This is me pushing a stroller and feeling weird

First stroller outing
Look, it's me. And I'm pushing a stroller. With a baby in it. Whaaaa?

My father-in-law generously gifted us a super fancy stroller before Tavi was born, and last week we took it for its inaugural stroll.

Dre and I have already gotten super used to baby-wearing, so using the stroller felt like a huge novelty. You mean, the baby sits in there? And I push this thing? And we walk behind it?

This particular stroller is called a BOB, and if you know strollers, it's totally the SUV of baby-pushing devices. Even though we got the lowest-end model, the thing's got shocks, for godsake! We just call it The Overkill Stroller.

Overkill or not, there's no denying it was a smooth ride…
The baby snoozed peacefully, the stroller practically floated over the gravel path — but the whole situation felt sort of funny. It reminded me of this one time when I borrowed a friend's souped up SUV to run a quick errand to a local mall at noon on a Friday. Just to complete the "ladies who lunch" image, I picked up a frozen yogurt smoothy in a big plastic cup with a plastic bubble lid and a straw for the drive home. And there I was: a lady in her mid-30s pulling out of the mall parking lot in an SUV sucking on a plastic straw. I thought "Huh, well, this is different." And then I thought "Huh, well, this actually feels acutely uncomfortable. I don't think I'll do this again." It felt like I was wearing a costume. My SUV-driving mall-shopping smoothy drinker costume. It just wasn't me.

The stroller wasn't quite THAT uncomfortable, but it still made me feel like some other non-me person to be pushing it. Half-way around the lake, we ran into one of Dre's yoga teaching colleagues and laughed about feeling sort of like the stereotypical yuppie family.

Dre said, "We've got the BOB Stroller, the baby, the little dog on a leash…"

"But we don't have Starbucks cups!" I protested. And then, after thinking for a moment, I said, "But our Subaru Legacy is waiting for us in the parking lot, so, well…there's that." And then I laughed and laughed at myself. Really, I've got bigger things to worry about than fretting over the identity ramifications of a baby-pushing thinger. But my internalized 14-year-old can't help it.

Identity definition is important to me, and I want to make sure that the shift to motherhood doesn't include blindly stumbling into things just because that's supposedly how they're done. I push a stroller now because I'm a mom, and that's what moms do. Like so many other things in my life, it's a question of intent and trying to stay truly alert to making each decision thoughtfully. I'll take the discomfort of feeling like a self-conscious adolescent if it means I stop and take the time to truly consider what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. That discomfort tells me I'm not sleep-walking through this time in my life.

Really, despite the smooth ride … baby wearing works best for us for the most part. But I cannot deny that I am excited about one aspect of the SUV stroller: this summer when I walk to the huge park 10 blocks north of us, I can throw all my shit in it. Blanket, water, books, DSLR … strollers make awesome homeless person carts!

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  1. hahah the last bit is awesome. I don't have kids yet but when I do, I doubt I'll use a stroller. I'm the type of person who doesn't even carry a purse if they can get away with it; a stroller seems too large and cumbersome and annoying.

  2. we are HUGE babywearers (from day 5 up until… well, right now she's almost 3) and honestly, don't feel bad that you'll probably use your stroller 3 times between now and non-wearable (ie, independent toddler that screams "I NO LIKE THE WRAP! I WALK!"). I will say this, though, once we hit about 30 lbs and she wasn't liking being wrapped, she would ask for the stroller (TRAITOR!) and I wasn't too upset at that point to let her have it. I've made peace with our stroller (a baby jogger city mini — probably the VW Jetta of strollers) and now use it regularly. 5 hours in a mall with a 30 pound toddler on your back though is not as pleasant as a little newborn though ๐Ÿ˜‰ (but i still wear her when i can — i just love it)

    • I bought the same one and am waiting to use it this summer… can't wait!! It is totally the Jetta of strollers! ha ha

  3. oh and i forgot, if you haven't yet found, it's great fun to join in our babywearing love/ craziness ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  4. At 19 days till my due date, I've thought long and hard about buying a stroller. So far, we got an inexpensive frame that fits with the car seat, just in case. Where I live, it seems more practical to rely on babywearing – and I am really looking forward to it, too, as is my partner. The one main motivation for getting a stroller (and yes, a BOB even) is so I can return to jogging. The podcast I am listening to lately is about babywearing and suggests that the ability to tote stuff is one advantage the strollers have – although I am hoping to turn my dog's backpack into a diaper bag on occasion! In any case, I hope you get plenty of use out of your SUV stroller.

