A year ago, my younger, more dogmatic, and very pregnant self was eagerly anticipating being an avidly marsupial mum. Never mind the substantial hampering of personal mobility for tasks such as bending over to tie a shoe, or pick something up. Never mind the difficulty of dressing baby and self appropriately, given how hot the carrier can get for both of us. Never mind the inability to dine comfortably, or even drink a hot coffee, with a squirming, grabbing baby strapped to oneself. Never mind the permanent paranoia that your baby, whose feet are outside of your peripheral vision, has irretrievably lost a shoe.
All of this did not matter, for I was going to be a marsupial mum! My baby and I would be perpetually snuggled together, deftly manoeuvring the unpredictable terrain of life, just as anthropology intended. Better still, marsupial-me was going to lose all my baby weight in no time. No awkward, lumbering stroller for me! Ha ha!
And then my baby was born.
At first, we did indeed go everywhere marsupially. Sure, it was not so easy to lug around a newborn baby AND a purse AND a diaper bag (you forgot about the diaper bag, didn’t you?), but it was lovely, if somewhat awkward. Then one day I needed to go grocery shopping. And not the “a few vegetables here and there” type of grocery trip — rather it was the BIG shop that was needed. Cheeses, apples, potatoes, eggs, 4L of milk, some jars of salsa, some juice, some canned goods… this was going to be HEAVY.
I knew that even if I risked leaving the diaper bag at home, I would still have to carry the baby PLUS my purse, PLUS at least 10-20 lbs of groceries, for the entire 20 minute walk home. Then I thought, if only there was some kind of wheeled device, one in which I could put my baby and/or my groceries… like a shopping cart, but one that I could take home. I needed some kind of device to assist… strolling. Hmm.
And thus began my unexpected love affair with our stroller.
You see, folks, the real deal-breaker of marsupial-ness (for me) is all the additional gear a babyminder needs to tote around. The diaper bag is critical for trips over half an hour, as it has all a baby needs to be clean and happy; the purse is an essential (and useful) relic from the pre-baby days, containing all I need to function in society, plus a lipstick or two.
And then, God forbid if you need to drop off some dry cleaning, pick up library books, get groceries, or run errands while carrying bags and bags and bags AND baby… suddenly, marsupial-me was magically transformed from a stylish-ish mum to a pack mule! Well, that’s how I felt, anyways.
So, to my great surprise, I’ve grown to love the stroller. Thank you, stroller, for your allowance for personal space, for your wonderful stowage capacity, and for letting me fearlessly drink hot coffee. Better still, you’ve reminded me of how intentions for parenting don’t always jive with the realities, and that there’s value and joy in being open to the surprises (and humility) that parenting brings.