ONE O'CLOCK on a Thursday afternoon, I pull into the cool shade of the parking garage at . Moms from the Evergreen Hospital Parent-Baby Group, wearing Capri pants and sun dresses, unload strollers from a cluster of SUVs and sensible family sedans. I’m in the right place. I follow suit with my own stroller and unload Charlotte from the back seat. I’m glad no one is in a hurry because she’s got a diaper that seriously needs changing.
Just 45 minutes later than planned (impressive for seven moms and babies), we take off, seven strollers rolling through Peter Kirk Park toward . Apparently, we make quite a sight. More than one diner on Park Avenue calls out, “Stroller Brigade!”
What are we doing? It’s what I call a “Baby Walk and Talk.” Moms getting together, pushing strollers, carrying babies, talking and sipping coffee or, as is the plan in this case, eating gelato.
My husband, Trent, doesn’t entirely get it. The other night, hard at work on his laptop, he says to me, “I would trade places with you in a heartbeat.” I reflect on my day of changing diapers, nursing, singing 100 verses of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and soothing a crying baby down for a nap over, over and over. Feed, change, play, (rinse) and repeat. “I don’t think you really want to do what I do all day,” I reply. “What? Yoga and coffee with the girls?” he retorts.
Trent is kidding, of course, but when he asks what I’m doing on any given day, the answer is often: “Getting coffee and going for a walk with so and so.” I understand his joke because it sounds like just a leisurely afternoon. But a Baby Walk and Talk (I assure you) is more “support group” than “sorority party.”
We don’t usually show up seven strong. Most of the time, it’s just me and one of my “mom friends,” both of us with baby in tow. Pushing our strollers up Waverly Way, pleasantries are quickly dispensed with and we get down to “what’s really going on.” Like, how I’m still wearing maternity jeans when my baby is four months old; or the time I accidentally dropped a forkful of mac and cheese on her face while she was sleeping (Oops!). We talk about developmental milestones, hopes, fears, and yes, our husbands. Talking truth about the ups and downs of new motherhood, I get to hear those truly comforting words, “Me too” and “I know how you feel.”
On the day of the Stroller Brigade, conversation stays light. This is the first time most of us have gotten together outside the Parent-Baby Group. Still, there’s an instant camaraderie. We head two by two up Lake Street, sharing tips and triumphs, stopping frequently to pull a baby out of the stroller, adjust a sunshade or pop in a pacifier. No one minds that we don’t make good time.
On the way back, we stop at. I bounce Charlotte on my lap. Two scoops of peach gelato have completely negated any calories burned. It’s okay. I’m not here to log miles. I’m here to be with other moms, doing what we do, pushing our strollers, feed, change, play, repeat, together.
Laura Latta is a writer and stay-at-home mom living in Kirkland with her Husband and new baby girl. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.