  5. I love my BOB stroller and I have no shame!! I have the double model usually with two Starbucks cups in it and Yes, they are both for me. Because I have 3 kids under 4 and Goddamnit I'm tired.

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  6. I absolutely understand and respect the desire to be aware of the choices you make, and to retain your identity as you move through different stages in life. But part of the alterna/underground/indie/nonconformist problem is also about avoiding the pitfalls of NOT doing something simply BECAUSE it's the norm. Don't be so hard on yourself — and remember that it's YOU pushing the stroller, not a mindless resource-consuming suburban drone.

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  7. Thank you for this one line: "Like so many other things in my life, it's a question of intent and trying to stay truly alert to making each decision thoughtfully."

    I'm not a mom yet, but I've begun reading this page because of my ongoing passion for OBB, and you just said so eloquently what's making wedding planning such a headache. It's one thing to do things other people do – it's another to do them just because that's how things are – supposedly – done.

  8. My close friend and I lived in the same apartment building in Seattle a few years back. We are city gals with no cars. After she had her daughter we kept our weekly walk to the grocery store routine, but she would wear the baby and I would push all our groceries home in her stroller. I think her girl was in the stroller 2 or 3 times total.

  9. My large, large… tracts of land… prohibit comfortable baby wearing (read, baby girl hates boobs in her face, who'd a thunk it). I can only use our hiking packs, but the external frame setup is a little ludicrous to be taking to the supermarket or the park. I also have back problems (thank you, tracts of land), so while I loathe big souped up strollers, we do have a very simple infant one and an umbrella-style stroller which suit us fine and save me a lot of pain. I'm also a fan of shopping cart seats when possible… I remember loving riding in the cart as a kid, and my 6 year old is jealous of his baby sister for getting to ride now that he is much too big. I don't think either one harms anyone, as long as everyone's being paid attention to.
    And I echo the commenter who says "I'm tired, damn it". HEAR, HEAR!

    • As a 42-H I can say with confidence it is possible to wear a baby and have giant boobies. But if your kid doesnt like it, thats another story. Do what works, and make no appologies. But also try a few different things before giving up, too.

      • We used a bjorn, a ring sling, a peanut shell, some horrible evenflo thing, and even a moby. Boobs and face made for a sad bb. My first kid was into it until he could walk.
        Bra twins!

  10. oh, and despite all of that, I def feel judged for doing what works for us. If a stroller's what works for you at any given time, who the h**l cares? I totally don't get why this is one of those "mommy wars" things. No one lives in anyone else's shoes, who is anyone to judge or call someone (even themselves…) a mindless consumer for utilizing what resources available work well for their given situation?!

    • I totally agree with this, and want to clarify that I'm totally NOT anti-stroller. This isn't a mom war-style issue of "STROLLERS ARE BAD!!" but rather an identity exploration of "Strollers make me feel weird." I fully intend to use this stroller, and have NOTHING against other people using their strollers. It just felt very foreign to me.

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      • I guess I don't understand why it feels weird, I wasn't very clear, was I! Like I said, big childhood fan of being pushed in carts and what have ya. I liked it when my mom would go really fast or go into "evasive maneuver" mode in carts of whatever. I didn't think you were buying into mommy wars stuff at all! Just a comment on my experience.

  11. Our daughter is 11-months-old and we've only used our stroller to push our dog around as a doggy wheelchair when she broke her paw in four places.

