You, Madam, Are My Hero Vol. 2


Last week we looked at our first hero flying up the 11th Street Bike Lane with keg in tow. Yesterday, a reader nominates this hero for navigating H Street with ease sans stroller:

“I hate strollers. So to me, this woman is a true hero. 8th & H NE”

Should you spot a quiet act of heroism along these lines please do send an email with a brief description and the neighborhood where it was witnessed to [email protected] or tweet @PoPville.

88 Comment

  • Cute babies!

  • That One Guy

    Is the villain in this photo the guy with a cigarette next to the kid?
    Also, she must have ridiculous arm stamina.

    • +1,000 that is totally impressive. she is also my hero

    • The cigarette is appalling, but at the same time I hope that’s the toddler’s mommy and daddy because if so it’s still a beautiful photo. My father smoked until I was 12, including in front of his children, and I loved him not a bit less. A smoking daddy who is present is better than an absentee dad any day.

      • +1000 to this.

      • Are you so sure about that? Some of the mom’s aren’t with the dad for good reasons. As a landlord in this city to many lower income mothers, it is often time better that the man in her life is NOT around.

        • Please don’t jump on KPS. There is a very big difference between a “Present” father and the kind of dad you are discussing. Of course, it is always ideal to have as many loving, present parents as possible for any child. I don’t think KPS is saying that moms should keep bad guys around simply so kids can have a dad, just that a present parent is better than an absent one. And trust me, parents can be absent while also still being around.
          -Signed, mom of kids with an absentee father.

      • Nonetheless, a father who loves his children should not be holding a cigarette inches from their open mouths.

      • While it offends modern sensibilities, my mom smoked with us around.

        That kid’s tank top and jorts are so cute.

    • west_egg

      QUICK! Everybody judge this guy according to a (literal) snapshot in time!!
      (Sheesh. You People!)

  • I don’t hate all strollers. But I LOATHE the ones the size of an SUV – I swear *I* could fit in that thing. And kids who look like they’re about 6 and still in a stroller.

    • I try not to judge older kids in strollers unless I know the story. Kids still get tired more easily than adults, and sometimes kids are sick or have other issues.

      • Yes. I once mentally scoffed at a 1st grader in a stroller, and all the gear his parents were hauling. I was priding myself on my easygoing child and our minimalist travel style. Then the kid’s mom exited the restroom with toddler twins.
        And I had to BUY a stroller for my four-year-old (we had gotten rid of ours already) when she was injured. It wasn’t obvious that she was hurt, but she definitely needed to stay off that knee for a few days.

        • I very nearly bought my four year old a stroller the other week. I had all my kids plus quite a few extras, and it would have just been SO easy to have the youngest contained in a stroller. There’s no shame in the stroller game lol

    • I used to think like this but city living sometimes requires older kids in strollers especailly if your primary means of transportation is walking. It allows for much longer distrances and the upsdie is its one less car on the road that the family might otherwise need to use.

    • northeazy

      Are any of you parents? I suspect not. Strollers are amazing and I will use one until my kid drives because little kids are slow as sh!t and sometimes I don’t have the time to stop every 5 stems to look at dogs, gardens, houses, cars, sticks, rocks, and other detritus strewn about on the street.

      • Strollers are amazing until you have to get on the Metro. A woman with twins won’t be able to leave the house.

  • Pro-tip for this mom and others: You can dual carry (one in front one in back) using wraps, or a combo of a wrap and structured carrier, or one on each hip with two ring slings.

  • Maybe this will be fka Shawess in spring/summer 2016. 🙂

  • All the kids in this photo have awesome expressions on their adorable faces.

  • Great photo … and so much irony.

  • She’s a hero for managing two babies, not keeping them out of your way. Way to go, mama.

  • Go tandem babywearer, go! And anonamom’s pro tip is right on. There are lots of cool ways to do this. (textdoc’s on to something – I’m reading up on them all).

  • We were in a nanny share, and the nanny used big pieces of fabric to tie one baby to each hip. People took pictures it was so cute.

    • Is that safe? Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen…

      • fka Shawess, see? ^^ Even cute stories you tell years later, and someone always has something negative to say.

        • wdc, this thread is making me feel postpartum depression settling in already and I’m not due until 2016.

