Older Kids In Strollers

by Marinka on May 11, 2011

There’s a brouhaha online. And I’m here to tell you about it. A week late, but still.

First, Laura Miller started a website about big kids in strollers, Too Big For Stroller, which posts photos of children who appear to be too old. To be fair, it looks like the most boring website out there, because they’re all just SITTING THERE.

Then Salon published an interview with the website owner, Why Do We Hate Seeing Big Kids In Strollers?

And Jezebel weighed in about Judgy Mommies Getting Worked Up Over Big Kids in Strollers.

Because apparently being judgy is bad.

There goes my favorite pastime. (Is it really not okay to judge, though? When you see a mom giving her toddler soda, do you not shudder?)

At the risk of alienating my blogging tribe, I’ll say it: It bothers me to see kids who are too old in strollers.

How old is too old, I don’t know, but if your kid is sitting in a stroller and smoking a cigarette while on a conference call, he should get the fuck up.

Of course I say nothing to these kids, nor do I take their picture, because I’m not an animal. Besides, I’ve been walking and expending energy while these kids have been sitting back and resting. They can totally kick my ass.

But I do pass a silent judgment.

Silent judgment along the lines of “If I am correct and appearances are not deceiving and this child does not suffer from a disability and neither does the parent, she is too old to be pushed in a stroller, she should walk and the parent should encourage it.”

It’s amazing that more people don’t seek me out to hear my wisdom. Or that I haven’t been shot.

I’ve been trying to think why it bothers me that these kids are in strollers.

After all, they’re not mine, shouldn’t I just rejoice in that my children are stroller-free and go on with my life?

Yes, and mostly I do.

But it bothers me to see older kids in strollers because rightly or wrongly, I see it as lazy parenting. It bothers me in the same way that parents who don’t ask their children to perform chores around the house bothers me.

It’s absolutely none of my business, but to the extent that we are all part of the same society, and no man is an island, aren’t we all affected by the choices that we make within our families?

For most people, it’s harder to have a child out of a stroller than in. And to be fair, for the most part, I’m talking about people who have one child or two, who can get a hand on a kid in an emergency.

And it’s true, I have no idea what that particular parent has been through, I haven’t walked a mile in her shoes, I do not know how close she is to snapping. If that’s what is at stake, then by all means. But I suspect that there’s a good number of older kids in strollers that isn’t attributable to disability or parental over-exhaustion.

At the end of the day, I recognize that it’s none of my business. And that’s why I don’t say anything.

But it doesn’t mean that I’m not thinking it.

Disclaimer: The above sentiments are my own. They are not intended to apply to people with disabilities, seen or unseen, people suffering from any condition, parents who are exhausted, hungover, or really pissed that All My Children has been canceled, people who have more than one child, well, maybe two, if they also have a dog that they need to walk, people that I know and like, and you.

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{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

DCZia May 11, 2011 at 10:03 am

I do try not to judge other parents, because I don’t know what their situation is or what their kid is like. These “too big” kids sitting in strollers kind of baffle me, though, because I can’t keep mine IN a stroller. She’s 2 1/2, and can get in and out by herself. We live on Capitol Hill in DC, and we walk everywhere. Her choices are to walk or ride in the stroller, because she is definitely too heavy for me to carry her more than a couple of blocks. But we allow her to make the choice, unless there’s a good reason to do otherwise (e.g., safety related). She walks (or runs) for a good portion of the distance that we walk. When she does get tired, she gets back in the stroller by herself. I can’t fathom how you make a bigger, older child even STAY in a stroller, honestly.

