I talked in a previous post here about the types of people you encounter when you have a baby and I said I’d come back to the ignorant lot. The contrast in the people who help and those who make life more difficult is actually staggering.
I’ll admit that before having a baby I had no idea how difficult navigating a pram can be – and we have a pram that’s designed to be the four wheel drive of the pram world. Getting up and down curbs, navigating between racks of things that are always too close together in shops and getting through entries with no automatic doors all while trying to avoid baby touchers, smokers, buskers and dog poo, sometimes in the wind and pouring rain, makes it a hard enough task in itself. But you add to this some of the ignorant people on our streets and your problems are amplified.
Some of the things I’ve experienced include:
- A literal game of chicken, mostly with men, where people walking in the opposite direction towards you are unwilling to veer off their track and want you, with 40lbs of baby and pram, to instead turn and go around them (sometimes down onto the road) as they walk past in their suit with hands in their pockets. What is this? Some kind of weird power trip? Great, you’ve just made a new mum that took four hours to get out of the house want to go home and never go out again just to make yourself feel like your dick is bigger than it actually is.
- Doors slammed behind just as you are about to go through with the pram (standard head in the clouds) so you have to somehow prop the door open first with your arm and then a wheel and ricochet your way through (I applaud you if your baby remains asleep through this process).
- People walking into the pram while texting or doing something on their phones (literally every time I go out with the pram – it’s getting tempting to shout “beep-beep” as a warning signal).
- Being left stranded at the top or bottom of a flight of stairs because some lifts only go to certain floors and you can’t find the other one that goes down the next level and there are literally three steps standing between you and outside. Am I living in an alternate universe here? Because the amount of prams my husband, dad and brothers have jumped in and helped over the years and I’ve even done it myself with an armful of bags but I’ve literally had men walk past, look as I raise my eyebrows in hope/relief and then carry on walking. Thanks jerk! (I should say, I went to The White Company a few weeks ago where they have a few steps and no lift and there were people clambering over themselves to help me which really restored my faith in humanity).
- This is a good one – in Mothercare – a woman with a child in tow buying a car seat (so she’s not only done this before but she is also expecting) kept getting buzzed by the security alarms and I was on the end till paying. She bashed my baby’s car seat (affixed to the pram chassis) four times going backwards and forwards to check the seat for tags until I finally snapped, “Do you mind, you know how much that weighs and you’ve now hit this four times. My baby is sleeping in there!” – adding the word dickhead silently in my head.
- General bashing of the pram with people’s bags or people trying to push through past you. I even had one woman walk directly horizontally across my line of movement thinking she could outrun the pram. I didn’t react quickly enough and she didn’t walk quickly enough and she tripped over the pram, then gave me a dirty look. I’m sorry did you forget your glasses this morning love or did you just not give a shit until the pram was between your ankles? My husband got really annoyed that a nurse bumped the pram slightly when we were at the hospital the other day and I barely blinked and explained it was the tip of the iceberg.
- People who just stop dead in the street have always been a major annoyance to me, but with a pram it’s that much harder to stop (and I don’t want to be one of those pram users that walks slowly and irritates people like pre-baby me). And then when you do manage to stop it’s like being in the car immediately behind someone who’s broken down in a traffic jam – you’re too close to go around them and you sure as hell can’t get a break in the people now overtaking so you can attempt it.
- Having to wait about a year for a lift because people that don’t need it are to lazy to walk or use the escalators. The lift then proceeds to pass your floor every time too full of people for you to get in with the pram (and I’ve been waiting with several wheelchair users in this situation several times already). I actually didn’t even know where the lifts were in any of my local shops or shopping centres (and I shop a lot) before having a baby – there are escalators everywhere if you really don’t want to take the stairs and it’s not like we live in a city full of skyscrapers!! I even had one occasion where I was obviously going for the lift and there was one person in there and they didn’t hold it for me because clearly they were in too much of a rush. What is wrong with people?
- People who park in parent and child spaces. Yes they are bigger and more conveniently situated – that’s because trying to get a child seat out of a car requires the strength of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and the agility of a Cheetah. Or even worse, if you dare to move a sleeping baby from car seat to pram, you’ll end up like some kind of daddy long legs crossed with a preying mantis – limbs spewed all around the doorframe slowly shuffling sideways in a slow, prowling motion towards the space at the side of the car where you’ve set up your pram. That’s why these spaces are bigger! It also takes us four times as long as anyone else to get out of the car, by which time these people could have found another space and been long gone.
Clearly I have anger issues, so how do I deal with this in a way that means I don’t end up getting arrested?
- Breathe slowly. And count. And hum. Then remember – Karma. They will get theirs.
- Stop backing down. If you want a game of chicken, you’ve got it. I might look feeble but I’ve got wheels and I’m not afraid to use them so I’ll always win, especially with these bad boy four wheel drivers!
- Leave extra time for lift wars.
- Passive aggressive remarks and grumbling (I might progress to complaining in store about the parent and baby spaces as it could be a safer option than me taking on the culprit – sat in his car playing about with the radio – as I nearly did last week).
- Laughter – if anyone trips over my pram again and it’s their own stupid fault, I plan to laugh in their face and in a slightly patronising tone say “oh careful, were you not watching where you were going there?”
Anyone have any other tips?