This is me pushing a stroller and feeling weird

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First stroller outing

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!

Comments on This is me pushing a stroller and feeling weird

  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 😉 (but i still wear her when i can — i just love it)

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

      • 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.

  10. 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!

  11. "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

  12. 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.)

  13. 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.

  14. 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.


  15. 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.

  16. 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 🙁

  17. 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!


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