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J December 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Hey….I don’t have a car, a single mom, we walk with groceries from a store that 1 mile away because the harrassment on the bus is too much for us. I get hit on by drunks, and my daughter gets frightened every time. If you have time, read books on compassion, and realize many of us are different. I googled stroller for 55 pounds are your site keeps getting in my way….It made me feel frustrated to say the least. I honestly would take this blog down, the others are all over the place too. If anyone knows of a stroller that wont break, and that is not to wide to make it through small pathways in snow, let me know….also…heads up…that would be a great informative blog for those struggling to make it, who only wish they had time to blog.
Peace,
Jen

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Phoenix Rising
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 10:14 am

I don’t care who is in the stroller if it ain’t me, because let’s be honest – I’m secretly waiting for Graco to come out with an adult sized model – but I do believe it’s quite odd to see Mom struggling to push her 100lb child around an amusement park and the kid puts his feet down to the ground to stop. the. stroller. from. moving. (True story.) Because little Johnny wanted to go this way and not that way. Maybe it’s me – I just don’t get it.

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Jodi F. May 11, 2011 at 10:19 am

Neither of my kids *wanted* to be in a stroller pretty much as soon as they could walk. Trying to strap them in was like wrestling with a greased cat. Mostly the trusty umbrella stroller was just a convenient place to put my bags. And my kids pushed it, not rode in it.

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Halala Mama
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 10:29 am

I used to judge people who had older kids in strollers like I did those who used the “leash backpacks….” and now that i have had my son who fears nothing and runs like the WIND every single chance he gets, despite my constant watching, guiding, parenting, and prodding. Now I look at those leash backpacks and wonder if they come with a bungee cord? Granted he’s only two and probably not too “old” for the stroller, but at 4o inches and 40 pounds, he probably is too big.

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hokgardner
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 10:33 am

It bothers me too, for a lot of the reasons you mentioned. I don’t remember the last time I put my kids in a stroller. My kids are all more than capable of walking, even the two-year-old.

I could rant on all day, but I won’t.

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kristen May 11, 2011 at 10:33 am

I agree with you. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. Especially with childhood obesity rates on the rise etc…

I hear about so many people putting their 5 year olds in strollers at places like Disney — no way would that happen in our family.

In our family, we had completely ditched the stroller by 3. I have twin boys and we walk a lot. Since it is the way we have always done things, they really don’t complain about walking. Even at 3, we took them to Disneyland without strollers. Yes, they were exhausted at the end of the day, but we never carried them and they never complained about being too tired.

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Scott
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 10:34 am

I have the same problem with people who aren’t old enough to be riding a Rascal.

Between children riding in strollers too long and people getting Rascals too soon, we are really limiting our mobility as a society. Or increasing it?

On the bright side, with more people on wheels it is a lot easier just to roll them out of your way if they are taking too long in the produce aisle.

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Megan May 11, 2011 at 10:34 am

You sort of stole my thunder with all the disability disclaimers. I’ve had my son in a stroller (or stroller-like thing) in a theme park once or twice because of his Cerebral Palsy. We make him walk, but eventually he gets exhausted (it’s more of an effort for him to walk than it is for you and me), his feet hurt from the hard plastic orthotics in his shoes and the whining reaches epic proportions. A stroller is a Godsend. I’m sure people are judging us because my son’s disability isn’t apparent if you don’t know what to look for.

I also remember people judging my mom because we used a rental wheelchair for her in Disney once. She could walk, but if she walked too long, she had excrutiating pain in her feet (eventually she had to have them broken and reset).

Ultimately, I save my judgement for the people who bring their dogs to the mall. In strollers.

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the mama bird diaries
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 10:39 am

I’m sort of middle of the road on this. I guess because I have a 4 year old who can be VERY VERY difficult about walking and i just want her to stop whining. Also in NYC – sometimes older kids are in strollers b/c a 6 year old can’t walk 25 blocks to Whole Foods and back. So I think sometimes city kids are in stroller more because their parents have to cover a lot of distance. FAST.

But I do agree that when your kids starts smoking, it’s time for them to walk.

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OHmommy
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 10:49 am

I don’t get the “big kids in strollers” thing either but then again I waited in bread lines as a two year old, holding my moms hand for hours.

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Daisy May 11, 2011 at 11:02 am

Best. Disclaimer. Ever. Did you go to law school in your spare time? The time you found while not pushing strollers? (I kid, I kid. About the spare time. No one has spare time.)