  12. Around town, shopping, and especially during gallery openings we wear Morgan. But for long outdoor walks we use the BOB. Its nice to take turns pushing . There is a lot of snow and ice around here, so I would hate it if I slipped and fell wearing Morgan. We got the BOB b/c it was so sturdy. In the spring and summer we plan on going on some mountain trails with it!

  13. "That discomfort tells me I'm not sleep-walking through this time in my life." *applaud*

    You know, I haven't given much thought to the stroller thing. Everyone I know uses them, It's good to know about choices! It's crazy how often this site shows me that people OUTSIDE of my tiny miniscule conservative town do things differently! That being said, I am a very tiny woman, and babies are HEAVY! Good thing the FH already carries all things weighing over two pounds for me! hehe

  14. HA! That's awesome. My sister-in-law (who recommended the stroller) told me the drink holders were for our beers. :)

  15. I can count on one hand the times we have put Lyra in a stroller. Its just so much easier to wear her. But Im not above using the stroller as a shopping cart at the farmers market, thats for dammned sure. ( without the baby in it, natch.)

  16. What I love most about this photo is T all passed out in his little suit, totally unselfconscious, next to your hyper self-conscious expression… hilarious juxtaposition!

    But yeah, I bought an old (albeit excellent) Mountain Buggy Urban off Craigslist because I didn't want to treat the stroller shopping experience like buying a car. It just felt weird and status symbolish. And faddish to the point of being cult-like– people are INTO their strollers. It's kind of nuts.
    I will however confess (as we tentatively plan for baby#2) that I'm kind of in lust with this Phil and Ted Tandem:

    But I am not dropping 5 C's on a STROLLER FTLoG.

      • God, that scene cracked me up. Second best line in the movie: "Surely you're not going to hide your lovemaking from your children!" HA!

        Just to clarify: I ain't got NUTHIN against strollers. I just felt weird using one, but I certainly don't have any dogma against them.

    • I was gonna say this too! Away We Go is my favorite movie right now.
      Love the article, Ariel!

    • Don't go breastfeeding another mama's babe ๐Ÿ˜›
      I was actually going to offer up mine to a friend who was having trouble learning, then she got all weirded out when we talked about selling our pump because it was unsanitary…I kept my boob sharing to myself! HAHAHA

  17. Oh man, this post rang true for me. I was a dedicated baby-wearer too, but my rheumatoid arthritis (thanks, pregnancy!) meant I had to give it up it about 15 pounds because it was just too hard on my joints. And so I pushed a crappy second-hand stroller for about 2 weeks until I accidentally tried out a friend's BOB and realized it was actually worth the $450 price tag because I could PUSH IT WITH ONE HAND, EVEN OVER CURBS.

    Then, about two weeks after I bought mine, my car got broken into and the thieves made off with no more than a couple of CDs and I had a good laugh at the fact that they were not savvy enough to realize they could have liberated my stroller and premium carseat and sold them on Craigslist in a day to the tune of at least 6 or 7 hundred bucks. And then I realized those thieves were basically way cooler than me, because they weren't into baby paraphernalia.


  18. I don't even have a child but there was something about this post that totally resonated with me and inspired my own blog post this afternoon. Thanks for the inspiration!

  19. Strollers are for all the baby stuff, not the baby (they're lightweight). Once, I carried the baby and put our groceries in the stroller, then we all just wheeled out of the store.

  20. we have a BOB and it's the best stroller EVER!! We don't have a car, and so we walk everywhere, and that thing goes through snow, sand, pea gravel (a stroller's worst nightmare!) It's definitely an all terrain baby vehicle! It works beautifully for our lifestyle. My brother got it for us when I was pregnant, and hardly anybody had them at the time, now it seems like everybody and their dog has one! And though it bugs my mohawked fiance that it has become so trendy he does relish in the stares he gets while pushing our daughter in it! We tried baby wearing, but neither of us could do it for very long :(

    • "You wont have that much fun until you discover oral pleasure!"

