About a year into my foray with motherhood, I knew I had been beaten. In the months before the boy made his grand appearance being a stay at home mom seemed like a pretty easy task. And in the months after, that proved true. He was the perfect baby and I counted myself lucky. Somewhere along the way though, things changed from easy to hard.

He started getting into absolutely everything and it was hard for me to get anything at all done. Everyone told me this would happen, but I always insisted that if the women of the old days could carry their babies out to the cotton fields, as I had heard all my life was so, then surely I could easily manage my greenhouse and household chores, all while keeping my sanity intact.  But when it got to the point that I often faced days when it was hard to even get the dishes washed, I asked my mom how in the world women back then used to do it all and care for their children as well.

The answer was not what I expected. They tied them to trees, she told me.

Though it wasn’t what I expected, it made sense to me. Why had I thought that young children back then were disciplined into staying in place and behaving while their mothers worked? Those kids were just as curious and mischievous as mine, and the way to get things done if you didn’t have anyone there to help you was to tether them to safety!

The guilt faded and I realized that women of the past had not tamed their children early on either. They had to leash their children to ensure their safety, because unlike me, they didn’t have the luxury of watching tv all day instead of getting work done.

I figured this would be unheard of today, but I did some research online and found that in China, many workers can’t afford childcare and are forced to tether their children to the wall where they work. In the pictures, the kids didn’t look all that unhappy but I sure don’t envy the parents who have no other choice but to do that.

And luckily, we have reached the point where baby Kirkland is able to have a little independence and I can do everything I need to do in a day. I only worry when he gets real quiet.

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