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Stephanie Smirnov May 11, 2011 at 11:06 am

I judge big kids in strollers, I did it just the other day. By “big” I mean of sound mind and body, posessing of all necessary limbs, and judging from the speech ability and height/weight of the one I saw at the mall two days ago — about 7 years old. I also judge big kids who suck their thumbs. Not acceptable. Stop it right this instant. On a final and related note, I intensely judge Upper East Side mothers who prance around in yoga pants while their nannies push the strollers next to them. (For some reason the yoga pant detail feels essential to the story.)

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kakaty
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 11:49 am

THANK YOU!
Like I said on Twitter yesterday, yes I judge. (and lord help me, I judge other parents ALL THE TIME. We all do, some just don’t admit it). When I see a big kid in a stroller but I usually assume that the kid has a diability or is big for their age. I know there are 2 year olds out there as big as my 4.5 year old. BUT! I have seen photos and IRL kids I know – I know their age and their abilities – who are 4, 5 even 6 years old being pushed around in strollers. It always shocks me and makes me think of a book in my daughter’s classroom “Pig Pig Grows Up”.

Another thing I will judge quickly and harshly, is parents who bring iPads or DVD players to restaurants for their kids. And I see it everywhere. Look, I get it, I really do. Sometimes mom and dad just want dinner out and dining with little kids usually sucks. But it’s time to put on the grown-up-pants, suck it up and endure. Eat quickly, take turns if you need to, choose location wisely. Or get take-out. Because, seriously, if your kid is headsetted-up and lost in a movie every time they gnaw on their chicken fingers how are they ever going to learn to behave while eating out?

(disclaimer: I’m not talking about the 5 minutes of OMG just be quiet and play this game on my phone while I finish my damn meal moments. I’m talking about the people who arrive and set up a movie with headsets before they even order a soda, which seems to be a new trend)

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Loukia May 11, 2011 at 11:59 am

I’ll forever adore you, Marinka. And if you ever tried to carry my three year old you’d be screaming this at me: “WHERE THE F*CK IS THE PEG? GOOD GOD THIS CHILD WEIGHS A TON!”

In all seriousness, my three year old uses a stroller still, sometimes. If we’re out all afternoon, he’ll walk, run, play, be a child. But, if he gets exhausted, he will sit in the stroller. He might even take his nap in the stroller. And this is great for him, and great for me.

I have a double jogging stroller too. I put both boys in it sometimes, when we go to the park. Even my five year old! He’ll sometimes sit in it! Then as soon as we’re at the park, he’s out and being, well, a five year old boy.

I don’t think it’s lazy on my part, at all… I do tell them to walk, and encourage them to be physically active, of course. But if they want a sweet ride enjoying nature in a stroller, sometimes, that’s totally okay. God, I wish I could be pushed around sometimes, especially after shopping all day in heels… the PAIN!!! 😉

I won’t tell you that my three year old still sometimes drinks his milk in a bottle at night or that he sucks a soother to fall asleep. I’ll just tell you that he’s super smart, adorable, and a total mama’s boy.

I am totally fine with moms doing things differently, and as I said in my post, we all judge other moms. Of course we do. My best friend would let her kids ‘cry it out’ to sleep; I always told her how I could never do that… however, here I am, still sleeping with my three year old, still struggling to get him to fall asleep on his own, before 10 p.m. every night. Who is having the last laugh now, huh?

Last thing: I think the lady who is posting these pictures is ridiculous.

A. She’s not a mom,
B. She shouldn’t be taking pictures of other people’s children secretly for her website, and
C. She should walk a mile in a mom’s shoes. I’m sure after she’s done that, she’d offer to push the stroller for that mom.

Okay, sorry for the longest comment ever!

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magpie May 11, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I love it when you poke things with a stick.

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Kim @The Fordeville Diaries
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 12:28 pm

See, but you’re overlooking the potential benefits. If these kids grow up to ride the motorized Rascals all over America’s crappiest cruise ships and casinos, more stroller time makes their transition much easier.

