Career idea: baby cuddler

A Facebook friend recently announced that she had volunteered to be a “baby cuddler” at a daycare center. For a few hours a week, she holds, rocks and talks to babies. What a great idea. It helps the busy staff people who don’t have time to just cuddle, and it gives my friend a chance to enjoy babies long after hers are grown.

So many of us never get a chance to hold babies, especially if we’ve never had any of our own. And they are such fascinating creatures, tiny people just discovering the world. For me, I’m always nervous around babies because I’ve never been around them much and also because I have always held back when there’s a baby in the room. But what if I honestly said I wasn’t sure how to do this but I wanted to learn? What if I got my friends and family involved in helping me bond with the babies in their lives? What if I asked them to coach me until I got good at it? What if I became the best “aunt” in the world?

Obviously we can’t just grab any old baby. We’d get arrested for kidnapping. But there are ways to help mothers who never seem to have enough hands or enough time to deal with everything.

You might respond that you can’t stand to be around babies because it reminds you that you don’t have any babies of your own and might never have them. I understand. But you know what? It’s okay to cry while you’re holding a baby. Let those tears out until you start to see the wonder of what you have in your arms right now at this minute. And then when they get older, talk to them, play with them, teach them. With their parents’ permission, of course.

We have can contribute to the world’s children, even if we never have any of our own. If you’re not ready, I understand. It has taken me a long time to get to this place. But don’t give up on having a connection with kids, even if you never give birth.

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Childless Can Enjoy Other People’s Kids

Last week I expressed my discomfort around other people’s babies. Lots of you agreed with me, but not every person without children feels that way. Many are fabulous aunts, godmothers and friends to other people’s kids. Others are teachers, caregivers, music directors, or coaches who interact with children all the time. 

Yes, some of us are more at home around puppies than human babies, but a great article posted at Christianity Today called “I’m Childless, Not Child-Incompetent” tells the other side of the story. Please don’t let the Christian setting scare you away if you’re not religious. It’s really about the divide between parents and non-parents and the misconception that all childless people are clueless about babies and don’t want to be around them. Author Gina Dalfonzo talks about her relationship with her godchildren and about how people who don’t have their own children have special gifts to offer those who do.

I know. Some of us have so little experience with children that we just don’t know how to act around them. Others feel so bad about their inability to become parents that they can’t look at a baby without bursting into tears. But many childless people jump in and help with kids, and I suspect doing so helps lessen their own feelings of loss or grief. Hey, how else can you get to play with Barbie, sing silly songs or watch the latest Smurf movie?

Read the article and let me know what you think.