Leave me alone.

An Ode To My Stroller

I thought I’d be an attachment parent. I wanted to be, dammit. I admire women who wear their babies all the time, who could nurse on demand, who co-slept without any turbulence.

But real talk? NS hates being worn. He will only consent to it if we face him out into the world, which, for the first three months of his life, he was far too little to do. He won’t take to the ring sling, the wraps make him weep with sadness, and the Beco Gemini, which I love, provokes this growling sound that is very disconcerting when it’s being made by an infant.

On the topic of breastfeeding, what resonated with me most was a friend who said, “I heard somewhere that breastfeeding is only free if you think women’s time has no value.” Yes, this. I love feeding Noah—his little midnight sleep feeds are so intimate and lovely—but honestly, it takes up so much time and energy. I would love to pump more and hand the baby off to his daddy for bottle-feeding, but after battling an oversupply issue for over a month, I’m cautious about anything that will turbocharge my milk supply.

And co-sleeping? OMFG, I haaaate it. I’m sorry, but sharing a bed with a baby is horrible. They kick, they fart, they can’t sleep on their stomachs lest they accidentally murder themselves, and they will rotate a full 360 degrees in the span of one 90-minute nap. I’m still sharing a bed with NS because he’s still feeding three times in the night (kill me), but as soon as we’re down to one dreamy feed, that kid is being evicted into his crib.

Leave me alone.

Leave me alone.

And all of this? That whole rant? Makes me feel like an asshole. The current parenting dogma is all about making sure that the baby never experiences any discomfort, knows hunger, or feels lonely. If the baby wants to be held, you hold her. If he wants to feed, you feed him. You are twin suns, circling each other always. Fathers and grandmothers and aunties can help out a little, but the mother is the ultimate parental provider. You are the mothership, and he is your most precious of barnacles.

I’m currently at a loss. The baby carrier is gathering dust right now—we’ll try it again when he’s older, and can face outwards without my worrying he’s choking to death sight unseen—and instead, we tool around with NS in the stroller. And lord a’mighty, I love that damn stroller. We invested in a second-hand Uppababy Cruz (the smaller, sportier version of the ubiquitous urban vehicle, the Vista), and it has saved me. We can walk for hours without killing my back. I can stash all manner of goodies in the basket—groceries, unneeded layers of clothing, NS’s diaper bag. We run the stroller back and forth in the kitchen and he falls asleep, sprawled out under the bright-yellow canopy.

Every time I think about how excited I am to get my bed back, how stoked I am to introduce solid foods, how much I love my stroller, I feel like I’ve failed somehow to capture the zeitgeist of motherhood in the current age. Maybe that’s not important, but sometimes I swear that the babywearing mamas I pass on the street avoid eye contact with me just because I’m pushing a pram.

I wish I could chill out about this, but honestly, parenting in 2016 is an exercise in tribal allegiance. Many of my girlfriends don’t even use strollers and have never bothered buying a crib, because they knew they wanted that tether to be short. And I thought I wanted that too! I saw myself as a crunchy mom, who would envelop NS is a never-ending cocoon of maternal attention.

And then I realized that, if I did that, I would never again go to the bathroom by myself.

I didn’t expect that the tenets of attachment parenting would wear me down, but they do. I feel constricted by “the right way” to take care of this infant, when in reality, trying to shoehorn our young relationship into the attachment parent model would aggravate me and irritate him. I love my baby so much, but I love him best when I have some space to breathe. I suspect our little barnacle might feel the same.

About the Author

Kaitlyn Kochany
Author with 77 posts
More about Kaitlyn Kochany

Kaitlyn Kochany is a Toronto-area freelance writer and editor. She had her son, NS, in January 2016, and has been trying to sleep and write since then.

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1 Comment

  • Kat May 05, 2016 08.52 am

    FUCK the parenting styles. Do whatever works for you!


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