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Taint-Isis May 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm

My six-year old wouldn hop her butt in the stroller when the three-year old ditched it, and then the three-year old would push it. Which says everything you need to know about their personalities.

I think it depends on the kids, parents, and conditions. I didn’t drive when my kids were little, so the stroller took us LONG distances. Also you can pack more groceries on a stroller than you can carry home. Some kids walk more easily/readily than others. The three year old I mentioned above (now 7) can cheerfully walk the 45-minute slog from her school, chattering all the way, while her older sister all but passes out.

If you’re confining a child who wants to walk to a stroller so you don’t have to watch that they don’t run into traffic, that’s a problem. If you’re staying housebound because walking more than five blocks with your three-year-old on foot is hell, that’s also a problem.

And yes, I judge, too. Especially those giant 2-kid SUV strollers (unless you have twins, anyway). But I really shouldn’t.

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tracy
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I don’t let my kids play with other kid who drink soda. I assume their parents must be total assholes.

Also, I can’t let my kids ride in the stroller – where would I put all of my shopping bags?

Oh and thank you for saying all of this. I completely agree.

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Lizz May 11, 2011 at 1:28 pm

I agree with some of this; my 3 year old is rarely in the stroller, but we’re holding on to it, just in case. We’ll absolutely take it to Disneyland with us next year; I’d rather get the hairy eyeball from a judgy mom than tell an almost 4 year old that there’s nowhere for him to sit while we’re waiting for a parade to start. We also take it to the zoo quite a bit. Our local zoo has a LOT of hills and I don’t want to carry our lunch, picnic blanket, snacks, whatever toy he insisted on bringing, AND my camera all day. The stroller is a handy place to stash the crap!

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Tess
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Of course we judge. Even the moms who say they don’t.

Also, why can’t we have a laugh at some of those ridiculous photos w/giant kids in the strollers? While at Disneyland I saw over and over a trend I had never seen before — kids (big kids even!) taking a nap IN THE STROLLER BASKET. Funny, but also a little disturbing.

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marathonmom May 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Well I guess I will stop asking for a stroller at mile 23 next time.

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Jaci @ Ravings of a Mad Housewife May 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm

I’ve never handed out a stink eye over a stroller – and I’m normally super judgmental.

Most of the pictures are from amusement parks which are totally different situations. The family walks constantly–all day. It makes sense to take a stroller so the youngest kids can take breaks and keep moving. Leave it behind and you’re THAT guy–sweaty, hunched over, miserable, piggy backing kids all over the park.

Actually, I want a website totally devoted to snarking on that. She could name it “Should Have Brought the Stroller Dumb Ass”.

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Fabby June 17, 2012 at 3:04 am

All of these posts are ridiculous except for the one above. I found this because I was looking for reviews of strollers for 3 year olds. I up and left our umbrella stroller in a parking lot recently. Duh. Anyway. I had never thought to feel stupid that my kid was in a stroller. If you want to watch/entertain my child when I need to shop and she’s tired or going to run out of the store into the parking lot – just ask! Just another reason it is so liberating and important to not give a damn what others think.

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Issa
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Hmmm, well I have a kid who refuses the stroller and two others who went back and forth on loving/hating it. I’ve been at Disney with two kids under 6 and wondered why I didn’t bring it and then I’ve been at Disney with it and neither of the girls would sit in it. Basically I don’t judge the stroller.

I so totally judge the leash kid parents though.

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Liz @ PeaceLoveGuac
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I think it’s curious that neither the Too Big for Stroller creator nor the Salon reporter have kids. I prefer my judgy mommies to at least be mommies.

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Loukia May 12, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Exactly. That’s what irritated me the most.

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Donna May 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm

So what’s the age cutoff? I want to make sure I don’t screw up and get banned from your blog. Especially today, because – are you ready for this? – I just found a copy of US Weekly right here in the Embassy, and it’s only one month old! Have you ever heard anything so exciting? Now I can go back in your archives and participate in last month’s chat. Would you perhaps consider doing an “US Weekly, This Week in History” edition, just for me?

