She who pushes the pram wins (mostly)

Strolling along on a summer’s day, my partner pushing the pram and the boys faintly cooing, didn’t seem like the moment for an awesome magic trick. But it was. For that was the first time when I became invisible.

We fight, my partner and I, over who gets to push the pram. Yes, my arms hurt after propelling several stone of baby and buggy up or down a hill, but that negative is outweighed by two significant positives. The first is the general feeling of satisfaction I get from helping my children towards their destination. The second is that most people assume the person pushing the pram is the mother, while invisibility descends over ‘the other’.

Grandmothers, cooing over the twins, only notice the person whose hands are on the handle. Strangers at bus stops only comment to the one in charge of the buggy. At best ‘the other’ will get a supportive smile, like she is such a good friend to help out a mother with twins. But if ‘the other’ deigns to speak in reply to a question about first words or furthest crawl, she will receive only a puzzled, slightly offended look. Who are you, person who merely stands beside the pram-pushing mother, to answer a question about her children?

I get it, I do. Most people assume that if two women are present then the father is elsewhere. Only one mother can be present, for the majority of people only have one mother. So I get it. But I don’t like it. Nor does my partner, and thus we fight over who gets to push the pram.

There is the odd occasion, though, when I am glad to be ‘the other’. One day as my partner wheeled the boys home from fun at the swimming pool, a passing mother, also wielding a pram, stopped to ask whether the boys were breastfed. This is, apparently, an acceptable topic of conversation amongst strangers, so long as they both have babies. Now, I was the one who carried the twins and so all questions about breastfeeding are properly for me. I answered. The result? My partner received a look of pure evil, for she was daring to push the babies of another woman. ‘The other’ in charge of the pram? Unthinkable.

1 thought on “She who pushes the pram wins (mostly)

  1. chicachicababies

    Ha ha ha ha…oh my. We get the same reaction. Total confusion when we both respond to questions or compliments on the twins. We get it far less in our new town (a lot more gay-friendly), but I think most people still assume we’re friends out for a fun day with the twins.

    Reply

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