I’m sorry, but when I saw this headline on Huffington Post Parents…
Babywearing Ballet Class Is The Most Adorable Way To Dance
along with the above photo (from Babywearing Ballet), I had just the opposite reaction. Baby-wearing isn’t cute nor the best way for mothers to have fun–certainly not as much fun as ballet without a baby on your chest. Setting aside that the extra weight changes a woman’s center of gravity, the implication is that mothers should be “on duty” 24/7.
Seriously, wouldn’t it be MORE fun to do ballet and get back to your old self on your own? Wouldn’t the happy women in the photo find the camaraderie and the freedom of movement more enjoyable if didn’t have babies strapped on their chests? And wouldn’t it be better for their mental health to have an hour off–away from their babies–in a locale where they’re not tempted to catch up on household chores?
It’s no coincidence that Babywearing Ballet chose as its spokesperson Dr. William Sears–the pro-“attachment” pediatrician who popularized co-sleeping. He’s quoted on the Facebook page: “Babies crave movement after birth because to them it is the norm.” Not long ago, your baby was swishing around inside you. It is a shock to come into the world. But even Dr. Sears would have to agree that babies can get plenty of movement without having to impinge on Mom Time. (Then again, maybe he wouldn’t!)
Undoubtedly some, maybe many, Babywearing Ballet participants have fun. They’re with friends and they feel proud to be bonding with their babies. The comments on Baby Center indicate the predictable range of reactions (“It’s not really ballet” to “Learning ballet with a baby you do it all wrong” to “I’d love to do this with my son”).
I have nothing against Morgan Castner, the San Antonio dancer and mother of two who thought it would be a good idea to market ballet classes specifically to mothers. She even offers day care for older children. But so often we forget that merchandise and activities that are passed off as “good” for mothers and “good” for children are most beneficial to the entrepreneurs who dream them up and then play to parents’ guilt and fears.
So stop the madness, Mom, and just say no. Your baby doesn’t have take part in everything you do. Motherhood is hard enough.