          • Okay, that was dramatic, I know, but I’m realizing that (in both DC and SF) people really, really want parents (and I mean moms) to just keep their kids entirely out of sight and out of “their” way. So it sounds like you basically have to decide between become a mole person or not giving a f-ck what people think. I’m not great at either one.

          • After the kid arrives (kids arriving in your case), you’re so busy focusing on their needs that you care less what others think while you’re getting done what needs doing. So that should help. Certainly, don’t go out of your way to be obnoxious to others, but at the same time, do what you gotta do. As for the double stroller–get something that fits *your* needs and don’t worry too much about others’ opinions. You’ll have two babies, what the hell else are you supposed to do?

          • Shawess, just practice my mantra for 2015: “I give zero f*cks!”

            Seriously though, everyone has an opinion, but the only opinions that matter are those of the people parenting the kids. Refuse to become a mole person.

          • It doesn’t have to be one extreme or the other. Shawess, you’ve always come across as a thoughtful, considerate person, and I imagine you’ll continue to be one.

  • I few months ago I was headed home on the metro and saw a woman with a (full) double stroller ahead of me and a third baby strapped to her back, headed for the escalator. I assumed she was just going to ride it down and I got prepared for the 3 second delay I was about to face, but instead she picked up the stroller and walked quickly down, never breaking her pace. I stopped to tell her that she’s amazing.

    • Whoa! Props to her for pulling it off… but that’s potentially very dangerous. She should really have been using the elevator instead. (And Metro needs better signage telling people that bicycles and strollers aren’t allowed on escalators.)

      • Emmaleigh504

        Strollers with kids in them on the escalators makes me very, very nervous. I do not want to see an accident.

      • I agree with you – but would also want to know if the elevators at this station were even operational. As we all know, that is far from a given.

    • It was the short escalator at Federal Triangle entrance (I’m actually not sure the elevator was working). She seemed to have a good handle on it, and I was impressed with how easily she was (or seemed to be) handling three little kids on her own and all the stuff that comes with them. I’ve seen tourists at that metro be more obtrusive with a fanny pack.

  • I have to ask: is stroller hating a common thing? I’m surprised a bit by the OP’s strong thoughts on the subject and some of the subsequent comments here. I’m also sort of curious about what’s driving the anti-stroller sentiment if anyone feels like explaining it to me. As the soon-to-be owner of a double stroller, I’d like to know how to avoid being an a-hole where possible.

    • Today’s strollers are MASSIVE, unlike the minimalist umbrella-type strollers our parents used. I don’t really mind their mere existence per se, but I _do_ mind when they’re in my way, like in a crowded Metro car.
      For double strollers, IMO the one-in-front-of-the-other kind is easier for passersby to deal with (vs. the side-by-side kind).

      • +1 to all of this
        I love kids, but when my bus is delayed because someone won’t break down the stroller it’s crazy. Just be cognizant of your space, try not to block doors, etc.

        • Ugh–yes, following the rules is important, and in DC, folding down your stroller is part of the rules. It’s a pain, but that’s the rule (and also why we had kiddo in an ergo for commuting to/from daycare until she was roughly two and my expanding belly made it hard for me to pull off comfortably).

      • Imagine this: you’re a parent who uses the metro at rush hour because you have a normal, 9-5 job (shocking idea, I know). Your healthy, growing kid is too big for a carrier, or you have a bad back and can’t carry him/her – but you need to drop him/her off at daycare near your work. Now imagine that you have to use that stroller on the craptastic DC sidewalks – so you need some real tires. And maybe you need to pack, I don’t know, lunch and bottles and clothes and diapers for your kid’s day at daycare, so you either need to carry a bulky backpack (which complicates babywearing & is no friend to crowded metros either), or a stroller with some storage underneath.
        There are better ways to handle this incredibly common scenario – aim for the front and rear cars, where there’s more space, be conscious of your surroundings, maybe slide your schedule a liiiitle bit if you can – but it’s a reality that folks can and should be compassionate about.

      • I have a great photo of being in a double-wide stroller with my twin sister with license plates in front with our names on them to tell us apart.

    • People don’t hate *strollers*, they hate the manner in which some people operate them.

