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It Takes Two, Baby

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I witnessed something very interesting recently when I went to my local shopping centre with my 7-month-old son.

Three times we visited the parenting room and every single time I was the only mumma in the room. It was great to see so many papas changing their children’s nappies, obviously out alone with their child. This prompted three trains of thought in me.

  1. Why is it still a surprise when we see dads out with their children and why do we give praise when it should be a normal parental responsibility?
  2. What do fathers need in a nappy bag that allows them to keep their personal style while caring for their children?
  3. What can I, as a female fashion designer and business owner, do to encourage equality in parenting?

Why is it still a surprise when we see dads out with their children?

While society is moving slowly when it comes to gaining respect for unpaid caring work such as child rearing, the reality is that more and more parents are sharing the work of raising children.

Even in the few years since having the twins I have seen a change. I certainly wouldn’t have ever expected to be the only mum in a parenting room five years ago! But why am I surprised? I know that fathers can do just a good a job as mothers, I see that in my husband Craig.

The differences in society’s view of mums and dads is clear in the way we are treated when we are alone with the children. Just last week Craig took the kids out for the day so I could have space to get work done. He received endless comments from strangers about how “brave” he was, what a “fantastic dad” and “amazing husband” he must be.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Craig does a great job with our kids and I love him dearly. But I don’t see why he deserves special praise for meeting his responsibilities as a father. Not to mention I do everything he does, while running a business at the same time!

Things are improving, and slowly dads looking after their kids is becoming normal. It makes sense to give them the tools they need to do so. Family dynamics are changing to reflect that both parents work and share the care of their children. It’s time for society and the marketing of parenting accessories and equipment to catch up.

What do fathers need in a nappy bag?

My husband and I are a team, whether it’s looking after the kids, the pugs, the house, or our work. I knew early on that I wanted to design a nappy bag that Craig and other dads would also be happy using. But it wasn’t until after the birth of our son River that I was able to concentrate on the new designs.

Originally, I planned to launch our men’s bag line in 2018. But like it’s namesake, River is a baby that can’t be stopped. After seeing all these papas so involved in the care of their children, I knew I needed to create a baby bag especially for them ASAP.

The Yarra backpack is our first design for River by Sage&Luna, and we’ve launched it in conjunction with the Chara nappy bag. Both are designed with active parents in mind, regardless of their gender. Your accessories should be able to adapt to your life, whether you are a mumma or a papa.

Perfect for those who like to keep their hands free, the Yarra backpack is made of hard-wearing navy canvas with tan leather accents. Just like our nappy bags, the backpack is designed so you don’t have to change bags to move seamlessly between the different aspects of your life.

It doesn’t matter whether you are looking after the kids, working in an office or from a cafe, heading to the gym, or studying at TAFE or university; with the Yarra nappy backpack you are ready to handle whatever is on your plate that day.

It’s the little details that make our baby bags special. All Sage&Luna nappy bags have multiple storage pockets and wipeable lining to make cleaning a breeze. So the Yarra is super flexible, we’ve designed the change mat pocket so you can also use it to store your laptop.

What can I do to encourage equality in parenting?

I’m a designer, a business owner, and a mother of three beautiful children. These are all important facets of who I am. All parents should be able to embrace child-rearing as an important aspect of their life and society should reward men and women equally for their caring efforts.

Sometimes it can all seem to overwhelming. There’s too much to do to change our society’s gender norms. Instead of just doing nothing, which can often happen when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I have selected three steps I can take to make a difference.

  1. I’ve decided to be more vocal about shared parenting. I don’t believe my husband deserves special praise simply for meeting his responsibilities as a parent. Also there are so many mummas absolutely killing it in the business world while caring for young children at the same time. These are the people who deserve our praise.
  2. We need to acknowledge that families come in all shapes and sizes. Marriage equality is a great start. That’s why I’ve designed Yarra and Chara as the perfect mix-and-match accompaniment to any parenting combination. It doesn’t matter what your gender is or who you love, you should have the ability to keep your personal style when you become a parent.
  3. I’m going to remain super aware of the language I use around my children, and I’m not talking about swear words! It’s so easy to fall into the trap of praising girls for their looks and boys for their strength or brains from the moment they are born. Kindness, self-confidence, and strength should be praised in everyone, regardless of their gender. I also have to focus on watching what I say about myself around my children. The number of times I catch myself about to moan about the way I look is terrifying. I believe that while our children are young, we are the most influential person in their lives. If they see you picking yourself apart, they are going to start looking at themselves in the same way.

What small changes can you make in your life to encourage parenting equality? Jump on the comments below and let me know. I can’t wait to hear your ideas!

Baby

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