Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Babywearing as a Hobby: Collecting, Churning, Selling and Swapping

Mothers have been using baby carriers for pretty much all of recorded history, and as modern mamas in Western nations are rediscovering this amazingly useful skill, some of us are also discovering it can be really fun to collect and trade these gorgeous pieces of cloth! It is absolutely not necessary to have multiple wraps or buy and sell them in order to consider yourself a *real*, well-loved, essential part of the babywearing community. It is just a fun hobby that many of us enjoy a great deal!

Our newest wrap, Solnce Genesis Bliss, bought from a group on FB using PayPal

How to get started
The first step is to buy some baby carriers, learn to use them, and start figuring out what you like! 

Where to learn
There are babywearing groups on Facebook and websites like babycenter.com, and websites like thebabywearer.com devoted entirely to babywearing. There are also great YouTube channels like BabywearingFaith to help learn new wrapping techniques. As you learn more about different carries, fiber blends, wrap widths, taper length/angle, and types of weaves (sometimes known as "wrap geekery"), you will find yourself wanting to try different sizes and fiber blends from different companies to see how they differ and to find the perfect one for you! 
Where to buy 
When originally released, wraps can be bought directly from the manufacturer and from stores like Wrap Your Baby and Marsupial Mamas. Local cloth diaper stores may sometimes also carry more common brands of woven wraps. However many wraps are released in extremely limited quantities and sell out within minutes, so the only way to ever get to try one is to get extremely lucky or to buy one on the secondary market. There are several swaps on Facebook, like the Babywearing Swap and the High End Swap. The common practice in these groups and in the wrap swap sections of babycenter and thebabywearer.com is to use paypal for buying and selling wraps, as it offers some protection to both buyers and sellers in these private transactions. These groups almost always also have spin off "feedback" pages where members can check to make sure they are buying and selling to reliable people. Established members of these groups also commonly engage in paypal backed trades; because wraps can be quite expensive, especially for the most hard to find (htf) and highly sought after (hsa)  wraps, this helps prevent either party in a trade from being taken advantage of while still allowing them to try wraps they might not ever have otherwise gotten to see and use in real life!

How much does it cost?
Wraps themselves range in cost from under $100 for the least expensive options like little frog brand to over $1000 for hsa and htf wraps like artipoppe and uppymama wraps that are auctioned off. Beyond the cost of the wraps, the only real cost is shipping expenses, which range from about $5-20 for most shipments in the US but can cost much more for faster shipping and international shipping. Occasionally you may make money if a wrap you bought for retail price has become htf/hsa and gone up in value, but many in the babywearing community bristle at the idea of charging much more for a wrap than you yourself paid, so tread lightly if attempting to flip wraps for a profit. 

Like any type of collecting, churning woven wraps can be a great deal of fun, and the fact that wraps are beautiful and useful for caring for our children makes it even better than many other items we could be collecting instead!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Honda's Annoying Anti-Marriage Car Commercial

Have you seen the Honda "proposal" commercial?

In case you don't want to watch it, I'll give you the quick run-down:
It starts with a man proposing to a blond woman who is probably in her late 20's or early 30's. She, in an aside to the camera, states "Married? There were so many things I was gonna do first!"
We then flash to scenes of her driving with some friends to a mountain she wants to climb, loading a pink drumset into her trunk, and on a movie set so she can "finish my short film."

We finally go back to her poor boyfriend to hear her say "ok, but we have a lot to get done first"...just the response every guy wants when he proposes, right?

Now I know Honda is just trying to sell cars-they probably don't really care whether married couples or cohabitating hipsters are buying them. But I still don't like the attitude this commercial perpetuates. That you have to go "find yourself" before marriage, not just by determining your core values so you can seek a spouse who shares them, but by accomplishing some sort of bucket list of single adventures. That marriage means you won't get to do anything fun or exciting anymore, or have hobbies, or a brain. That smart girls delay marriage until they do everything they really want to accomplish first. And then they can settle for settling down.

A waterfall we saw on Mt. Rainier

But marriage shouldn't mean an end to adventure or fun or chasing your dreams...it just means doing them together! To be honest, the only time I've gone hiking in the mountains was after I was already married (*gasp*...don't tell Honda!) and my husband, my Dad, my Mom (*double gasp*...people who've been married 25 years still having adventures too...don't tell Honda!!) my big brother, and I all hiked Mount Rainier together. If you are considering marrying someone who wouldn't be supportive of your adventures (like drum-playing, which seems like a one-person gig) and/or having them right there with you (like hiking, if that's your thing), they are probably not a good choice for you. No one should have a marriage that is actually a fun-sucking end to all adventure in your life. A good spouse is the absolute best support you can find for accomplishing goals and chasing dreams. They'll be there clapping, cheering, helping, and chasing right along with you--and in return you can help them chase their own dreams and end up doing fun and exciting things you might never have tried if you were single.

And the thing is, marriage is an awesome adventure in itself. It means sharing your whole life, your heart, your home, your ups and downs, everything with one person forever. Unfortunately, fewer Americans are choosing to take part in that adventure now than ever, and the ones who do are choosing to do so later in life than previous generations (check out this Washington Post article or the actual Census Data if you're interested). Attitudes like the one perpetuated in this Honda commercial certainly aren't helping inspire young people to seek marriage. I don't think one commercial alone is going to be the deciding factor in the culture wars occupying our nation. I do believe that the cumulative effect of so much of our entire media treating marriage as inconvenient and restrictive makes a difference in the way young people approach courtship and marriage. I would love to see companies like Honda instead feature married couples-and single people-whose adventuring status has nothing to do with their marital status.

Because marriage isn't the end of adventure, it's the beginning of adventures together.

*I notified Honda via Twitter of my post and they thanked me for my feedback but didn't reply beyond that (in case you were wondering!) I'll update again if I hear anything more from them!