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. 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?"

  2. 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 🙂

  3. 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)

  4. 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. 🙂

  5. 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. 😀

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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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