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Mothers and Gardens

How does one tend a garden with an infant?

Those of us who begin to raise food as a positive choice rather than a necessity may not know the basics, like when to start, effective carrying styles, or the rhythm babies within a gardening day. We have not observed our mothers doing this work. As industrialized women, we are missing huge chunks of basic subsistence education. So what do we do?

Two children into motherhood, I find baby-wearing valuable yet challenging. When a child sleeps in a front pack, he hangs in my workspace as I pull weeds. On my back, he protests; each time I bend forward, his face digs into my shirt. Yet with the right activity, everything clicks. Both baby and I are comfortable as I do light wheel-barrowing or stand to transplant or turn soil. Mothers who depend on their gardens or fields – and who have the time to spend in them – have surely developed great baby-carrying techniques. Just look at pictures of women from subsistence cultures! Mothering while gardening is a skill for us to rediscover, relearn, re-awaken.

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