Susie Martin was pregnant with her first child when a friend told her about babywearing. The practice, which, like it sounds, involves a parent using carriers, slings or cloth wraps to tote a young child around on their body, appealed to the Minnesota mom-to-be. When her son was born in 2016, she decided to give it a try. Almost instantly, Martin was hooked.
“It was something that was incredibly beneficial to us in the bonding process and to give me just a little more freedom to do things while comforting him at the same time,” Martin, 35, recalled in an interview with The Lily. “That was really huge as a new mom and a first-time mom.”
So when International Babywearing Week arrived in early October, Martin decided to use her platform as a meteorologist for the national weather forecasting and consulting company Praedictix to educate others about her preferred method for traveling with her child. She delivered her regular weekend forecast with the help of a “special guest”: her 21-month-old son.
Martin’s son, whose name she is withholding for privacy reasons, yawned and snoozed throughout the segment, nestling against her back in a woven cloth that matched her royal blue and black outfit as she delivered snow totals in the North and forecasts for sun down South. “He was just along for the ride,” she says.
Viewers, it turned out, were slightly more enthralled by the experience.
The video, posted to the company’s Facebook page, took off. To date, the clip has racked up more than 1.6 million views and 15,000 shares. Interview requests, some from as far afield as Australia, poured in.
“I was shocked,” Martin says. “I didn’t think it would get that far.”
Indeed, this wasn’t the first time Martin had worn her baby at work. During her maternity leave, she used a carrier or wrap to bring him in for meetings. Last year, she wore the then 9-month-old on air for a segment that aired on a regional client’s platform. That video reached about 250,000 viewers.
Martin was blown away by how much more widely this one was shared. But considering the national conversation around motherhood at work, she shouldn’t be. Whether it’s on the football sidelines to the United Nations, people can’t seem to get enough of visuals showing how working parents juggle their professional and home commitments. While that wasn’t her goal in this case, Martin says she’s personally glad to see more stories celebrating parenthood among working professionals.
“I think it is a visual reminder of the things that we have going on in our lives as working moms, not to say dads don’t have the same, but as parents, we’re juggling a lot. ... We have lives, we have little ones to take care of, we have families,” she says. “It wasn’t my original intention to be like, ‘Ooh look at me go at work!’ But it did allow me to reflect on [that fact that there are] a lot of people that struggle with that work-life balance.”
Some of those stories have come in via her email and Twitter profiles, where she has been inundated with responses since the video aired. There were some negative reactions (this is the Internet, after all), including commenters who falsely assumed she brought her son to work every day and a comment thread debating his age after one news site got it wrong. But overall, Martin says she was overwhelmed with the support and interest the post garnered.
“I love that people are asking specifically about babywearing, that is the goal,” she says.
It’s unlikely that Martin’s son will make a third cameo on air during next year’s International Babywearing Week — by that time, he’ll be too big — but Martin hopes the discussion she’s sparked continues to grow, exposing the practice to more families.