Occasionally, I have to leave my neighborhood. Why? I'm not sure. There are at least 5 wine stores within 2 blocks of my apartment, so why would I ever need to go farther than that?
But sometimes when I simply must go beyond my 20-block limit, I spend hours, sometimes days, worrying about how I'm going to get there, becoming filled with stroller anxiety.
For a while, I could just stick Katherine in the baby carrier and clomp around the city wherever I wanted to go. Union Square? Chelsea? Upper West Side? No problem! I laughed in the face of the city's narrow aisles and heavy doors and steep stairs. Now Katherine has passed the 17-lb mark and the last time I carried her on the subway and around the city for four hours I almost passed out. The 14th Street freaks became even freakier when I started hallucinating by the Whole Foods. Plus with no car seat, you remove the option for the luxurious relief of a cab.
Segue to the cab option: cabs are expensive if you can even find one, pending weather and time of day. Moving on.
The stroller on the subway is economical, and the likelihood of passing out is low, so it is now the best option. Having done this several times now on my own, I have made two discoveries:
1. Manhattanites are content to watch you struggle up 3 flights of stairs with your heavy baby, diaper bag, car seat and stroller base and not offer to help you. While shuffling upstairs once carrying all these things, one helpful fellow told me I needed to be carrying even weight on both sides. Thanks, that's very helpful. Next time I'll bring a suitcase full of rocks - or just leave the baby behind! You are more likely to get help from the Brooklynites, but even that is no guarantee.
2. New York City is disgracefully, completely inaccessible to folks who need wheels, and I don't just mean the stroller set. Most subway stations don't have elevators and if they do, even the most meticulous minder of gaps will still get those wheels caught between the platform and the train, and get them out before the doors slam shut on you - although sometimes not.
So now I take the stroller and wear the baby carrier, and stick Katherine in the carrier to get up or down the steps while carrying the stroller and wearing the backpack. While visiting a childhood friend and her newborn in Brooklyn, we stood outside the stairs for the F train for at least 20 minutes while the two of us tried to readjust my carrier that had just been mangled by my stroller on the sidewalk. We laughed about the state of our lives - that this is what it now takes to walk down one goddamn flight of stairs. For me, I'll still take it over Mississippi.
My friend Anna lives in North Carolina and says she gets stroller anxiety just going into Target. I told her that sounded like a vacation.
Any other moms out there get stroller anxiety?