My best friend just had herself another yummy baby and is now in the market for a bus double stroller. Deciding which stroller to buy is just as stressful as buying a car, especially with the outrageously high price tags that accompany your purchase. There are so many options that your head starts spinning when you walk into a baby store. As a supreme stroller-hoarder, I find all strollers to be basically the same, varying by one or two features. Strollers can range anywhere between $80 to $2,000, depending on the company that makes them and what they can do.
As more and more strollers flood the market, parents feel the need to get the latest one out there. Just like hand bags, cell phones and cars, strollers have become a status symbol.
Like it or not, your stroller says a lot about you.
The hottest two strollers on the market now are the Bugaboo Donkey and the Origami by 4mom. Both of these push-buggies outrank their competitors because of their unique features. The Donkey is a 2-in-1 stroller combo; it can be a double or single stroller without compromising the look or the performance. The Origami is electric. Thats right. We apparently have gotten so lazy that we cant even unfold a stroller by ourselves. This alien-like stroller not only folds by itself, but also has an LCD screen that tells you the time, how fast you are walking and the weather. It has head lights and can charge your iPhone while you walk. Both of these strollers are obviously on the higher end of the price spectrum.
I only know of a few people that own these strollers, and I wanted to know what all the hype was about. I asked a friend if I could borrow the Donkey for a few hours and took it to the mall with P. As a stroller, it was by the far the best thing I have ever pushed. It was easy to manoeuvre, fold, unfold and push. It was great to feed P in it since it had a tray with a cup holder. Overall, it was a great experience, except for all the staring and questions. I felt like I was a celebrity and not in a good way. People were staring at me the entire time I was strolling around. Some Mommies even stopped and asked me how I liked the Donkey, where I got it and how much I paid for it. One person asked if he could take a picture. I declined.
The Origami is just becoming available in Canada, and so I couldnt test it out for myself, but I am sure that I would have the same experience. Probably even worse.
I cant exactly define why it bothered me to walk around with the spanking new Donkey, but I think it had something to do with modesty. Not the shameful, bow-your-head-down-while-you-walk type of modesty, but the humbling, empowering kind. I felt like I was drawing so much attention to me that I couldnt handle the pressure of it. Tinges of jealousy and bad vibes were stinging me while I walked.
I think the nature of materialism in general, is that it attracts negative attention. Negative, only in regards to the intention behind all the staring and whispering. I felt that some people were judging me, and some just thought I was obnoxious. It felt as if they didnt think I deserved to have such a fancy stroller. I think what made it real for me is that I dont feel I am entitled to a stroller like that either, mostly because I barely manage to cover my months bills and that stroller is a my mortgage payment.
To be honest, I think it is all relative. Its relative to the living standards in the community that I live in, relative to those I hold in high regard and to those that I dismiss as not to my standard. I have a pretty fancy stroller myself, but every other person on the street has it, and as a result, it doesnt cause such a commotion. I am sure that if I walked to a neighbourhood where this wasnt the norm, I would again be the center of attention.
Lesson learned: I have to be careful about overstepping the boundaries of the norm. Not because I am boring, not inquisitive enough or lack aspiration, but because it is a very fine line between that and a material-driven existence. Dont get me wrong, I am the first one in line for a bigger house, a nicer car, a newer phone, but its only right if the intentions behind these things are golden: to welcome more people into my home, to fit more kids into my carpool, to better stay connected to the people I love. I cant let my things define me. I have to use my things to perfect what I stand for as a woman, and especially a mother.