baby

'Dear non-parents, before you judge me these are the truths I need to tell you about prams.'

Back before I had my two babies, I was the young woman who would roll her eyes if a mum and baby got on a plane and sat anywhere near me, or absentmindedly hit her pram into the backs of my ankles.

“Why can’t she look where she is going?”, I would wonder before laughing with a friend about how much space those pesky pre-schoolers take up.

Now I have had a couple of kids of my own, I feel embarrassed by my old judgemental ways, and I whole heartedly apologise to any mum I pram-shamed while walking unburdened by anything more than a teeny-tiny shoulder bag after a full night of blessed sleep.

In light of my bad old ways, and all the eye-rolls I have since received, here are some facts to help other pram-haters understand what it is like for us stroller-pushing mamas:

1. Prams are ginormous and this isn’t our fault.

They might keep baby safe and snug, and be quite smooth to push up and down wonky kerbs and over grass and bark chips, but most modern prams and strollers are still large, unwieldy beasts.

There are are the long three-wheeled types with their huge tyres, made for fit parents who want to take their little ones on a run; the smart and sleek city strollers with side luggage compartments to hold valuables, snacks, or discarded toys; and the double or triple decker strollers, made for parents who deserve medals for just exiting the house fully clothed.

If you don’t want to slip a spinal disc by carrying baby everywhere, and you want to get outside, parents need to use a pram and it is not our fault that the good ones are so very roomy.

"The idea that us mums feel superior while pushing a toddler in a pram is ridiculous." Image: Supplied.

2. If you want to stay sane and meet a friend, you double in size.

If while stroller pushing your toddler, you also want to meet a friend for a much-needed coffee and a chat, then suddenly you have two or three of these mega kiddy chariots in a row, and there are only certain cafes and pathways that can accommodate your needs.

It is no wonder that sometimes, just sometimes, the occasional passer-by gets their ankle unintentionally knocked. I try to use my baby sling if I know I’m meeting a few others mums or dads of tots, but it isn’t always possible.

We also try to meet at kid-friendly cafes with decent floor space and if possible, pram parking.

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3. Dads pushing prams are heroes, mums just get in the way.

Most of the criticism I hear and read is related to mums pushing prams and not so much the dads.

Dads are less likely to be sneered at or judged and more likely to be given ‘you go daddy’ smiles, and hailed as heroes who ‘help’ mum to look after their own children.

Ladies with no kids who are guilty of this judging (as I once was), please consider your own gender as well as still giving smiles of encouragement to the cool pram dads.

4. We don’t feel like we ‘own the pavement’, we just want to get outside.

I have read stories with comments about ‘entitled’ mums who push prams around ‘owning the pavement’.

I understand that the taking-up-of-space issue can be annoying, as are some human beings, but the idea that us mums feel superior while pushing a toddler in a pram is ridiculous and I certainly don’t intentionally knock into anyone’s ankles to get them to make way for me and my offspring!

I cannot speak for all pram pushing mothers of Australia, but the ones I know are just trying to get from A to B with their babies, often on very little sleep. Prams and strollers are lifesavers for parents who need some fresh air and as most babies and toddlers quite like being in them, everyone is a winner.

They are also great work-horses, perfect for carrying older siblings’ scooters, nappy bags, groceries and bottles of wine.

So, to you non-parents, who might even one day become parents, I ask that next time you get stuck behind a mum pushing a pram, laden down with shopping, consider that she is probably tired and just trying to achieve something basic before lunch.

After seven years of pram pushing my own two boys, I can confirm that the absolute last thing I am thinking about is how I can cause you an ankle injury while claiming ownership of the pavement.

I love my pram and I couldn’t parent without it and I apologise now if I ever run into you in a sleep deprived state, just please don’t roll your eyes at me.

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MMSurvey
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