Hi People in the Coffee Shop,
I am that Mom you hate.
You hate me because I have a stroller.
No other reason – just my existence. Just my existence, the fact that I have a child in a stroller, and that I need coffee.
It’s not, seemingly the size of the stroller, or how quickly I get myself, my child, and my drink in and out of line – you simply do not like me because I own a stroller. Actually, I own three. (Which seems totally excessive unless you realize that my child grows and to that end, I enjoy the ability to keep him safe and strapped down when I enter places like a coffee shop.)
I only use one at a time.
I have a stroller that was great when he was an infant, because it reclined all the way – and which, by the way I am giving to friends who are planning to adopt, I have an umbrella stroller that I use ‘day to day’, which is not invasive or particularly large, and I have a sports stroller for when we take him hiking or on a run.
I have, yes, at various times, stopped for coffee with these different strollers, and every time, someone has rolled their eyes at my daring to enter, unless I get an empty shop.
It is why, yes – oh Artsy Fartsy Coffee Shops – why I rarely patronize your stores, because I get ‘static’ from your staff in the shop as well as the customers. Sadly, I am giving you up.
Some are worried about ‘the death’ of the arty neighborhood coffee shop. I would love to help, I would, but sadly, I am not welcomed. Neither are the other Moms.
In my travels since becoming a Mom, I have found that the ‘Bucks and “The Bean have a more understanding staff, have larger doors and ramps that allow me and my detested stroller to enter with ease. Which is fine for the most part, but sometimes, depending on the area, I have to patronize a small, artsy coffee shop, and that is usually where I can get depressed for just a moment. Because they hate me. They hate me and my stroller.
It goes something like this. I open the door, the bell rings and people glance up, which is when the eye rolling starts.
I take a deep breath and start the following dialogue in my head…
“Oh hello tiny coffee shop and it’s Lord of the Flies clientele. I get it. I totes do. You do not like kids.
I get that you have tiny tables, and hyper expensive muffins, and patrons that resent my existence. It’s fine. You make it pretty clear. You make me feel that I am ‘too much of a bother’ simply by walking in the door. I am just here for today, for this moment, and I will go as quietly and as quickly as I can. I will be but a ripple in your space time continuem”
And for the most part, that is just a blip in the day, I cannot dwell on it ad nauseum, I do not even know these folks.
However The Fairy Princess wondered if she should say something about this phenomenon. Why?
There may be another Mom, at some point, who will, by mistake, wander into that arty farty coffee shop thinking that she could take just a moment, and rest. Take a moment and return emails on her phone because the kid is sleeping, or take a moment and eat, while her child is sleeping, or it could happen that she just needs a moment to think – while her kid is sleeping. She may be shocked or taken unawares, and really, there is no need for it.
So this post is for that next Mom who will incite your wrath with her Uppa Baby or her Bugaboo or whatever stroller is ‘hot’ at the moment by accidentally darkening your door.
I appreciate that at some point, someone with a carriage perhaps has inconvenienced you and your daily caffeine intake. I can also appreciate that you are concerned some Mom is going to make your beloved arty coffee shop one of her ‘daily’ stops and perhaps invite a friend along who has a child of similar size, and that ‘your’ coffee shop will turn into ‘their’ coffee shop, and BOOM! Down you go on the path of ‘gentrification’. A suburban casualty. This fear, though HIGHLY unlikely will result in ruining your mood, whilst you read your paper, or your tablet, or surf the web.
You will glance up at that Mom, and you will scowl. It may not be a full ON scowl. It could be an eye roll, or an eyebrow raise, or a creased forehead (unless you are in Beverly Hills), but you will have some, noticeable reaction – and you will probably be unaware you are doing it. Or perhaps you are doing it on purpose.
(Do not worry, your Facebook posts about how horrid it is to even see the existence of my child and I at a coffee shop have set me straight. I will stick to the “Bucks or the “Bean.)
I appreciate that you think a child might cry and you will have to acknowledge that we share the planet. You may have to face the terrible, awful fact that you too were once a crying, pooping, sleeping, breast or bottle fed infant yourself – and you like to avoid that reminder as much as you can.
What you are not appreciating is that, we, as a Mothers, need coffee. It might be our one moment during a 24 hour day, where we take a moment to enjoy a beverage.
So yes, we may roll our strollers into ‘your’ coffee shop, and take an extra moment to pull out the wallet, because our bag is filled with diapers and wipes and sippy cups and an extra change of clothes for him, and heaven knows what else.
We do not need your eye-roll. We have enough going on.
I realize you have a perfect life that you enjoy just as you are. Good for you.
So do I.
I do not say a word as you prattle on about Proust at the next table in stentorian tones which will wake my kid and possibly bring forth your worst coffee shop nightmares. I usually agree with you that global warming is happening, producers not getting back to you are ‘a nightmare’, and that you absolutely could not get anything done at home because your pet has a small illness. I realize you may be hungover from hearing a DJ spin all night, or because you were working on an ‘important project’ whose ideals are so lofty, you believe that I might not even be able to wrap coherent thought around it. (Ahem)
I get that that is your life, and I am on ‘your territory’ when it comes to your beloved coffee shop.
I just order a soy latte, and I go right back out the door to ‘where I came from’.
However, if I chose to sit, it would not be wrong. Most often if I do, I sit outside, to prevent even the slightest inconvenience to you – because I do acknowledge that small children are not to everyone’s taste. Most Moms that I know, do this as well, we are just parents, not stupid.
So there I sit, at an outside table, hoping he may sleep if he is already doing so, or that if he drops something on the ground, a bird will get it – otherwise I will pick it up and throw it in the trash. I am usually pretty quiet, if he is sleeping. But then, some person who hates children, but loves coffee AND cigarettes will sit right next to me and light up.
In which case, I rise, lickety split, and leave.
Because your lung cancer is your own damn business.
Perhaps you are single, or perhaps you have raised your own perfect children who never, ever gave you a moment of grief so you cannot even bear the sound of a child’s laughter or voice, or perhaps you are of the group that springs fully grown from the head of Medusa – I do not know.
I only know that I am not going to NOT get my coffee because of you. Nor should any other Mom.
I need it. I have a 24 hour a day job taking care of a 30 pound toddler that only knows how to run. He is a joy and a delight, and he is exhausting and fantastic all at the same time.
If I need that coffee to keep up – I am going to get it.
But if we could take the vitriol down, just a notch, I would appreciate it, because I am cranky. My kid is not a weaponized stroller dweller trying to take out your toes and peace of mind, he is a little human that I am trying to keep safe.
That is what is in those strollers you hate so much – little human beings. Those people you roll your eyes at, the ones you resent so much? They are Moms – just like your Mom, so perhaps a tad less disdain? Perhaps understand that this is a lifetime job that we do not go home from, or take a break from, so we might need a beverage? Perhaps you could just slide your feet out of the way, understanding that our line of vision is slightly hampered by the stroller containing a small human?
Could not common courtesy carry the day? Where we both politely acknowledge that our paths are different, but what unites us is a need for caffeine? That we have, as it were, common interest?
You can disagree with me, of course. But I would ask, oh you ‘perfect, only worrying about yourself‘ People – do me this one favor?
Call your Mother.
Ask her what it was like to be raising you, and if people said anything to her about her stroller – they were BIGGER then you know….
However if common courtesy is beyond you, we can mutually ignore one another and I will be on my way.
But if you come for me with shade – just be aware….
This Mommy was raised by Drag Queens, and Gurl – The Library is OPEN!