of meeting baby’s basic needs (as highlighted by our Cars-loving toddler friend). Armies of bottles and sippy cups, untrackable pacifiers, monster strollers, and mountains of rules, warnings, restrictions and timelines seem to do all but free up a family. I can see from a wide range of wonderful mother friends that there are all sorts of tools that can make parenting a little easier, but sometimes a lot of so-called convenience items seem to add up to oppression. As I contemplate being a mother, I feel deeply blessed to be with a partner who agrees, much against the popular norms here in Chile, with these natural parenting ideals closest to my heart : Babywearing. Well, this is the Boba blog, so that’s a no-brainer. Babywearing offers a relatively quick, ready-to-travel, not-much-cargo-needed solution to family mobility, and (especially when face-to-face) gives you instant insight into the needs of baby as they arise. I love watching my babywearing mom friends moving so freely with their little ones so instinctively. Though there are a lot of seemingly helpful baby movers out there, and certainly a societal norm to use them, I don’t think life simplification and free, ease of movement is on the list of their benefits. There’s no shame in choosing a stroller, but my question is how can shopping for, buying and lugging around a mega-stroller equivalent to an Escalade (and needing something as big to get it around town) make life for mom and baby more free? How can pushing babies away and in front of us where they can’t be seen nor there needs immediately known (enter the constant stop. bend over. check. adjust. walk. repeat. sequence) make life simpler or free us up to truly enjoy the life we’re living in that moment?
- Boba’s Benefits of Babywearing is a great resource.
- 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child
- U.S. Gov’s Benefits of Breastfeeding
- I brilliantly funny mommy blog Bunmi (link to archive) introduced us to called MODG (Martinis or Diaper-Genies) and the author’s post 10 Things About Boob Feeding That Only I’m Going To Tell You