I love to walk everywhere (I will walk for miles – my motto used to be “I can’t imagine a distance I wouldn’t be able to walk”). But it took me a while to find my groove as far as walking with a baby. Although I think the Ergo baby carrier is great, I’ve never been able to go long distances with Alzette in the carrier (I often blame this on my height and my scoliosis, neither of which I have much basis for believing is the culprit for the back pain I feel when wearing the carrier for a long time). So I did get a stroller for walking around town with Alzette. It’s the one piece of baby gear on which I did splurge, because I wanted a stroller that could be front or rear-facing, was sturdy enough for long walks, and streamlined enough that I could take it around without being in everyone’s way.
Although I think my stroller is fantastic and I’m so glad that I have one, generally I think that strollers are annoying. They always seem to be in the way, and take away from the freedom that I’m used to as a pedestrian without reliance on any vehicle. I love walking to the grocery store, to the library, or downtown to do errands. A lot of the shops in downtown Madison are small so it’s even more frustrating navigating my stroller through the narrow aisles and tight corners.
I finally found a solution to the problem of not wanting to bring a stroller inside, but not having the physical ability to carry my baby for miles: a bike lock! I bought a simple one from our local bike shop on Johnson Street. Bike racks are plentiful in Madison, but this solution could apply anywhere there is a lamppost or tree available to attach a lock. I use the stroller to walk long distances, then when I reach my destination I lock the stroller outside, and either carry Alzette in by hand or (if it’s a longer walk from the parked stroller or if I need my hands free for shopping) use the Ergo carrier. Don’t forget you can use it for going out to restaurants too!
A simple bike lock is all you need for stroller freedom.
This has worked really well and it is such a relief not to drag my stroller into every social situation. Even when I visited the library for a children’s event, I locked the stroller outside before entering. When I saw the virtual parking lot full of strollers taking up space in the back of the room, I was glad that mine was not one of them (and that I had that much more time being close to my baby instead of wheeling her around in a machine). I certainly place no judgment on those who do bring in their strollers, this is just how I prefer to operate. I also enjoy this method because it prevents every social situation from becoming too baby-centered. I have a lot of friends without babies, and we take Alzette to a lot of non baby-focused events. I think sometimes when there is so much baby stuff around it can change the dynamics and take away from the focus of the occasion.
Now I can’t end this post before mentioning that the fact that Scott does wear Alzette in the Ergo for miles with happiness and relative ease and that it is one of Alzette’s favorite places to be has been awesome! But if you need to use a stroller, try using a bike lock for more flexibility.