The Sling Diaries, Volume VII. A photo-documentary chronicling the art of baby wearing in the lives of families around the world. Over the course of six months, Sling Diarists will create their own Sling Diary though a series of diary entries interpreting a unique theme given to them each month.
Meet all of our Sling Diarists here.
“Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on earth, for what they believe is what they will become.” -Brooke Hampton
I remember laying in my hospital bed the day my daughter was born, holding my hours old baby and whispering gently into her little bitty perfect ear, “i love you sweet girl”, as I watched the news coverage of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. December 14, 2012. I held my tiny sweet brand new baby girl and sobbed as I watched and realized that parents on the other side of the country were mourning the death of their children as I celebrated the birth of mine. 5 years ago, on the same day I held my daughter for the first time, 20 Mother’s held their children for the last time. The irony of that is not lost on me. I remember so clearly that day... my very first day of motherhood... thinking that I would ALWAYS be grateful for my baby girl and I would be the best parent ever. Perfect maybe. For her.
Have I mentioned that being a parent is a tough job? I think often of my 27 year old self in that hospital room with my brand new baby girl. I was, in a way, so naive to being a mother. But in another way, I was the purest version of hope. I was untouched by the hundreds of voices that tell me I’m not good enough every single day. I hadn’t yet been criticized by the strangers in target watching my child throw a tantrum over a toy, or the well meaning friends offering their opinions on how I should really stop nursing my 2 year old now that she could ask for the milk. I hadn’t compared myself to the “perfect” highlight reels of motherhood on social media, or felt that It was some sort of twisted badge of honor not to be good enough as a parent. In those first days, as I was suddenly responsible for another human being, another persons life, I didn’t feel inadequate. It didn’t matter that I struggled to get her to nurse, or that she didn’t sleep unless I was holding her. In that sanctuary of a hospital room, I was sheltered from the hundreds of voices that would eventually convince me I wasn’t ever going to be enough for her... for them.
But eventually, we went home. We left that little bubble of perfection and I was hit with a constant barrage of voices. Friends, family, strangers we encountered in real life, and strangers I encountered on social media. Even google had a loud voice of dissension as I tried to navigate my way through motherhood for the first time.
I’ve only been a mother for 5 years. But in those 5 years I have realized how intensely I am capable of loving a little human being. Three little human beings, actually.
I’ve also learned that motherhood is not about being a perfect parent. But rather, loving my babies perfectly. Speaking life over them, speaking truth to them. Speaking kindly to them, and becoming, Day by day, their inner voice. The voice by which they will measure themselves for the rest of their lives. I’ve learned to tune out the voices that aren’t crucial. To take the things people say with a grain of salt. To walk away from the social media that makes me feel Inadequate. Because the truth is, if I am going to be a positive voice in the lives of my children, I must first be able to be a positive voice in my own life.
We live in a strange world of fake realities. Strangers online pretending to be something they aren’t that we will never measure up with, and a world around us that is seemingly falling apart. I know that my children can’t live in a bubble forever, and I know that they are going to be influenced by the voices around them as they venture out of my arms and out of my home. But while they are little, I am their voice. I am not a perfect parent. But I am perfect for them. I am enough for them. And my hope for them as they grow and come into their own is that they too will know that they’re enough.