Parking for Pregnant or Parents of Small Children

Jenni - posted on 08/06/2010 ( 36 moms have responded )

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So the convo about grocery store etiquette got me thinking about this: Who does this special parking spot apply to? I assumed it referred to parents with babies and toddlers. On many occasions i've seen parents using these parking spots with their youngest child being 6 or 7. One time i was with my SD-33 months, my DS-22 months and I was 9 months pregnant. These parking spots were filled which is to be expected because the parking lot was FULL. But as I'm walking the length of the parking lot with my 30lbs DS on my hip (or what was left of it by encompassing belly) and holding my SD's hand I pass this parking space. A woman is just getting out of her car with her 6ish and 8ish year old sons. I expected to see her pull out a carseat but there was none. She glanced over at me as I waddled, straining to carry my wideload past her. I shot her a dirty look. Wish I would have said something though like, "Nice day for a walk, isn't it?"
So who is this spot meant for? at what age should your children be before you leave it to the other moms??

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[deleted account]

Come on dont defend why you use a pregnant or mommy&baby parking space..if you fit the bill ladies and you want to use them..use them.I dont think its a big deal.I am an active mom and while on my second i got a car 3weeks before my baby was born and we used the spaces all the time..sucks trying to walk across a car park after having a section..so it suited me perfect.Anyway dont be defending why you use them..seriously its not a biggie.

Mary - posted on 08/07/2010

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Kati, it's not that I am against people extending small courtesies and kindnesses to others... but I disagree that pregnant women or mothers should EXPECT it. For the large majority of us, pregnancy is a normal, albeit altered state of HEALTH. As I said earlier, if there is something "off" in your pregnancy that prevents you from carrying out the normal activities of daily living without undue duress, it's not all that hard to have your OB fill out a few papers and obtain a temporary handicapped tag. My sister did it with her second pregnancy - for some asinine reason, her place of employment had some crappy parking that entailed walking over a quarter of a mile, uphill, to get to her office. She did have some complications that containdicated that much daily exertion. She had a desk job, so she didn't need to stop working, she just was forbidden by her OB to hike uphill that far on a daily basis. She got a temporary handicpped tag - problem solved.

Having these unregulated spaces invites the more lazy and uncaring to abuse them - as several of you have described in your posts. It also takes potential prime spots away from those who truly have a greater need. Many elderly people who are not considered handicapped, but for whom walking that longer distance is a much greater physical harship, not just an inconvienience. Sorry, but the 70 y/o asthmatic with arthritis, who is fighting like hell to maintain their dignity and independence is much more deserving of that small kindness than the able-bodied mother of a newborn. Funny thing is, that 70 year old is less likely to whine about it...they're just grateful that they CAN still shop independently, and dread the day when truly need to get a handicapped tag, or rely on another to shop for them.

As another poster pointed out, these stork spots are a relatively new, and not universal concept. Somehow, most of our mothers and grandmothers got by without them (as well as disposable diapers, dishwashers, microwaves, and a host of other convieniences we couldn't imagine surviving without today!). I just don't think we are doing ourselves, or our children, any favors by expecting those around us to cater to us because we chose to have children.

[deleted account]

I wasn't on horizontal bedrest. I was on bed and couch rest and other than to doctor's appointments and to my dad's (2-3 times) I only left my house maybe 4 times in 3 months... to keep my sanity. Not sure why I feel I have to defend my actions of a rare occurance 9 years ago though. Must just be my mood today.

Mary - posted on 08/07/2010

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Kathy, I'm with you! A normal, healthy pregnancy is NOT a disabilty, nor should it be treated like one. There are times (like in Teresa's case) when bedrest is ordered. Complications in pregnancy can cause a woman to be temporarily "disabled". In those circumstances, she is usually put on bedrest...in which case she should NOT be out driving around and shopping (even with assistance). In the event that bedrest is not necessary, but a woman is having issues (outside of the normal aches and pains of pregnancy) that drastically impact mobility, you can always have your OB fill out the papers for a temporary handicapped tag.

