A beach-side town. A series of cutesy, quirky little stores. A sleeping baby in the pram and a desire to ‘browse’. All very normal, very peaceful elements at play.
Imagine, then, that every store you attempt to enter is either stocked so full of items that the pram (let alone a bigger mobility vehicle like a wheelchair) is impossible to negotiate. Imagine that there are, for reasons unknown, STAIRS throughout the store. Imagine that staff members and fellow shoppers roll their eyes, sniff with disdain and make soft ‘tutting’ sounds about the parent who DARES to try and act like a NORMAL person.
A series of closed doors in your face
When you cross the line from ‘not-parent’ to ‘parent’, it’s commonly accepted that things are now very different. Demands on time, ability (or desire) to take place in different activities and budget are often hugely different.
However, does that mean that it’s acceptable that you’re excluded from simply browsing in stores? That your very presence (and that of your pram) are treated as utterly offensive by both the people in the store AND the design of it?!
Think about this.
If a pram cannot fit into the store, cannot go up stairs into the store or cannot safely move down the aisle – how would a person in a wheelchair?
Stores are being designed to encourage customers to BUY, BUY, BUY at the expense of space. The flow-on effect of this is that, unless your body is a very certain type of body, you’re being PUSHED OUT of the store and told that you’re not a valued customer. That your money, presence and individuality are ‘no good here’.
It’s not on
We’re often told that the answer to many issues to do with mental health (including postnatal depression) is to become an active member of the community. To get out and about, see new faces and participate.
If, by nature of being a parent who uses a pram to travel, you are EXCLUDED from entry into those communities then that very advice becomes completely redundant. How can a mother, out on her own with a number of small children, take a minute to feel human if she cannot get into the store by nature of its design?
What are your thoughts?
Storm in a teacup or right on? What are your thoughts about being treated (or treating) parents with prams like second class citizens?
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