      • saf

        Exactly. I can’t count how many times I have been rammed by strollers when the parent/driver wasn’t paying attention.

        Also, far too many people stick them out into traffic. CAR traffic!

    • I think most stroller outside hate comes from irresponsible and/or oblivious stroller users. You know, the kind who bump into people, block aisles, hit people on the ankle (the worst!), and also the parents who completely ignore kids while they are in strollers and then the kids pull things off shelves in stores or whatever. My own personal stroller disdain comes from having to maneuver a beast, the fact that no matter what they get filthy, and the fact that they take up so much damn space. Also, coming to DC and having to fold the stroller on buses (in Europe they don’t do this, idk why, but that’s what I expected), adds another level of pain in the ass. I moved to the city when the youngest was 2 and still happy in a carrier (for the most part), and it was a million times easier. Every parent and child will have a different experience, but for me, a good structured carrier and a ring sling were all I needed to get around.

    • My guess is that OP doesn’t have kids. The woman in the picture is indeed impressive, but the idea that a parent must suffer back and arm pain just so that others won’t have to share the sidewalk with a child is absurd. I don’t find strollers offensive. What I do find offensive is people who are intolerant of other human beings until they hit age 18.

      • Thank you, KenyonDweller, I was thinking along the same lines. Baby wearing is wonderful if and when you can do it, but it’s not for everyone or for all occasions. I don’t think of it as something to do instead of having a stroller, but more as a supplement or alternative for certain specific situations (like running quickly to the store).
        I’m still not sure why strollers are such a huge inconvenience for some people … unless the person using the stroller is actually making it inconvenient, as in the case Textdoc cited. And that’s not the stroller itself, I don’t think. I sounds like the person using it. Although I might be more inclined to give that person the benefit of the doubt for likely being overtired and overworked. Lugging around small people isn’t easy even if they’re on wheels.

        • Some strollers are so large that they don’t need much help from the people pushing them to become an inconvenience to others, though.

          • Perhaps, but I wonder if the issue there is also/more the choice to bring a huge stroller on the Metro at a peak hour.
            I’m really, really torn on this whole issue because all of the twin mom sources I trust tell me that side-by-sides are a LOT easier to maneuver and break down than the front to back ones, and allow you to keep your eye on both babies at the same time. So I plan to get one.
            But I also hope to avoid being the jerk who holds up everyone else with my massive stroller. Some of this I can control — by carefully picking my transit times and watching my kids and myself closely. But I already know I can’t control everything and eventually will piss someone off. It seems inevitable, and not entirely fair to expect otherwise.

          • Eh, sometimes just your presence will piss someone off. Do what you got to do and go from there. Yes, pay attention to your kids, and yes, try to avoid having the stroller in the way of people getting on/off the train, but do what you need to do. Most people will understand most of the time.

          • fka Shawess – the side-by-sides are better for twins. You can get smaller scales ones. Check out Combis and MacClarens.
            Oh, and don’t worry about pissing people off. Trust me, your kids will piss people off all the time without even trying. And they will charm people without even trying too. It’s all part of having kids 🙂

          • Emmaleigh504

            I think when they are old enough to tell they are identical almost no one will be pissed off b/c they will be too busy asking Shawess personal questions while they ooh and ahh over identical twins.

          • Oh, Emily, I’m getting them already! Like, the minute I say I’m expecting identical twins, people (strangers) love to ask if they’re “natural.” I’m trying to brace myself for the onslaught of stupid that I expect to come my way soon. Other twin moms report being asked things like “are you SURE they’re identical?” “do they have the same dad?” “did you have to have a c-section?” “are they a lot of work?” Fun times ahead!

          • Eek! I can understand people _wondering_ if twins were conceived without the use of assistive reproductive technologies… but that’s a thought you keep to yourself, not something you ask a complete stranger!!

          • *So* many people ask. Almost always using the word “natural.” I get the curiosity too, but am surprised by how many people think it’s okay to ask a stranger about it.

          • So weird too because identical twins pretty much have to have happened on their own rather than through ART. Perhaps some component of ART that I’m unaware of increases the likelihood? But regardless you’re talking about splitting of a single embryo rather than something coming from implanting multiple. Ugh, people are indeed weird.