I personally never used those stork spots (it's only Babies R Us and Target near me that have them). I worked up until I delivered, and walked the dogs at least 2 miles/day up until the morning before she was born. The thought that my able-bodied, 38 y/o self needed a "special" spot was just about offensive. Even after she was born, it never seemed like such a big deal...I typically used the bjorn or ergo to shop, and on the rare even I was using the infant carrier, I wanted to park closer to the cart return kiosk, not a "special" spot near the entrance.

Honestly, my feelings are this - I choose to have a child, and all that it encompasses. It is not up to society to make things easier for me just because I am a mother...especially if those spots make it more difficult for any elderly or truly physically challenged person to find a more convienient spot.

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36 Comments

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Jenni - posted on 08/09/2010

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Toni brought up an interesting point... if it had been a disabled person or an elderly person i don't think i would have been bothered at all! Fact is it was a 30ish in shape woman with two older boys who didn't feel like walking from the back of the parking lot :)

Charlene - posted on 08/09/2010

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I use these spaces once in a while. I prefer the ones closer to the cart returns, but they are not as wide as these.
When I lived in Calgary, the Wal*mart by my house had two pink spots and two blue spots on either side of their returns. Which to me, is an excellent idea. Like some others have said, it has nothing to do with the spots being closer to the doors, I could care less about that, it's about them being wide enough to get carriers and small children out of the car without hitting another car.

It drives me nuts when people abuse these spots and it drives me even more nuts when people abuse the handicapped spots.

Sharon - posted on 08/09/2010

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lmao louise - empathy belly + middle aged men = beer gut!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Louise - posted on 08/09/2010

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Don't get me started on this one! I have also had trouble with this. Parking in England is a nightmare. There are four times more spaces for disabled parking than for mum and tots. I would love to put every middle aged man in an empathy belly and then let them park in a narrow parking space and try and open the car door to get a baby seat out of the car. No chance! I have seen men and women drive the wrong way in a car park to get a wider mums and tots space and get out the care with no children at all. I was 6 weeks post c section and carrying an 11lb baby plus car seat up the car park because some lazy assed business man has taken the space to nip in and get a sandwich. People that park so close to you that you could not open the door to put the baby in the chair drive me crazy.If i could smack there car with my door and not do any damage to my car I would it makes my blood boil. I mean surely there are the same amount of disabled people as there are pregnant mums infact I think there are possibly more women having small children then there are severly disabled people in the area so why is it there are about 10 parking spaces for mums and about 25 for the disabled. It's not right. I think if your child is old enough to put on a seat belt and sit safely in the car then you do not need that space. The poor mums who try and squeeze into this tiny spaces without hitting the car shoe horned in next to them need a meddle. ENGLAND sort yourself out we need more spaces!!!!!

Caitlin - posted on 08/08/2010

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I like them because they are wider.. Trying to carry the 5 month old in her infant carrier and keep hold of my 20 month olds hand is hard.. That being said, when i'm using the infant carrier (a wonderful invention, but weighs a bloody ton), I usually park right next to the carts, no matter how far away they are, becasue I toss the baby carrier in the shopping cart and the 20 month old in the seat portion of the cart and i'm off. If i'm using the stroller, it doesn't really matter anyways, because the infant carrier stays clipped in and the baby comes out to get strapped into the jogging stroller.

I don't so much have a problem with the space, we have a mini van and I LOVE those sliding doors although at times i've had to manouver in an odd way with the infant carrier to get it out. I also have no problem bumping into a car with myself of the carrier if ther person parks outside their lines in the spot or so insanely close or crooked there is no other way. I don't think i've ever scratched or dented anyone and never done it on purpose, but if I feel I'm not leaving enough space for people when I pull into a space, I move, I don't ram my car in just anywhere just because it's a space.

I love our mall with the toys r us, because they have like 12 spots for expecting moms or families with strollers, but I do glare at people on occasion because they pull in and have no kids. Just because you have grey hair doesn't make you entitiled.. it's marked for parents with kids, not old people.. I have less of a problem if they have a walker or cane or they look unsteady, but some of those old people are more fit than me! (then they open their trunks and take out those EVIL motoscooter thingies and zoom into the mall with a huge sense of entitlement and no regard for anyones safety.. I'm diverging, sorry..