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Suebob
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Parents. They trip me out over the stuff they get all judgy on. It makes me even gladder, if that is possible, to not have kids.

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Heather May 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I don’t really care about big kids in strollers. But seeing a lap dog being pushed around in a stroller? That fucking pisses me off.

{So says the woman who pushed her 3-year-old (or was it 4?) in a stroller at Mardi Gras. Because, you know, drunk people. And crowds. Crowds of drunk people on the sidewalk.}

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Tanya B May 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Those pics are hysterical …. except she seriously crossed the line by posting a pic of Hugh Jackman. Are you kidding?!! He can do no wrong.

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Stasha
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 5:59 pm

What I love about your posts is that they are thought provoking. And get us to start talking.
To me there is a big difference between having an opinion and judging. I don’t want anyone judging me for making my son hike daily for miles or letting him ride in a buggy in pouring rain. But I have no problem with people forming an opinion about it or even sharing it with me.
Just not online. Not when it comes to other people’s children. Not with pictures. Never.
But since this is a free country (or so they say) let’s let Laura have her website. And if you ever catch me reading it I will even forgive you for judging me.

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K-Line May 11, 2011 at 8:03 pm

I couldn’t agree more.

Signed,
The woman Whose Mother Let Her Eat Peaches Baby Food until She Was 14

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jodifur
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 8:45 pm

I have missed every blog scandal as of late. That is all I know.

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Ann's Rants
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 8:56 pm

We often put four in a stroller, when we walk Seven back and forth from school every day. Because it is quicker.

Sometimes he rides a big wheel.

He seems to be developing beautifully despite this mollycoddling.

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dawnrich4 May 11, 2011 at 8:59 pm

I agree, Marinka, but what are your thoughts on dogs in strollers?

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Erin@MommyontheSpot May 11, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Interesting post! I don’t usually use a stroller anymore, but I was thinking about it for this weekend trip to Chicago since the pace will be fast and furious. Kinda like Mamabird diaries said in a big city.

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Briar
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 9:43 pm

I will continue to push my child (in a stroller) for as long as it pleases me and I will continue to set him up with iPad and headphones at restaurants when I damn well please and I will feed him intraveneous sugar and caffeine and I am sick and tired of the judging crap. I am actually serious about the first two. Lay off, mothers of the world. How about we all walk around ASSUMING the best, ASSUMING that people have reasons for what they are doing and are doing the best they can? Don’t make me start up about my fibromaylgia or how the iPad saves me when my parents come to town for long dinners out. I can make excuses, but how about we just assume those reasons are there and walk around giving people the benefit of the doubt.

I know. It’s not as fun.

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vegas710 May 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Yes, yes, YES. Exactly. Why assume the worst about other people? And why the hell does it matter if my kid is in a stroller? I’ll save my judgment for when people are actually doing something BAD AND ABUSIVE, thank you.

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Keyona
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 9:46 pm

So, how do we feel about those kid leashes?

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JulieBouf May 11, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Thank God for the disclaimer…I was afraid you were talking about me. Child with related disabilities…me about to snap if she whines for 5 more minutes about walking when she has no problem going full steam ahead in gymnastics for 1 hr or bouncing around everywhere all the live long day. No wonder she’s tired!

But besides all that…I am pretty aware and self-consious of what others think. I’m only 5’1 but I happen to have a 5yo taller then our neighborhood 9yos, with the maturity of a 4yo. I’m sure I’m getting stares. I actually was gossiped TO at a friend’s party when another attendee saw my husband changing her diaper when she was 2 years old. Cause she was as tall as a freaking 5yo. I sure embarrased her though when I calmly mentioned that she was referring to MY daughter. Bitch.

