Streetsblog.net

Having a Kid Doesn’t Mean Having a Car

11_6_08_baby.jpg
Bus Chick's "Chicklet" is happy to take public transit.

One of our favorite recent discoveries on the national transpo blogging scene is Carla Saulter, a third-generation Seattleite who documents her transit-going life in a blog called Bus Chick for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

A lot of people who do without cars before they become parents think that once they do have a kid, life without a vehicle is no longer possible. Not Carla, who recently wrote a post about what she's learned in her first year as a "bus parent." Here's some of what she has to say:

Planning is essential. The single biggest difference between being a bus parent and being a car parent is the amount of mental energy that's required to make it through the day efficiently, productively, and free of stress.

Comfort is key. As a childless bus chick, I advocated shoes that were comfortable and cute. Today, I say: Cute, schmute! When I'm traveling with Chicklet, it's all about comfort.

Crying is not an option. If you take a cranky baby on a car trip, you're the only one who has to endure the howling. Cranky babies on buses, on the other hand, share their howling with dozens of innocent bystanders. Because of this, I consider it my responsibility to keep Chicklet content and well-behaved for the duration of every ride.

On the plus side: Car free is gear free. (or, Who needs a baby travel system?)

Busing means bonding. Attachment parents--listen up: Unlike car moms, who have to strap their kids into car seats, I get to ride face to face with my chicklet. We read, talk, cuddle, make new friends, and watch the world together.

Bus moms are buff moms. A year after waddling to the hospital to deliver, I'm back at my pre-pregnancy weight (after gaining a wee bit--OK, a lot--more than my doctor recommended), and I haven't counted a single calorie or even considered visiting a gym. …Believe me, my life as a bus parent is exercise enough.

I've made plenty of adjustments this year, but then, what new parent doesn't make adjustments? The good news is, Chicklet has not been deprived of any advantage or experience that is available to the children of car-owning parents, yet she's been enriched and educated in many ways that car kids have not. I can honestly say that the benefits (to my family and to the planet) of my first year bus parenting far outweigh any challenges. Bring on the next 17!