I’ve often said how determined my little dude is… he will practise things for ages, or put on a protest for an equally long time until he gets what he wants. I think to a degree all toddlers are like that, they put huge effort into things in order to work them out.
Having said that, my lad’s determined streak seems to be very pronounced. I often wonder where he got that from and then it hit me, it was probably from me. I actually wasn’t a very determined or strong-willed child, quite the reverse, I was shy. But as I’ve gotten older and certainly since I’ve become a mum, my own capacity to be like a dog with a bone has grown exponentially. Especially when it comes to situations I feel are unjust. It flicks a switch in my brain and I just have to try and right it.
Take the Parent & Child car parking spaces issue. I was so exercised about that I began a petition that has almost 7,500 signatures (if you haven’t signed it and feel the same as me, then please do!) It’s something that I see happening daily and one day I just got sick and tired of the apathy and abuse and started to say NO MORE… But as I’m learning that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how mums and parents are often viewed in our society.
I came across an image on social media the other day. It was a picture of a sign outside a Londis Ireland store that read –
With regret, we advise
NO PRAMS OR BUGGIES
are allowed on the shop floor.
What the actual fuck?!
Is this a thing now? Is it legitimate to ban prams from corner shops and supermarkets? What’s next, we ban people in wheelchairs or why not ban kids all together?
It’s ludicrous that a sign like this can be put up.
Going shopping with your child is a pain in the arse at the best of times. Often they don’t want to be there, they’d rather be somewhere else. It can be hard to get in and out of doors, up and down steps not to mention people leaving doors to close on you instead of maybe holding it open for you. So a tired parent, grandparent, child miner, aunt, uncle, or whoever is out with the pram, who has gone out for a few essentials to the corner shop only to be met with a sign like this, is just plain shitty. There’s no other word for it.
Some people have come to the defence of the store in question, to say they’ve been targeted by shoplifters who have used prams and while I do sympathise and understand how difficult that is to tackle, banning all prams is not the answer.
If a cyclist breaks the traffic lights, we don’t ban all cyclists from the road!
It might seem like a small thing to some people and certainly when we’re living in a country with a huge housing crisis and patients laying on trolleys, I’m sure I’ll be told by some cohorts to stop wasting time on the small issues like this.
But if we don’t tackle an issue like this head on, what’s to stop the next shop in the next town from putting up a similar sign? And then the next shop will do the same and so and so on until it becomes the norm.
Well I’m saying NO.
No it’s not okay to ban prams from shops.
No it’s not okay to penalise people with prams.
No it’s not okay to exclude an entire section of society from your shop.
And what do ya know? The shop in question has since taken down the sign and while neither they nor Londis Ireland engaged with me, or any of the other mums who had shared and tagged the photo on social media, it seems the message was received.
Great news and I'm delighted they've seen sense.
And yet… the fact that a store would consider putting up a sign like that as a legitimate act in the first place, is worrying.
When did it become okay to start treating parents and children like this? The lesson here is, don’t stay silent. If you as a parent come across something hugely unjust and biased against parents, then call it out, make your voice heard otherwise, we run the risk of letting it become the norm and as we all know being a parent is hard enough, without having to put up with utter shit like this!