My daughter only gets a stroller on special occasions…like Disney World when we’ll be there late and I by myself with her. Cause she’s 60lbs. The last time I went without one and had to piggyback her ass back to the resort buses I almost ended up in the hospital. I tried to make her go hard core and tough it out…but she fell asleep as she was walking and fell flat on her face (I winning parenting awards all around, I know) But her in a stroller does look bad. Even a “Disney Castmember” made a comment to me on my last trip. Gasp.

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Cherilyn May 11, 2011 at 11:04 pm

I don’t mind seeing bigger kids in strollers at the zoo or an amusement park, places like that. It’s a lot of walking for little legs and it helps to keep track of the kid. That said, I have known parents who shove their kid in a stroller or cart every time they leave the house, even for a 5 minute run into the grocery store. I’m more than aware of unseen issues, I myself have MS that can sometimes cause me pain or issues that others can’t see, but I’m talking about kids that don’t have any underlying reasons to not be walking (or parents who don’t need the help of the stroller). I think a lot of the time it’s more about the parents than the kid. It’s easier to push the child rather than slow down to their pace, keep them from running off, not touching stuff, or any of the other million things kids want to do.

Really though, I’d rather see a 7 year old in a stroller than a kid over the age of 2 (and that’s pushing it) with a pacifier stuck in their mouth.

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kirida
Twitter:
May 12, 2011 at 4:02 am

I don’t really care about how old a child is in a stroller, but I do judge how old the stroller is that the child is in. I’m talking about those strollers that clearly look like they’re from the early 90s with bright fluorescent floral patterns or fluorescent blues and pinks. That can’t be safe, right?

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From Belgium May 12, 2011 at 8:17 am

What do you mean it is not ok to judge? What else was the internet invented for…

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Miss Cavendish May 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I would love to go for a run today, but my 5-year-old is home sick and I cannot (will not) leave him home alone. If I could stuff him into my baby jogger and go, I would do so happily!

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Jen Anderson
Twitter:
May 12, 2011 at 3:38 pm

What I don’t get is why don’t parents let their kids use those razr scooters instead if they’re worried about the kids getting tired (or those obnoxious sneakers with wheels). Less walking for the kids and less physical effort for the parents. My m-i-l makes a fuss about all the walking for the kids every we talk about my husband’s brother bringing the family to NYC for a visit. My m-i-l does a lot of walking when she visits here, but it’s not like we don’t have kids here.

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cara May 12, 2011 at 6:31 pm

You are fucking hilarious. I love you.

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A Mommy in the City
Twitter:
May 13, 2011 at 9:49 am

It’s hard to try not to pass judgement. I think we are all guilty of it regardless of what we know or don’t know. I guess it’s better that we think it and not say it out loud, right?

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Mary May 13, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Now what about those child leashes? I was totally a Judgy McJudgerson about things related to children before I was a mom and never thought I’d consider one. Now I’m about to take my two daughters, the most active 3 year old I’ve ever met and a five month old, on a plane trip by myself. I’m seriously going to buy a leash backpack for my wild child. I’d rather face judgement by strangers than a lost child in the airport.

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Mwa (Lost in Translation) May 13, 2011 at 3:35 pm

It’s funny – I’m always judging them as well, and then feeling guilty just because they might have some illness. You have the secret guilt as well!

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anymommy May 14, 2011 at 8:03 pm

So, what you are saying is that if I bring my stroller to Mom 2.0 next year, you will NOT push me around Miami in it? Mean. I only have one pair of shoes you know. I am saving my soles.

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Erin May 14, 2011 at 9:13 pm

I am sure you have never been told before…but you are really funny. I just peed a little while reading this. It even prompted me to wake my sleeping husband and read it to him…He didn’t find it nearly as funny as I did but….(he’s a guy, what do you expect)

Anyway – I feel about “big kids” in strollers the same way I feel about kids on leashes…awesome for Judgy blog posts…

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Lady Jennie May 20, 2011 at 7:40 am

This made me laugh. Big kids in strollers bug me, but I was pretty psyched about my Jane 3 wheel because my 4 year old could sit on the end of it facing backwards when I brought him home from school (while pushing the baby).