Tah - posted on 08/08/2010

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to be honesti only see these parking spots at baby stores...if you go to walmart, home depot etc here where i live, it doesn't matter if your octomom...your walking, so you better run get a cart...or 2 from the cart return next to or across from your car, and start loading those kids and the one in your belly up cause around here, they dont care...and when i was 10 months pregnant walking on elephant feet, what i wouldn't have given for a closer spot...

[deleted account]

I couldn't care less how close the baby parking is to the store it's not the proximity to the store I use them for it's because they are wider and allow me access to my son in the car (without me having to rest my door on someone elses car as they've parked too bloody close to me OR having to try and put my baby carrier in via the opposite door to his ISOfix base because some numpty has parked too close). I didn't use them while pregnant though I didn't consider it even though I had sciatica and PSD which made walking difficult and painful. I think that when children are about 4 years old you should not park in them.



Mary I don't think we expect them but why should we not use them just because our parents did not have them - they make our life that little bit easier - oh and btw disabled people regularly use them when the disabled spots are taken (and so do the elderly) which I have no problems with because they need them as well!



When there are no spots available I park far away so I can open my doors properly. I did have an incident when I was pregnant where some dubass parked so close to my drivers door that I could not open it to get in - I had to stand around in the grocery store car park for over half an hour (the store did not have a cafe) as this idiot had gone to town. When he got back he was SO rude to me before I even said anything! I was SO angry which is why I now park as far away as possible when parent spaces are not available.

Charlie - posted on 08/08/2010

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We have a giant blue pram painted our allocated spots , i love them not only for pregnant women who can have difficulty walking at the end of pregnancy but it reduces the safety risk for mothers who have to wrangle a newborn , a weeks worth of shopping and a toddler across large carparks , if your not visibly pregnant or using a pram then its not for you .

Sarah - posted on 08/08/2010

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This reminded me of something that happened ages ago. We were looking for a parent and child space because we had Cadence with us and Shia was teeny baby. Some bloke cut in front of us and got out of the car with NO kids. So me being a grumpy mood, shouted "Where's your kids then?!?" He turned around and said "He's in the shop with my wife if you must know!" God I nearly died of embarrassment!!! So I keep my mouth shut these days!

Slightly different thing, but I did used to use the baby change toilets when I was pregnant if there was a big queue for the normal toilets! I did feel quite guilty about it though! :)

Rosie - posted on 08/07/2010

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i agree that you shouldn't expect them to always be available, or get bent out of shape, definitely. i just don't get what's so bad about helping someone out a bit?
pregnancy in itself makes your blood supply increase by 50 %, you body has to work that much harder than when you aren't pregnant, not to mention, the weight and other issues i mentioned. i just don't see how anybody can think that being pregnant is the same as not being pregnant. you are most definitely working harder. how can you not that take that into account that when a woman is pregnant it IS harder. impossible, no. harder, yes. what's the harm in having a freaking parking spot when you are definitely different than a normal non pregnant person?
:)

Lindsay - posted on 08/07/2010

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I tend to agree with Mary on this subject. Where I live, we don't have these spots. We have handicap spaces and the rest of the lot is a free for all. Sometimes you get lucky and find a close spot and sometimes you park in the back. It's the luck of the draw and I have no problem with that. Being pregnant and having children in itself is not a disability and shouldn't be treat as such. For most pregnancies, I was under the assumption that it's encouraged to walk as much as possible. Yes, I understand that not all pregnancies are normal, healthy, or complication free but if you fall in that category, you can have a doctor get you a temporary handicap pass. I'm sure these spots are nice to have when available but they are there as a courtesy. They are not mandated by any laws. In most stores I'm in, I see far more pregnant and women with young children than they could possibly make enough spots for. Yes, it's a plus and can be handy to get one, but you can't possibly expect them to always be available. And I don't think it's something worth getting bent over.

[deleted account]

The ones in my area state that they are for expectant mothers and parents of young children. I can count on one hand how many times I've used these spots. I'd rather park farther down in the lot where there are less cars and more room.

One time my hubby was out shopping with my son while I was at work and he used one of those spots. Our son was about 18 months and in a stroller. My hubby is a big guy and as he loaded things into the car he blocked the view of our son sitting in the stroller. Some woman starts reading him the riot act about him using the spot, something along the lines of 'how dare he use the spot when he doesn't have a child'. My hubby steps aside so she can see our son and says "What's he, a garden gnome?" It shut her up but she never apologized.

