We live in a world where anything you do in public can be shared by strangers on social media with the click of a button. Depending on the content, you could go viral in a matter of minutes (whether you want to or not). That's what happened to Florida mom Erica Kalninswhen she was shopping at Icing, a jewelry store, inside Citrus Park Mall in Florida on Monday.
Erica had her five-year-old daughter in her Tula carrier, which as stated on the Tula website can be used “from about18 months to 4+ years old (beginning when the child is a minimum of 25 pounds and 32 inches tall)." As we all know, shopping with little ones can be challenging. Why not carry them so you're hands free, and they get to enjoy a fun piggy-back ride? Win-win, right?
Not to one woman, an employee at a store in the Mall, who snapped a photo of Erica with her daughter on her back (without Erica's permission) and posted it to her personal Facebook page shaming the baby-wearing duo.
(Image via She Knows and Erica Kalnins)
The post made its way through many of the online baby wearing groups, and eventually right onto Kalnins screen. She recognized her daughter immediately and was deeply hurt by the original post and comments.
“We just stopped [at the shop] because my daughter wanted some bracelets," Kalnins explained to USA Today. “She was excited but she wasn't feeling well so I said we'll stop real fast so I put her in the Tula on my back."
“It has nothing to do with being a lazy parent—it just has to do with us as moms wanting to carry our babies close because they're not small for long," Kalnins said. “We want to educate people that it's not a weird thing to carry your baby it's totally normal."
Child wearing isn't some freaky modern concept that “lazy" mothers invented to keep their children dependent —it's an ancient practice that mothers have long used to keep their children close—and safe.
Baby wearing is a safe and effective way to keep your little one close, but also to have both hands free to shop, read, answer emails—whatever you need to do. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that wearing your child promotes healthy parent-child attachment and development.
Publicly shaming an innocent person on Facebook is cyber bullying. If the Icing employee was genuinely worried about the safety of a customer or her child, talking to the mother one-on-one would be a considerate way to address any potential problems. Or should could have offered to give Erica a hand—with a sick child and a toddler in tow, we're sure that Kalnins could have used some help.
Real talk: The world needs more women rallying around one another, trusting that each mama really knows what works best for her family.
(Photo credit: Facebook/ Erica Penna Kalnins)