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Marta
Twitter:
May 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Love the comment about smoking a cigarette in the stroller, hilarious.

My thing with the stroller “debate” is that yeah a lot of those kids in the photos are too big for strollers, but based entirely on age some people would say my son might be too big. He’s 4. We have a double stroller for his 8 month old sister and for him in the front. He knows how to walk and run and does all those things, but if we’re going to the zoo or somewhere else with a lot of walking its much nicer for him to be able to sit in there than whine and have us carry his heavy 30 lbs tuckus!

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Rachael July 14, 2011 at 11:46 am

I understand there are many parents out there that put their children in strollers at an older age to make their lives easier, instead of taking the time to parent and teach. BUT I am a mother of a son with ASD and you wouldn’t know it to just look at him. There are many situations where the stroller or even the leashed backpack are used for his SAFETY! He loves being outside and I am not going to limit our outings due to the looks I might get from people that can’t help but judge without knowing a thing about the child or parent. For my situation, putting my son in the stroller is parenting! It’s being smart enough to know what my son can handle or can’t on that day. Of course my son would rather run free – but he would also love to run into the road and not be able to focus enough to hear my calls of warning. So, if you have to judge – I can’t stop you. But I would rather get your looks of “disappointment in the lazy parents of today” than have my son possiblly crushed by a car or kidnapped. I think everyone would be a whole lot happier if they could remember it’s NOT their child – they DON’T know the situation – and it NONE of their business. Life is hard enough without judging people you don’t know. I just wish I could go about my day without feeling like people need to hear the story of my life to not give me the death glare when I am just trying to take my kids for a walk!

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Marinka July 18, 2011 at 11:23 am

Rachael, Thank you for your comment– I’ve been thinking about it ever since you left it.

My first response was very knee-jerk and defensive– But I specifically excluded the parents with children in a situation such as yours!

Where I am now is that although I’m old enough not to allow a physical manifestation of my judgyness– I don’t roll my eyes or make faces and I certainly don’t give anyone (unrelated to me) the death glare, I am willing to acknowledge that my being judgmental about it could have the unintended consequence of burdening a parent, such as yourself. And for that I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better.

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Sabrina Williams October 26, 2011 at 4:56 pm

I know this is kind of a late comment considering when this was posted but I say judge not. Even if the child may appear normal, they may not be. My oldest is 6 and is Nonverbal Autistic & has Thalasemia and gets tired very easily. When this happens, she has meltdowns and it’s almost impossible to calm her down. But in appearance she looks as if she is just like you and I. It is so hard sometimes dealing with the bad comments and lectures from parents who consider everything we do as wrong or making our children lazy because they appear to look “normal.” I say be thankful for the fact you have a normal, healthy child and not be judgemental if you see an older child who appears to be normal in all aspects. There may be something deeper hidden if you ask their parents. This is NOT saying there aren’t parents out there with “normal/typical” kids that do this just because they don’t won’t the responsibility of keeping up with their children. In that regard, that’s wrong. I’m just saying to consider the situation first. In fact I was looking up sites for wheelchairs and strollers for older children to help aid when we have to go places and my daughter overtires when this popped up in my search engine. Very disheartening to read.

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Cyndi November 27, 2011 at 1:42 pm

I agree 100% with you! My 6 year old appears normal, but has Cerebral Palsy. He hurts and tires easily, but is getting heavy enough I cant pack him around. Agreed that there are parents out there that are lazy, but please dont judge us, if you dont know the facts. And be grateful that you have healthy children.

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Cyndi November 27, 2011 at 1:39 pm

I have to say you can not judge until you know the story. My son is 6. He has Cerebral Palsy and unless you see him walk or see his leg braces, you would never know that he has something wrong with him. He does ride in a stroller, because he can only walk short distances, and hes getting to big for me to carry him. So before passing judgement on people…please think twice about what could really be going on.

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Tiffany December 9, 2011 at 10:49 pm

I was also looking for a stroller for my 6 y/o when google shot this blog my way.

My son has scoliosis and you would never know it unless you lifted up his shirt and looked at his back.

