May 10, 2011 at 12:59 PM ET
The blog Too Big For Stroller might inspire a few nods of smug recognition. Who hasn't seen a "big kid" being pushed around in a stroller, knees scrunched up to his ears, and thought: Why doesn't that kid just walk?
That was the thought Laura Miller had when she created the blog, which features photos (with the kids' faces blocked out) of big kids in strollers.
"I understand the purpose and necessity of a stroller when you have a child, but I can't see the excuse when your kid is way too big to carry, and the stroller is way too small for that child anyway," she told Salon.com. "I get why strollers are around, I don't hate them, they're appropriate for babies and toddlers. I just think it's funny when kids who are way too big for them are in them."
Funny at first? Sure. But on second thought, Too Big For Stroller epitomizes something really annoying about modern parenting: the constant judgment you get from strangers -- childless strangers, no less! -- about every little parenting choice.
The photos on Miller's blog tend to crop out the faces of the parents pushing these strollers. But I have an idea what they might look like. Maybe it's the mom who spent all day chasing three kids around an amusement park and just wants to get back to the dang car without stopping every five steps. The dad who stands firm on bedtimes, gets kids to eat their veggies, reads to them daily -- but has decided that giving the big girl a ride in the stroller just isn't worth fighting about, even if it means getting dirty looks on the sidewalk.
"I'm not really judging you, or your situation," Miller backpedals on her blog, in response to criticism. Sorry, but no. When you post pictures of other people's children on the internet, with snarky captions, under the heading "Too Big For Stroller," it is safe to say that you are judging.
The truth is, we can't know what kind of challenges parents face throughout the day from just one snapshot. And it's fun to laugh at these photos, to enjoy that little frisson of superiority and think, "I would never ... my child would never." It's easy to see the big kid in the stroller as yet another symptom of an overly protective, coddling parent culture. And maybe it is. But maybe it's just a tired kid and a tired parent at the end of a long day. Maybe one day it'll be me pushing that stroller, or you.
What do you think? Are you tired of seeing big kids in strollers -- or tired of being mommy-judged?