Updated: Mar 14
About three months ago I was in despair single parenting my 6 year old, 3 year old and a baby. When I had a pram to push, so many things were difficult, or impossible to do as a family. I was filled with intense sadness that I couldn't provide them with the experiences that 2 or more adults can give them. Let alone interact with them one on one.
Safety of school runs on shoddy paths alongside a road full of speeding drivers was non-stop stress and barking orders just to keep them alive.
I was unable to play with the older kids properly at parks etc. I was always having to keep running back to the Pram.
Baby would get upset as he often was left in the Pram while I attended to the other kids.
I couldn't take them up to the top of castles or into many venues.
I couldn't take them on certain wild walks.
The list goes on and on.
I have very little help available. I am on my own with them 98% of the time. Me and the ex co-parent exactly 50-50 using the 3-4 system. 4 days and nights one week and 3 days and nights the next. I miss them like crazy when they are not here, when they are here, I am split into 3 with no let up.
One day the wheel broke on my Pram and I was like 'oh shat what about the school run!'. I had one day before the kids were back. Then I remembered I had a child carrier backpack that we used for hiking with baby number one. It was my only option. I tried it out on the school run.
Oh my universe! It was so much better!
I have not looked back. I was able to hook school bags, jackets and all the rest of their crap to my body and hold both my older kids hands on the school run. I felt so much happier and safer. I now use it ALL the time for everything! NO MORE PRAM.
We now go out on road trips to castles etc and spend 5 to 6 hours wandering around. Baby Indy is as happy as Larry! He never moans. I can store everything I need for all four of us: nappies, wipes, drinks, food, rain covers, first aid kit, selfie tripod etc. The nappies are for me. I am nearly 50.
The pack is currently around 45lb at the start of the day. As you can imagine the physical health benefits are huge. Last week we went to Dover castle and Framlingham castle. Two 10 hour days out 1 parent. I was able to go up to the top of the castles and scramble up the moats, tour the curtain walls and walk around for 5 hours at each venue. This would be impossible with a Pram! Last week I had burnt an estimated 3800 calories from days out with the pack.
Muscular strength and stamina has increased throughout my back. Also I am engaging my walking muscles more, something I was really missing.
I have also done some cheeky moves like pull ups, push ups and bear crawl etc. with Indy on my back which he loves! I can also sit on swings with it on and climb up climbing frames etc. These are experiences most babies will never have! The joy on his face is priceless. My bond with him has become really intense. I feel like a prehistoric ancestor with a baby strapped on for a nomadic trek!
My mental health has been boosted. I feel like I am doing all a single parent can possibly do to give their kids a good time. I can now interact with the older ones much more. I also get a lot of praise from passers by which boosts me no end!
Don't get me wrong, it's physically tough and you have to be prepared to get sweaty and grubby. I can't dress up to go out with them, it's lycra all the way! It's not like I will ever get dressed up for anything ever again anyway! You have to explain to the older kids your limitations and remind them to be respectful and mindful of your situation as a single or sole parent. When you get into the swing of things you feel strong, you drop fat ratio, you feel proud, accomplished and happy to see your children more joyous than you can possibly imagine.
Obviously, if you have twins or triplets or health issues in your family, it's possibly not an option. There are also minimum and maximum age/size limits to consider. Couples who parent together can share the pack or have two, or maybe shove it on a friend or family member's back. They probably need to get fitter! I have been doing all of this with a damaged back and chest from a car accident.
Don't forget to take photos and videos so when they are grown up they can look back and know that you went way beyond the call of parenting duty!
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