Rosie - posted on 08/07/2010

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i don't feel that a woman with a 6 year old needs them, but how do you know she's not pregnant? i had major hip issues that started earlier and earlier with each pregnancy. i'm with sharon on this though-she probably wasn't, but how do you know?
as for the need for the spot in the first place, we;ve argued about this before mary, lol!! i don't see what's so wrong with helping a person out who is in pain. it's a small nice gesture-not a sign that women are doomed to forever be cast as helpless.
i really don't understand how helping out someone who is carrying a child, and in my case 70 extra pounds, plus SPD, and sciatica. i think it speaks to the strength of women that we can have all that going on and still be able to go gather supplies for our families, cause sometimes it needs to be done.

Krista - posted on 08/07/2010

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The ones here state that they are for pregnant women or women with babies younger than 6 months old. Personally, I liked them not because of the closeness to the store, but because they were WIDER. I have no problem walking, but when you are trying to take an infant carrier out of the backseat, or if you are trying to get your giganto 9-month baby belly out of the car, you have to open your door the entire way -- there's really no way around that. And in some parking lots, the regular spaces are so absurdly narrow that you are unable to do so. Even if you park in a spot with no other cars next to you, who's to say that those spaces will still be empty when you return? So yes, I think the pink spaces are fantastic, solely due to their width.

Jenni - posted on 08/07/2010

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Well believe me... being pregnant alone did not prevent me from walking long distances. In my 9th month i was taking 8-10k hikes in the woods. lol! But attempting to carry a 30lbs child who's sliding out of your arms while using your other hand to hold ur other small child's hand, while ur 9 months is a little more difficult. Not saying I couldn't do it cause i did! On many occasions. As have other mom's past and present. It's just the odasty of some people who in no way need the spot to use it. Do *I* park in the handicapped parking spot? NO! (Not just cuz i'd get a ticket either, i wouldn't do it regardless b/c there are people who need those spots).
It was just this particular case where i really could have used when of those spots. With SD, DS and being 9 months pregnant.
btw i want to point out those spots don't exist everywhere, usually at places with large, always full parkinglots. And they are *after* the handicapped spots and there are far less of them. Even if I weren't a mother I would see no problem with a few close spots reserved for expectant women and those with small children. Not because the absolutely NEED them but because it is more difficult for them than say; as one person mentioned: childless 30 somethings.
And yes... i could live with out them... :)

Jenny - posted on 08/07/2010

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I usually park as far away as possible for the extra excercise and did when fully pregnant too. I don't think the spots are really neccessary but if you want to use them then have at 'er.

[deleted account]

There for pregnant woman who have a hard time walking long distance and on my second i was one of those who had spd a very sore condition were the pelvis is very painful..i walked for 9mth on my first without a prob so i wouldn't of use them parking spaces.There also for parents with babies to toddlers which is to 3-4 at most i feel.Also there great because there's extra space between cars so even if a driver badly parks it wont stop you from being able to get the kids into the car.

Kathy - posted on 08/06/2010

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i'm an old-timer and had kids when the new mommy parking spots didn't exist. when i was prego i was as big as a barn and walked from whatever spot i found. get over it. you're not disabled, you're pregnant or you have little kids. leave the spots close to the door to those truly disabled. the walk will do you good. geez, people have to be so pampered now-a-days. no wonder no one can do anything for themselves.

Joanna - posted on 08/06/2010

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The only time I've ever used one of those spots was when I had my daughter who was about 1 at the time, and my VERY pregnant friend with me. Otherwise I've had no problem walking. And if I am alone without my daughter, I always take spots far away and leave the closer ones open, just to be nice (even though I usually see 30-something-year-old singles speeding up to take the close spots). Now that my SPD pelvic pain is really getting bad though, I might have to consider using them if I need to. I usually don't have problems finding spots that are close enough though. If I'm in that much pain I usually just stay home anyways, but I'm sure soon enough it'll be constant and I'll need to get out.