          • There is a *very* small increase in the likelihood of ID twins when you do IVF with ICSI, but it’s such a small risk that even people who do ICF with ICSI usually don’t know about it. We’re talking 1%ish difference in likelihood, when the likelihood is already in the 1% range. I think the comment is coming from a different place: hear “twin,” assume fertility treatments.

      • + 10000

        I was taken aback by the stroller-hating comment, and I’ve never had kids. I admire adults who can effectively parent, and if a stroller helps them, and they can use them in a manner that isn’t narcissistic (+1 to Krampus), then I’m all for it.

      • I agree that we should all try to tolerate each other, but strollers can be overused and used inconsiderately in DC. Most parents who are in reasonably good shape and reasonably patient should hopefully realize that sometimes it’s good to leave the stroller in the closet. I have commuted with my almost 3 year old via metro and walking since she was 3 months old, and I have never used a stroller to do it. She has gotten the chance to use her own two feet to explore the world, and I have gotten some pretty defined biceps.

        • Yeah! Zora can do it. Ergo, everyone should do it.
          (hey parents, didja catch my babywearing pun there???)

        • That’s awesome, Zora! I’m so thankful that my 99th percentile monster baby was an early walker. Carrying her in the Ergo regularly after 12 months would’ve broken my back. My biceps could still use some work, I guess.

        • Glad you have no back or other physical issues, nor a nanny or grandparent caring for your child who is not in as good shape as you! You sound smug, know that? You can be happy you could do that without extrapolating to assume most people can. Never meet a mom who was going through cancer treatment, etc.?

          • @anon: I may indeed sound smug (though that was not my intent). You for sure sound like you have problems with reading comprehension.

    • I admit I was a little perturbed by that comment. All you can do is stay in your lane, literally and figuratively, and let other people handle themselves. Your babies have as much right to the sidewalk as anyone else.

    • Every blessed thing you can do as a parent– including just BEING a parent– will draw someone’s scorn. Which is why some parents respond to even the most reasonable criticism (“kindly prevent your child from licking the doorknob, thanks,”) with rolled eyes. Because it comes from every side, all the time, for years. You can’t take it all seriously. So you might end up taking NONE of it seriously, at least some days.
      That said, side-by-side double strollers on metro at rush hour are tough.

      • correction in almost every case: Being a MOM will draw scorn. Dads generally don’t fall on such scrutiny. A dad with a giant stroller doesn’t get as nasty looks as a mom (“why isn’t mom wearing her baby?”)

        • You’re absolutely right. Dads doing almost anything that involves children (their OWN children) get public approbation for “helping.”

    • I think strollers have become a status symbol in urban settings – most folks dont have cars (or don’t use them regularly) so everyone’s buying these large, very expensive ones. Which, I’ll admit, I am sad I didn’t get because they do work really well on city streets (Uppababy). Generally speaking, though, people who feel they have to wait a minute for a parent to get on the bus with their kids, or move over a bit on the sidewalk…they’ll be annoyed by anything you decide because they’re Debbie Downers.
      My girlfriend got the Joovy double for her twins and loves it, FWIW. Use what is safe, easy to use on city streets if you plan on walking a lot, and will fit in your car if you have one.

  • I frequently using a single running stroller, which is rather large. If I’m on a sidewalk and notice someone trying to pass me from behind or about to cross paths with me, I’ll pull to the side and let them pass. I’ve noticed, however, that many other stroller-pushers don’t give me the same courtesy, whether I’m with my own stroller or not. So I don’t hate strollers, I hate inconsiderate people.

    • “So I don’t hate strollers, I hate inconsiderate people.”
      I think this sums it up. Strollers aren’t bad, they’re just another tool that inconsiderate people use to be inconsiderate.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I hate strollers and oblivious parents and annoying kids as much as the next person (maybe more!), but I try to remember that being a parent is hard work, and those people zoning out are probably exhausted. They don’t mean to bump you with the stroller but they are running on fumes, so I let it go.

    • I hear you, but we’re not giving passes to people who are on cellphones bumping ppl…They could be just as exhausted. We’ve all been there; I’m there now, but I still try to be courteous. I have no problem helping someone breakdown, carry the child down the stairs, etc, but you’ll still get a look when you run me over.

  • This woman is amazing!!!! Woo hoo!!!

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