Thursday, March 19, 2009

Baby gear and parenting.

So, as everyone knows...babies have A LOT of stuff. Granted, there is A LOT of stuff out there that you DON'T need, but none the less there is still a good amount of the stuff you do. Specifically things like carseats, strollers, and diaper bags.....basically all the "get up and go" gear. And all of this baby gear got me thinking yesterday and I want to pose a question to everyone out there.

Do you, knowingly or subconsciously, make an assumption about a parent's (the Moms specifically) overall parenting ability/capability by how easily they are able to carry around/juggle the baby gear in public?

Let me explain.....I am short, 5'1 to be exact and weigh all of 115lbs right now, so I am what most people consider "petite". I cannot wear pants unless they are specifically made "short", and I can easily find shoes in youth department....oh, and capri's...don't even get me started there, lol. It took me a very long time to find a stroller that suited my needs (as most of the handles were boob level on me....hip hip hooray for adjustable ones like on my Graco Metrolite), and wasn't too heavy or big because I wouldn't be able to easily lift it in and out of my car. Then there is the infant seat which I didn't think would be THAT different from model to model....oh how wrong I was. Apparently the seat WE got has a longer handle than most...yes, odd I know, but I have compared mine to several other Graco models. So, the combination of my shortness and the length of the handle usually makes me for a very awkward situation for me, and let's face it, Cullen isn't getting any smaller.

Let me paint a picture. When I pick the carseat up (straight armed) and stand up straight the bottom of the seat is MAYBE 4-5 inches off the ground. When I put it into the crook of my arm to hold it, the bottom is just a hair above my knees. This, as you can imagine, severely throws off my center of gravity, then you throw in the diaper bag and anything else and I'm a down right mess at times when I am toting him around because (and I admit) I don't look steady on my feet (hell, most of the time I'm not!). Also, just as a side note...we ARE looking for a new seat that better suits my needs, but anyways. Also, you can forget me putting his seat onto a shopping cart because I can't see around it OR over it. I look like I am 12 years old pushing around my baby brother. So...now do you get the picture to answer the question?

When you see me (or any mother like me) toting around my baby like this...awkward, seemingly unsteady, and in the case of the shopping cart...downright undoable....would you make an assumption about my parenting? Such as...."aww, poor thing" or "wow, she seems unsure" or anything of the sort. Would your opinion of someone with the EXACT same baby gear change if they were taller (which usually makes them appear older too) and seemed to do everything with ease?

Just Thursday food for thought.

8 comments:

Carrie said...

Have you considered babywearing instead of toting around the carseat? I've heard great things about the Moby wrap...

Old Mom New Baby said...

I'm 5' 8", So pretty tall, and probally gianormous in your eyes.

So as a relatively tall person, I'd have to say I dont ever recall having an assumpton like what you mentioned as far as parenting goes about shorter women.
However I am guilty of trying to catch a glimps of the woman's face to see if she was the mom, or the big sister. I like to see age ranges women are having babies for some reason (Never realized I did till now). My BFF had her daughter when she had just turned 16, she got pregnant at 15, so when I see a 16 year old with a baby, I cant help but wonder...
Then I also like to see if the woman is older (like me) just to get a little feeling of support. However I caught myself doing that with a pregnany lady the other day. Looking around her to see her face, when I saw she looked older, I sighed relief. I guess nobody likes feeling like the minority.

This may not make much sense, but I'm left handed, and I live in a very right handed world.
Maybe it's the same thing for you, you are 5'1" and live in a 5"6" or taller world.
There really needs to be more available options out there for all us different shaped and sized, Left and Right women.

Old Mom New Baby said...

Oh and to add, when I see a shorter woman with a baby, I do want to see the baby because usually (or the illusion in my head) they have smaller babies, and I want to see a cute tiny baby.

Jen said...

Oh those stupid seats are so heavy and so hard to carry. I'm five seven and I still get whacked in the knees. I think the next improvement in them will be wheels.

Christina said...

I would actually probably notice that you're about my height and size and think "that poor girl is having issues because she's short living in a tall person's world". :)

jenn said...

I would probably just think 'poor girl!' and definitely offer to help with doors & such...

I always find that carseats are a pain to cart around- just as a seat. I am not quite thrilled that I will be lugging a seat & baby soon... I'm sure I will be just as awkward as you- I'm only 5'3.

Chuck, Sarah and Emily said...

Sorry--but your post made me smile and giggle a little--I was just trying to picture you lugging all the stuff around--I can totally relate, I am average height but I never quite figured out how to haul everything gracefully. And forget about grocery shopping, Em was my budget keeper, cuz I had to put her in the main part of the shopping cart, so I could only buy what I could fit around her seat...it was a lovely day when she could sit in the cart without the seat!! Definitely feeling your pain, and can't say I have ever judged....

docgrumbles said...

well, I am in no way petite and I have great difficult lugging around my gear, so I make no judgements based on that!

I do, however, make assumptions based on any yelling or other harshness displayed in public. Otherwise, I figure we are all struggling in some way!