Becky - posted on 08/06/2010

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I think that once your children are walking on their own and no longer in a stroller, you shouldn't use them anymore. When I was pregnant, I definitely tried to use them, especially in the winter when the parking lots were icy. Even when they weren't though, with my second pregnancy, I had horrid pelvic pain that made it hard for me to walk that far. If I was with dh and we couldn't get a spot close to the store, he'd often end up dropping me off at the door. Plus, I had a 1 year old to tote too.
Now, the only reason I prefer them is because they're generally a little wider, so you don't have some a-hole parking 6 inches from the door you have to try to squeeze your child into his carseat through! I don't stress about it if they're not available though.

[deleted account]

Ours all say "Reserved for Pregnant Women and NEW Mothers" I consider a "new" mother someone who has been a mother for less than a year or is still having to tote around an infant carrier. After all, if I were working, after one year, I would no longer be a "new" employee....
What counts as pregnant is pretty obvious, any pregnant woman should be able to use the spot regardless of the age of her other kids.
That said, I don't care about parking in the spot. For me, the hardest part is getting out of the car, once we're out, all we have to do is walk, and we'll be walking through the store anyway, so what should I care about a few extra yards in the parking lot?

Meghan - posted on 08/06/2010

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This is one of my biggest pet peeves ever! LOL, my mom has tried to park in them a few times when we dont have my son with us.."oh, the kids have to be with us?"
Anyway, if I have a huge shop to do or I am in a rush I will park in them. But if it's just a normal trip to the store and we have all the time in the world, we park elsewhere and leave it for people who who may need it more than I do (very pregnant woman, woman with multiple young ones, or even just with newborns etc)

Tawny - posted on 08/06/2010

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There are a couple of places where I live that have parking spots for expecting mother/ mother with small children. But were talking like only one parking spot which is irritating. Im pregnant and have a 3 year old and it would be nice to have a few more spaces. But if I wasnt pregnant I would not park in them because I need the exercise.

[deleted account]

Oh and as for unseen 'disabilities'... when I was pregnant w/ the girls I used to get all kinds of looks while my now ex was pushing me around the stores in one of their wheelchairs. Used to drive me nuts cuz I was on bedrest and the only places I was allowed to go were places w/ wheelchairs. I HAD to get out of the house every once in a while. I sure didn't like being 'made' to feel like a 'freak' though. Especially w/ all those insane hormones.

Jessica - posted on 08/06/2010

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I don't know, I think people tend to get too worked up about who those spots should be for. At the grocery store or anything with a cart I find it easier to park next to a cart return anyway. But I have used it at the mall when I happen to drive by one and its open. DS is still 13 months and yeah I'm only 15 weeks pregnant, but still pregnant!. With multiple small children I think its justified too, pregnant or not. With a 6 or 8 year old I wouldn't though; they are old enough to walk by themselves and help if needed.

Isobel - posted on 08/06/2010

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I think the baby carriage that is painted on the spot makes it pretty clear who it's for...I extend it to VERY pregnant women, but think it's rude for parents of older children to monopolize those spots.

Sharon - posted on 08/06/2010

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What if she had an artificial leg? Or just a bad back?

I know my own disabilities don't show at all, so I'm a little sensitive to this. You can't tell but most of the time I'm in agony. At other times - I'm in such gripping pain I can't move. I just freeze and pretend to peruse the shelf in front of me until the wave passes. The faster I can get my errands done, the better. The pain never really goes away but at least I can get home and be in pain in a comfortable place.

However - I'm still a super cynical bitch and I'm willing to bet that she was just inconsiderate.

That said - I still park at the back of the lot - 1. I need the exercise, 2. I need to protect my baby ( my truck )

And I do wish you'd been able to snap something off too.

Tara - posted on 08/06/2010

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My hubby and I had this convo yesterday at home depot. When I was pregnant with Riley last year this time, he was always good at finding me the "baby spot" as he called it. We usually had at least two of the other kids with us, youngest being 4. But I was HUGE!!
Now that Riley is here and I sling him most of the time, I don't really care if we get the spot or not. I can walk, he can be carried, neither of us suffer for it.
If I were a mom who lugged an infant car seat in and out of the van, into the store etc. I would use it. But I can safely hold my bags in one hand, my 5 year olds hand in the other and carry the babe in the sling.
It's for women who are pregnant, visibly so... too not, like 8 weeks pregnant and has to pee so bad she takes the spot cause technically she can kind of pregnant either.
Or for women with small kids, under the age of 4.
:)Tara

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