He actually just had a spinal fusion and is unable to walk more than 5 minutes without pain.

I am that mom in the produce isle pushing my big kid in a big ass Baby Jogger double (with a baby as well). He does use the ipad and drink 7-up on occasion. He’s smarter than others in his class and has never had a single cavity.
Judgy moms don’t bother me too much… I have the last laugh as I ‘accidentally’ scrape their ankles with my monster size

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Tiffany December 9, 2011 at 10:53 pm

tires 😉

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krissy December 21, 2011 at 5:05 am

my daughter has a severe medical condition that effects her blood pressure the longer she stands the more it drops until she passes out she is 5 1/2 now and we have no choice but to use the stroller to get her off her feet to look at her she looks perfectly normal it is what is going on inside her body… so dont jugde people just because a child looks “normal” doesn’t mean they dont have a debilitating medical condition which we have been dealing with since she was an infant because of a brain tumor she had… so get over yourselfs and your pet peeves people some people have real things to deal with

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Tacckky December 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Thank you very much for judging my child who doesn’t look disabled but IS! I get really tired of people thinking she is just lazy or I just spoil her. NO she has a brain condition that causes her a lot of problems. One of the many problems is she wears out extremely easily. So yes she rides in a stroller because she is to big to be carried. Adults need to grow up and stop assuming the worst of every other parent. I am so glad your perfect children can do everything right but our life is different. I spend more time in the hospital with my child then you people spend judging people. My daughter has had multiple brain surgeries what is your excuse for ignorant?

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age December 30, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Please try not to prejude. My daughter is special needs and is very long…I get looks all the time because she just looks tired. She has mitochondrial disease. Personally, Im excited they make strollers for big kids…hoping Ill find one because the special needs strollers are terrible. So next time any of you are casting a glare at a mom either with a big kid in a stroller or a mom getting out of a handicap parking spot…please think of me. Single mom with two toddlers, one of them they say there’s no hope…but I have faith. You never know their situation. Thanks for listening

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toddler won't walkin the city January 19, 2012 at 10:21 am

If someone could tell me how to get my healthy almost 2-year old out of the stroller and walking next to me, I would really appreciate it. She has no physical problems, she walks, runs and jumps around in the park and playground, but if I try to get her to walk next to me on the street she just sits or lays down and wails to be carried. I have tried distraction, giving snacks, walking away, everything–she refuses to walk on the sidewalk.

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Brittany July 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm

My daughter is 5 and she is still in a stroller even at a mall because she has asthma and I’m sure I get stares but I don’t care. And when we travel I take it because she’s very hyper but doesn’t understand that she gets too tired and can’t walk long.but she takes a ballet class 65min a week and is in kindergarten full day from 8:30 to 3:00 and no nap. When out she takes a snack but cant walk and eat and a stroller helps alot.i will continue to use it,and it helps me at times to because I have dysautonomia. I don’t care what anyone thinks.

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Autism Mommy July 5, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Its hard to not judge.. But my son looks fine & healthy. He begs for a stroller bcz he gets overwhelmed by crowds. The world would be an awesome place if we quit judging

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Amber July 12, 2012 at 10:21 am

The reason I keep my bigger child in a stroller is because the minute he hits the ground outside of the house, he is gone with the wind. I get tired of running after him constantly in public, as it’s slightly counter-productive. You are correct in that you have not walked in my shoes and until you do, you probably shouldn’t judge. I am far from lazy, as I am a stay-at-home mom to my very active 3 year old. I just don’t feel like chasing my child for the duration of the time we are running errands, at appointments, etc. I do that enough when we’re home.

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Palak July 25, 2012 at 7:27 pm

You really don’t know what the family’s situation is. My daughter is 5 and she is technically too old for a stroller; however, she has a life-threatening chronic illness so she needs to be wheeled around sometimes. It annoys me when people give me dirty looks because they have no idea what our situation is.
I write about our journey here…
http://www.rx-mommy.blogspot.com

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