Babywearing Educator Spotlight: Mary Rodio

Photo Credit: Break The Mold

Babywearing educators are a wonderful asset to the babywearing community. Their experience, knowledge and passion for babywearing can help caregivers overcome challenges, find solutions, and gain confidence in wearing their baby. We appreciate the role that babywearing educators play in our community and we are excited to celebrate their role through this series of babywearing educator spotlights.

Our next Babywearing Educator spotlight is on a passionate long tine educator from the Knoxville, Tennessee area. We asked Mary Rodio, of Fairy Tales Doula and Education Services, to answer some questions about herself and her role as an educator.

Tell us about your business?

I have been working as an Educator, including Babywearing Educator for about 7 years now. During those years I also worked to become a birth Doula through DONA Intl. At which point I started focusing more on independent consultations and clients versus classes. However, I still teach classes and workshops occasionally. A lot of my consultations are for newborns and with new wearers or those with special needs, either the caregiver or the child being worn so I tend to keep a lot of carriers in my teaching stash to help as many people as possible. In addition to the babywearing education I help with other parenting needs such as cloth diapering, natural menstrual products, building birth plans, child birth education, gentle potty learning tips and more. My passion for community and the caregivers of my community has led me to also spend a great deal of time working as a volunteer with different organizations throughout those same 7-8 years and right now I’m focusing on a fairly new Tennessee based nonprofit group, the East TN Valley Babywearers in which I work on the Board of Directors as the Director of Education. The community support in the new endeavor has been amazing! Within the last year I’ve been nominated for several Educator Based Awards which is an amazing thing to be able to see how much love the community wants to extend to the work I do! 

How did you get involved with babywearing?

My mother was actually a babywearer! She had several style of carriers and would often pack up myself, my older sister, her two dogs and some gear and go out camping in the Alaskan Wilderness! When I had my first child, who is now 18, it was just a very natural progression of going out to find carriers without really even questioning, much like people just assume you need a stroller. My second child was born ten years later and I knew I wanted to wear her as well but the exciting part at that time was that there were so many great options on the market I started getting really into it very quickly! Having been an educator and a natural seeker of information, I shortly started helping others with their carriers and then helped with a small, independent babywearing group. Once I started working at a local natural parenting store, the world of carriers really became my oyster because I was able to try out and play with so many things in order to test them for the store that I was able to have a lot of information about babywearing quickly. 

What do you find most rewarding as a babywearing educator?

There’s so many moments that keep me doing what I do! My favorites are those moments when the caregiver is unsure of wearing or if it will help with a specific need that they have rather it’s a newborn with colic, or tandem wearing, or a child with special needs and all of a sudden things click into place right and everyone just relaxes and settles into the carrier with that peace coming over them. It’s that moment, of, “Oh, THATS what this is all about!”. There’s so many reasons for wearing and some many needs it can help that the most rewarding thing to me is when you really are able to help that person find that right thing, for that need or reason and just open so many doors for them. 

What is one important tip you like to share with new or first-time babywearers?

Listen to yourself and your baby first of all. If you put a carrier on and everything feels right, comfy and baby is happy then you are most likely doing great! Baby wearing can have a bit of a learning curve at the beginning but the pay off is totally worth it! There’s always differing advice on what worked best for someone else but finding what works for you is most important. There isn’t one way to wear! Finding a sling library or an educator to work with is a great way to make friends and learn new carries! 

To connect with Mary, visit her Facebook page: Fairy Tales Doula and Education Services.

If you would like to nominate babywearing educator to be featured on the Tula blog and Facebook, please visit: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1MXmdmoof68jhHn6n547gd-9iUJLNBj46kQhYlrtPzbQ/viewform

If you would like to nominate yourself to be featured in our Babywearing Educator Spotlight, visit: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1IMF9cr6on1G64nBCArY2Vih1kI1cP9K7LVNWRUBtjAM/viewform

Getting to Know Motherhood: Chelsea Lush

What brings you and your baby comfort and joy isn’t always the same. As we approach Mother’s Day, we are getting to know seven real-life mothers and sharing different Tula items that we think can support them in their journey. Each day we will ask 5 simple questions to a different Mom and feature a Baby Tula giveaway item that you can add to your parenting “toolbox”. Get more of your own Mom essentials by using the code MOMLOVE to enjoy 15% off on babytula.com, until May 14th. Some exclusions apply.

