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!