My name is Michael Bryant and I’m 34 years old. I was born and raised in the Hampton Roads area (Franklin) and currently live in the middle of nowhere in Ivor! I am married to Mecalah, the love of my life. I am a Stay At Home Dad to three kids: Asher (4 years old), Harper (2 years old), and Bellamy (6 weeks old). I run www.thepurposefulpappy.com, which is a website that promotes Fatherhood and supports Dads.
I flirted with Babywearing with my first two kids, however the carrier I had hurt my back. It wasn’t something I saw as a way to make life super duper easier, it was just a way to get through grocery store trips without losing my mind. I began to see more and more people wearing wraps, so I began to do a lot of research. I began to see (especially at my church) how wearing your baby can really free you up to take care of your other kids I instantly bought into how it was going to be crucial to my success as a Stay at Home Dad. I like to keep my kids very active, so strapping one on was a clear answer.
Brittany (VBE with BWIofHR) and I ended up becoming friends via Instagram and I was so inspired by how she took care of Maxine. I wanted to foster and promote a similar bond with my kids, and with her encouragement I found BWI of Hampton Roads!
My favorite carrier is my Boba! It was well used and broken in when I got it, which was awesome. It allows me to carry Bellamy without having any back pain. I get lots of comments when we are out and about and am lucky that they have all been positive. I also have a Babyhawk mei tai. I absolutely love the idea of the mei tai but, and this is probably just my hang up, I feel the Boba suits me more. My two year old will let me carry her around in it though. I think I will like it more once our infant is a little bigger and with practice tying it. I want to try other structured carriers, though, because eventually I want to invest in one that shows my personality perfectly.
I hope that through my promotion of Babywearing on social media and through my website, more men will see that it isn’t a “girly” thing. I understand why some Dads feel like that, though, so we just have to show them the light! I was telling a Dad the other day that I knew of a company that makes carriers out of old SWAT vests! How cool is that, right? I also think that with the popularity and customization options that most carriers more Fathers will join the babywearing club. A lady at the store the other day told me that she thought it was so cool that I was wearing Bellamy because her husband refused to. I wanted to chat with him to tell him to man up and help out haha!
I tend to babywear around my small town and I certainly get a lot of looks. Some of those are because I am a dude, but a lot of them are because people are surprised how comfortable the baby and I look! I love changing people’s perceptions on Fatherhood and I think babywearing is going to play a role in that. I just need a camo one, and then all the Pappies here in the country will want one!