Today, get to know Chelsea, of The Adventures of Zoe Lush, who’s oldest daughter has OI.

 What are the names and ages of your children?

Zoe is my oldest at 6 years old. I’m still able to carry her though! She loves back carries 🙂 Felix is my 3 year old. He is a cuddly boy and still nurses so is constantly wanting to be up in my arms and against my chest.

Use one word to describe motherhood.

Vibrant!

What is a recent parenting “win” you’ve had?

A recent parenting win was when I picked Zoe up from Sunday school on Easter. Her teacher told me that she asked to pray for the class. She asked Jesus to be in every child’s heart and for Him to love all of the kids like her mom and dad love her. My heart was so full! When the teacher was telling me what happened she started tearing up. I was so proud of my compassionate girl!

What is something you have learned since becoming a mother?

One thing I’ve learned since becoming a mother is that there really is no normal. I am lucky enough to live with my best friend (bffs for over 15 years!) and her 1 year old. We are able to help each other so much, either with laundry, watching each other’s children as needed, or venting when the kids are acting crazy. Just being able to see there is no “normal” and that motherhood comes in various emotions and actions. It’s not all Instagram poses!

What is a characteristic/quality that your child has that you admire?

Felix’s natural demeanor is so caring and considerate. He is protective in a very maternal way, taking care of his sister and making sure she has what she needs first. I admire how nurturing he is, making sure she is comfortable wherever she may be. One of my favorite things  Felix does is he always has to be holding Zoe’s hand. Since Zoe uses a wheelchair this can be difficult since she uses her hands to move herself! He regularly asks if we can push her so he is able to hold her hand and walk next to her. The love he has for her is what I’m most touched by. He’s a fantastic bigger little brother.

A Tula Item to Back Carry In.

Our Tula Baby Carriers, in Free-to-Grow, Standard, and Toddler all work well for back carries.
Getting to Know Motherhood: Rina

What brings you and your baby comfort and joy isn’t always the same. As we approach Mother’s Day, we are getting to know seven real-life mothers and sharing different Tula items that we think can support them in their journey. Each day we will ask 5 simple questions to a different Mom and feature a Baby Tula giveaway item that you can add to your parenting “toolbox”. Get more of your own Mom essentials by using the code MOMLOVE to enjoy 15% off on babytula.com, until May 14th. Some exclusions apply.

Today, get to know Rina, of Curls and Barbells, who has a spouse in the military.

What are the names and ages of your children?

We have Raven who is 3 and Robyn who is 4 weeks.

Use one word to describe motherhood.

If I had to only choose one word, it would be ‘unconditional’.

What is a recent parenting “win” you’ve had?

Raven has become quite the early riser as of recent and it never fails–she storms into our room while it’s still dark most mornings and asks for a snack. So I started putting a “snack” (most times it’s Cheerios or a Granola Bar) in a plastic Tupperware dish that is specifically for her that she can reach on her own. This new routine gives me just enough time to get out of bed, nurse the baby and be ready to start our day without needing to rush to get breakfast on the table. Some mornings I even get to shower while Raven is snacking and baby is sleeping–those make for some of our best days!! It’s amazing how a shower can set the tone for the rest of the day. Haha

What is something you have learned since becoming a mother?

I learned a whole new level of patience. Little humans move at their own pace and don’t quite grasp the concept of time so for someone like me who used to be a stickler for being on time, ALL OF THE TIME, I’ve just learned that it’s near impossible with kids.

What is a characteristic/quality that your child has that you admire?

Raven is incredibly nurturing. Whether it’s a friend, her baby sister, or even an adult whom she sees may be in trouble or in need of something, she’s always willing to help. She has been so attentive with her baby sister, it has just blown me away and made me so proud. As for Robyn, I admire her ability to sleep through anything and everything–I think she gets that from her dad!! Hahaha

A Tula Item to Cuddle a Newborn

A Tula Ring Sling is great for mimicking the shape of a newborn and holding them snug.