  21. ha! love this. the first time i put my daughter in her stroller i felt super weird about it (i'm an avid baby-wearer too). it actually did make me feel very urbanite – a friend actually commented on a photo from the day, saying that i looked straight out of a "stuff white people like" post because of the stroller with starbucks in the cup holder and my multi-ethnic baby… for the most part i still wear my daughter everywhere (she's 10 months old) but i've become friends with the stoller for long walks. and poppy loves it because she gets to stuff her face hold with puffs and intimidate strangers with her cuteness.

    i'm actually totally jealous of your suv stroller! this week on a trip to california i'll be using a borrowed maclaren. shocks on a stroller might be overkill, but it doesn't mean they don't toally kick ass!


  22. ha! We have a BOB and I love it!! Maybe for it's SUV qualities and smooth ride ^_^ And prefer it to plastic wheels that get jammed in the snow!
    We carried our son from birth until he was just too heavy for me. He now loves to go in his stroller for walks and asks "Will it be bumpy?"

  23. My son HATES baby wearing. I tried two and had to stop at those because it's too darn expensive to buy and buy until I find one he likes. He is also 20 pounds and not even 4 months old yet and carrying him around in the car seat carrier thing isn't going to work with my fierce case of carpal tunnel. So a stroller it is for me. I didn't plan on one, but sometimes we don't have a choice.

    I'm still trying to get him to like being worn. *crosses fingers*

    • Mine hated it too, at least in the sling. She's cool with the wrap as long as she facing out. My fiance still wears her to go food shopping though she likes to ride in the cart now. I love my stroller, but we TRIED to do the crunchy thing :-)

  24. I understand your self identity crisis. I'm sorta hippie homesteader, with LOTS of crunchy leanings. I also happen to have 6 kids, the oldest is 15 the youngest 2. What's a super poor crunchy momma drive in that situation?
    Well. I settled on a used vehicle that seats all of us. I still feel weird driving around in my giant vehicle sometimes. But then the crew pours out with their skull shirts, pink tutu's, The Count hoodies, and their GQ pinstriped shirts and I just grin. We are still us LOL. I just have to figure other ways of making our footprint less (besides sacrificing a few kids to the gogs LOL)

  25. Thanks for putting into words all the anxiety I'm having over the stupid baby registry. I feel a little better now, knowing, ironically, that someone else feels my pain. And here I was trying to be sooo unique. :)

  26. I think strollers a great homeless person shopping carts. When I worked a local mall, we would constantly see parents with young'ins walking and bags loaded into the cart. At least if you go in, planning on using the stroller as a shopping cart, you can wear the baby and keep a better eye on them – instead of chasing over them through half the mall with a full stroller. ๐Ÿ˜€

  27. I absolutely have the weird sensations when using the Bob especially on days like today when I found myself in strollerville and came across 4 others while running my errands. But at the same time, with the amount of snow we've had here and the notoriously horrible job of shoveling and plowing around here, I don't really feel safe baby wearing (yikes it's slippery) to some places. The Bob with its fabulous giant wheels makes everything better letting me battle the unshoveled sidewalks and get over the foot deep plow victim street crossings. I felt bad at first, taking my stroller on the bus, but I'm getting over it. We take up 2 seats, granted they're handicap seats (I flip up a set and park the stoller there. But if my daughter could walk, she and I would be taking up 2 seats then too, so the way I figure it, it's not taking anymore space than 2 people would and we're 2 people, so fair's fair, we're taking the bus. I do avoid certain routes though as they are just too busy and impossible to get on and off.

    The only thing that bums me out is the inability to DIY my Bob to suit my tastes better. It's an expensive thing to change and that sucker will have good resale value provided we take care of it.

  28. Years ago I bought a zooper (pre-BOB days) and it was an equally awesome amazingly over the top stroller. It quickly became much less suburban when I took it camping a few times and to outdoor festivals and a couple of all night dance in the woods parties. Leaving the glow bracelets woven in the wheels and realizing that some of the red Texas dust would never really leave the undercarraige made me smile at the mall.

  29. Working at a Renaissance Festival, stollers seemed to be used as grocery carts for new swords and mugs and costumes far more often then as baby pushers.

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