Confessions of a Stroller Addict

Seeking strong, durable, and flexible partner

By: Monica Sakala

Almost six years and four international partners later, I’m still seeking my perfect match. Each exotic and foreign mate has been cast aside, kicked to the curb, collecting dust in my house. Is it me? Or is it them?

Let’s face it, I am a stroller whore. I own four. And yet that’s not enough. With my wandering eye, I stare down other people’s strollers on the street, I study them, and I covet them. “Would they want to trade?” I wonder as I’m willing to kick my stroller to the curb on a whim. Like old boyfriends, each of my strollers serves a specific purpose but not one is the perfect match. Is it really ever me? Isn’t it always them?


The Reliable, Loyal Boyfriend
I have a bulky and heavy red Peg Perego, complete with a bassinet that folds perfectly flat and is wonderful for a fussy newborn. Initially this stroller gave me hours of peace. Propping my first-born on her side in the stroller was the only way she would settle into a nap in those early months. We mind-numbingly walked the streets of my neighborhood for hours. As I sleepwalked through life, this stroller was a constant for me. But as the baby grew and I gained the confidence to travel beyond walking distance from home with her, the stroller became too cumbersome to travel with; he got cast aside. My needs were changing and, well, he couldn’t adapt. Ciao, Italian. 

 
The Thin, Nimble Metrosexual
Next came the British Maclaren umbrella stroller; the metrosexual of strollers. This one was ideal for my sturdier baby and perfect for chic on-the-go urban escapades or quick maneuvering through bustling airports. Naively thinking it would be my final stroller, I kept waiting for my child to cross that threshold into a walking kid, but almost six years in, she’s still riding. Ultimately, the metrosexual stroller expired in its usefulness because I was having my second baby and he came prepared only to travel with one. Cheerio, Union Jack.

 
The Attractive—but Unreliable—Boyfriend
With the arrival of our second child and the unreliable nature of my eldest’s walking, clearly I needed a double stroller. “Who doesn’t need three strollers?” I reasoned. My frugal and practical husband had a different perspective.

Like a lion stalking its prey, I patiently waited through the first few winter months with my newborn, using only my original two strollers. I waited until she was sturdy enough to sit up to pounce on the double-stroller idea. I knew the real victim here was our bank account, not my strewn-aside, dust-collecting old strollers. I wasn’t stalking just any prey. I didn’t want the bulky, hard-to-fold, double-wide strollers. My needs were now more sophisticated, discerning, and specific with the growth of my family. I needed something agile, compact, and adaptable to fit my hectic life. With two kids, I suddenly didn’t have time for luxurious strolls in the streets. Older children have to go places: school, ballet class, playdates, and birthday parties. Along with functionality, of course, I needed style. With the first early warm spring day came my opportunity to pounce, posed as an innocent question: “Precisely how are we going to walk them both in the park?” Despite months of stalking other moms walking double strollers, sizing up their choices, and weighing them against my needs, that warm day was the first time the idea truly occurred to my husband.

Off we went to Buy Buy Baby; the entire time I knew I was going to come home with the Peg Perego double stroller. I was going back to my first Italian love.

Anyone could have read my husband’s mind in the store as he painfully added up the collective price of our three strollers. And in that moment, our eyes locked and we both knew this wasn’t the end. There would be more. I always had a reason. I always found a flaw. Like a true addict, however, I delivered a convincing soliloquy on how this was my last stroller. My seemingly insatiable thirst was quenched; my wandering eye was retired; no more children, no more strollers, I said. We were done. In my lust for a sleeker double stroller, what I failed to anticipate was the ever-growing weight of my two children. Eventually their collective mass would bear down on the small, nimble wheels of the lightweight Peg Perego. It would ultimately render my latest love useless on long walks. It was like pushing an elephant up a sand dune. Arrividerci once again, Italian lover.

 
The Meathead Boyfriend
So I caved. I had to get a bulkier, bigger-wheeled double stroller. I justified it by making it my first purchase off Craigslist. Staying true to my commitment of avoiding the double-wide, I went for the native to Australia: the Valco baby single with toddler attachment. It brought the size of a single with the functionality of a double. With Crocodile Dundee at the helm, I was paying for his strength and his off-roading wheel durability to ease the weight of my girls as I pushed them effortlessly through the streets. But like all the others, the meathead still isn’t perfect: He’s smart enough to carry them easily but dumb enough to always get his wheels twisted up and turn in only one direction. G’day mate.

Perhaps it’s trying to transport two children peacefully and without drama that is the crux of my problem now, more than the stroller. Maybe it’s about them, not me, or him.

Sadly, my quest for the perfect stroller mate is still unrealized. So now I cruise around with a red wagon, a good old American classic.

Is it a conspiracy among stroller manufacturers to keep us purchasing? Have they really not figured out the perfect, most amazing stroller? How many strollers do you own?

Subscribe to Washingtonian
Follow Washingtonian on Twitter