Getting to Know Motherhood: Georgia Brizuela


What brings you and your baby comfort and joy isn’t always the same. As we approach Mother’s Day, we are getting to know seven real-life mothers and sharing different Tula items that we think can support them in their journey. Each day we will ask 5 simple questions to a different Mom and feature a Baby Tula giveaway item that you can add to your parenting “toolbox”. Get more of your own Mom essentials by using the code MOMLOVE to enjoy 15% off on babytula.com, until May 14th. Some exclusions apply.

Today, get to know Georgia, of Gregarious Peach, who is solo parenting.

What are the names and ages of your children?

I have Priya who is about to turn 9, Theo who is 7 and Florin, aged 3

One word to describe motherhood.

Bittersweet

What is a recent parenting “win” you’ve had?

At the store my eldest said if I would buy her a $35 Moana Lego set she would “give me massages every day for the rest of my life”. I told her I would accept a massage a day for a year instead of for her whole life. For $35 I’ve had (surprisingly good) massage every day and she hasn’t complained once, ahahaha.

What is something you have learned since becoming a mother?

That what works, for you, for them, changes. How I parented my first, who I was while I parented her and what she and I both needed has changed. And it changes for each child.

What is a characteristic/quality that your child has that you admire?

I admire each of my children for their wildly different, but equally amusing senses of humour. There are perhaps bigger or deeper things I admire about them but this is something each day I make a little note of happiness for; that I lucked on having three funny humans. I love my eldest for being quick and sharp. She is quite satirical and at times she has a wicked streak of dark humour which is refreshing from an sweet faced little girl. I love my eldest son for being charming and flamboyant and never afraid to make a good joke at his own expense. And our smallest for being able to make quite pointed jokes at the ripe old age of three.

A Tula Item to Support Your Child?

A Tula Blanket, in Cuddle Me or Baby Size, is the perfect item to cozy under for a little relaxing.

Getting to Know Motherhood: Brittani Blakney

What brings you and your baby comfort and joy isn’t always the same. As we approach Mother’s Day, we are getting to know seven real-life mothers and sharing different Baby Tula items that we think can support them in their journey. Each day we will ask 5 simple questions to a different Mom and feature a Tula giveaway item that you can add to your parenting “toolbox”. Get more of your own Mom essentials by using the code MOMLOVE to enjoy 15% off on babytula.com, until May 14th. Some exclusions apply.

Today, get to know Brittani, @Brittannib, who’s youngest daughter has limb differences.

What are the names and ages of your children?

My children’s names are Gabrielle (7), Elias (5), and Camilla (3).

One word to describe motherhood.

Rollercoaster

What is a recent parenting “win” you’ve had?

My 3-year-old has totally blossomed over the past few months. She has learned to color using her feet, actively plays. She’s communicating effectively, gaining strength, and hitting milestones. We waited so long for this. Even her older siblings are proud of her, cheering her on. Seeing how excited they are for their sister is another win. I feel lucky that they have such a great connection.

What is something you have learned since becoming a mother?

That “perfect parents” are unicorns; rare. That I’m a flawed parent. Through this journey I’m learning right beside of my children. Learning that every single child is different, and must be treated as such. I’ve learned to find boundless beauty in differences; mental & physical.

What is a characteristic/quality that your child has that you admire?

Gabrielle has the biggest imagination, it’s amazing to sit back & watch her totally lost in her own world. Elias has the biggest heart; he feels things so deeply.  When I bought him a shirt for Valentine’s Day saying “Future Heartbreaker”, he asked me “hearts break?”  I melted.  He told me he needed a shirt that says “heart lover.” That heart has made him the perfect “middle child”, he’s a huge help to both his sisters. Lastly, Camilla is strong-willed. Despite severe limb differences, she wants to do things. The power she possesses leaves me in awe.

A Tula Item to Support Your Child?

Babywearing, in a Tula Baby Carrier, can help a caregiver hold their child beyond infancy if their mobility is limited.