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How dare you get in my way, you breeder!

July 27, 2010 2 comments

I’ve just read an article by Jenny Colgan on the Guardian website and I don’t know whether to shout or cry.

Phil and Teds Pushchair

The Ubiquitous Phil and Teds

The basic premise of the article is that the author is glad that 3 wheeled pushchairs are apparently going out of fashion, and she launches into a diatribe about how annoying they are – taking up room on the pavement; and assuming everyone who owns one is a selfish celebrity fad-obsessed moron.

Now I’m not mad keen on 3 wheelers myself (I find 4 wheelers easier to get up & down kerbs, but that’s me – my trips are mainly urban – I compromised with a Quinny Buzz 4 which has nice big tyres but 4 wheels), but I find the aggressive tone totally unnecessary and bullying.

Quite apart from the fact that mums get so much gyp for *any* decision they make (slings make them clingy, forward facing pushchairs damage their communication skills) Jenny has clearly not considered any of the reasons why a mum would buy a 3 wheeler – expensive or not.

The Phil & Teds shown in the article is the most popular for parents with two kids for good reason – the fact that it’s slimmer than a side-by-side double buggy (which I’m sure would attract her ire if they ever got in the way too, heaven forbid that someone may dare to have *twins*!!). Even if you haven’t tried it yourself – just imagine negotiating doorways and shop aisles with a double buggy. Sounds hard? You bet.

Pneumatic tyres (what? progress?) are also a joy over bumpy roads/terrain compared to the solid ones found on most umbrella fold pushchairs, both for the pusher and pushee. A soundly sleeping baby is preferable to all of us than a crying one – or maybe Jenny sadistically wants them to be upset and not able to sleep so that she has something else to bully parents about if it happens in public?

To me this article is an example of how it seems perfectly socially acceptable to be anti-kids/parents (How dare you get in my way, you breeder, you?), rather than consider that we’re also tax paying, economically active people going through a logistically, financially and emotionally difficult part of our lives. A little consideration, nay empathy, wouldn’t go amiss. Yes we chose to have kids, but eventually 80% of us do, so think before you get on your “brought it on yourself” high horse – you may eat your words one day.

Since a) we’ve all been kids and b) most of us have them, it’s counter-intuitive to assume that being child-free is the norm and therefore we all ought to sod off to our toddler groups and keep out of the way. No-one’s saying we should be anti-child-free either, but if something is suitable/easy for parents and pushchairs it a) tends to make it disabled friendly, which is surely a bonus and b) doesn’t preclude the use by those without kids, so surely kid-friendly should be the norm, rather than the exception?

What I’m asking for is a little slack, we are not evil, or selfish, or any different to those without kids, through choice or not.

If we’re all more than willing to make allowances on the pavement for someone in a wheelchair due to a skiing accident (which is a lifestyle choice), then why whinge about a pushchair (having kids is a much more common lifestyle choice)?

For those who haven’t thought about it, or have tutted in the past – please remember, it’s much easier for you to move over a little bit than it is for them, especially if you’re standing right in the middle of the only slanted part of the kerb. They’re not being rude on purpose, and may also be operating on 3 hours sleep a night.

Have a heart.

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