When I think about my Connectas, they often bring to mind adventures: getting out and about, exploring the beautiful Devon countryside, going to places where even the hardiest pram (or toddling two year old) would struggle. But, whilst they’re great for that, the place where babywearing has really been invaluable for my life as a writing mum is right here at home.
I have written two novels since Arthur was born just over two years ago – I finished the third draft of the second one this week – and pretty much every word I’ve written has been with him strapped close to my chest. He was tiny when I got started on my first novel. As soon as I could think through the haze of sleepless nights it was my way of re-engaging my brain and finding some time for myself in the strange and wonderful world of new motherhood. I was keen to prove to myself that it was possible too, to write and be a mother, because in the back of my mind I knew going back to the all-consuming intensity of teaching was not really an option. I used a moby wrap back then, and loved knowing that he was safe and close whilst I lost myself in my writing.
A year later I started my blog, and began work on novel number two. He had long outgrown the moby, but I had come to love the Connecta by then – and found that I could adjust it perfectly for us both to be comfortable as he fed and slept in the sling.
Yet another year down the line and it still works – he’s snoring gently now as I tap away at the keyboard.
I often get asked how I find the time to write. I don’t have any childcare, and I like to keep busy with Arthur too – making the most of our beautiful town and making sure that even though he’s not at nursery he still gets to socialise and do lots of activities. I really believe that it is my decision to wear him that has bought me the time I need.
He still has two decent naps a day if we’re at home, both of those in the sling. He doesn’t tend to sleep so much when we’re out and about, but he really seems to appreciate the quiet time and cuddles that come with my writing days. I go through intermittent periods of feeling guilty for not being more completely present for him when I’m deep in the midst of a novel, but then I remember that the opportunities for him to rest and recharge are important too.
People sometimes presume that it must be claustrophobic, not to even get a break from Arthur when he naps. But just as I find babywearing liberating for our adventures in the outside world I love the freedom it gives me as a writing mum too – the freedom to let my mind wander completely, without the niggling distraction of wondering whether he’s ok, because with every word I write he’s right there in the sling.