Friday, September 21, 2007

The Stork Spot


Have you seen the new crop of parking spaces popping up in commercial parking lots across America? It's the Stork Spot - premium parking spaces for pregnant women and women with small children that are right up front next to the handicapped parking spots.

When I first saw these, I did a double-take. I had no idea pregnant women and women with small children were disabled and required special parking - I thought they were just burdened and inconvenienced by their own lifestyle choice. After all, if they were truly disabled, they could just apply for handicapped parking spots, right?

This got me thinking a little, and the more I thought about it, the more outraged I became. How is it fair that only one segment of the inconvenienced population is accommodated with premium parking? I have decided that if pregnant women and women with small children are considered so inconvenienced that they get coddled and catered to with premium parking, then it's only fair that other people who are inconvenienced also have premium parking spaces. Here are some of my ideas:

The Musclehead Parking Spot: Premium parking spots for fitness buffs who, despite their doctor's warnings against strength training every day, overdo it with 5 straight days of iron-pumping and are suffering with resulting muscle soreness.

The PMS Parking Spot: Who deserves premium parking more than crabby, cramping, bloated women whose tampons are leaking and who need to get to the restroom pronto?

The Ball-N-Chain Shopping Companion Parking Spot: Premium parking for women who insist on dragging their complaining ball-and-chain husbands shopping with them, even though their husbands hate shopping, protest, drag their feet and complain the whole time they are in the store.

The Multi-Cat Household Premium Parking Spot: If you have more than one cat, you know that pushing those 40-lb. boxes of cat litter around in the shopping cart is like competing in the Strong Man Competition. Regular parking spots in the back of the lot just will not do!

The Horny Teen Premium Parking Spot: For teens whose raging libidos require the most expedient access to the birth control aisle.

And while we're at it, I have been feeling particularly inconvenienced and burdened lately by our monthly mortgage and property tax payment. It's really putting a financial strain on us. Since we have no use for stork parking, I wonder if I could petition the generous commercial outlets that offer these parking spots to subsidize our mortgage payments instead? Being that they are so interested in easing the burdens of their customers' lifestyle choices, it seems only reasonable that they should offer us some kind of accommodation too.

In all seriousness, the Stork Spots are just not cool and when I come upon a stork spot, I zip right into it like Daisy Duke and I have no guilt whatsoever. You'll never catch me parking in a handicapped spot and I have the utmost compassion for people who are genuinely disabled. Pregnant women are NOT disabled, they are not handicapped, and if their pregnancies or small children are THAT difficult to manage that they cannot walk a few extra parking spaces, they should just stay at home with the kids and send hubby to the store, or apply for a handicapped parking permit like legitimate handicapped people. Furthermore, since stork spaces are not legal and cannot be enforced, what's the point? I'll tell you what the point is. These businesses know who butters their bread and it's FAMILIES - big SUV-driving, mass-consuming FAMILIES who spend $800 a month on groceries and $1,000 a month on plastic crap at Walmart. And those businesses just LOVE to look like the nice guys - sweet gentlemen providing parking spots for all the lovely, fragile, overburdened mommies.

Blech!

34 comments:

Me said...

I'm totally with ya.

MAGnificent said...

Hm, I don't know whether to be REALLY angry with this post or to chuckle at the fact that you would consider women who are pregnant or with small children an inconvenience to you. There are stork parking spots for a reason, and no - they are not at every store, so why complain? If you had a child, would you want to walk from the very end of the parking lot with an infant in sub-zero temperatures to go to Target to get diapers? Probably not. They are for pregnant women who are extremely pregnant, or women with small children - such as infants. It's rather hateful of you to claim that we have inconvenienced ourselves or anyone else by having children. Didn't your mother birth you? When she was 9 months pregnant, sore, tired, and ready to labor at any minute - I'm going to imagine that she would have liked to get a better parking spot too. The fact that you would park in one of them and allow a woman, such as myself, that is a high risk pregnant woman have to walk from the end of the lot, is extremely rude and shows that you really have no concern about anyone but yourself.

We don't care that you may not want to have children, but we do care that we have, or are having, children of our own and continuing the world's population.

Childfreeeee said...

Thanks for your comment, Magnificent. You clearly share the viewpoint of many people that pregnant women and women with children deserve special treatment.

I think the point is that pregnancy is not a handicap. Women choose to be pregnant. Handicapped people do not choose to be handicapped.

If a woman is late term, having a difficult pregnancy, or has children who are so unruly that she can not walk a few parking spots, then she shouldn't be driving or shopping to begin with. I have the utmost compassion for handicapped people, but I must respectfully disagree with you and maintain my position that pregnancy is not a handicap. It may be burdensome (for sure) but it's a burden that women take on by their own choice.

Melissa said...

I don't really think that the issue is whether pregnant women or women with small children should be considered disabled and therefore provided with premium parking spaces, it's about common courtesy. If something small like providing a parking spot makes their life a little easier, what's the harm? There is already too much anger and hate out there to be worried about something like this.

Childfreeeee said...

Melissa,

If we take that approach, then shouldn't all people who have some kind of uncomfortable situation be accommodated? There are days when I have menstrual cramps, back pain or other ailments that aren't enough to render me handicapped, but which make my life uncomfortable. Why should pregnant women and women with children be given special accommodations that no other classes of people get? That's the point.

It's not about hate. It's about fairness.

Sara said...

I respect your child free lifestyle, and I do my very best not to impose my choice to procreate onto you. I find your condescending attitude rather disturbing though. I did choose to become pregnant, and I am living with that choice every day. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate it when someone holds a door for me, or offers me a seat. I'd like to think that my lifestyle choices and goals are slightly more worthy of considerate behavior than your Horny Teen or Ball-n-Chain analogies.

You make some interesting assumptions about pregnant women and moms - that we all have husbands at home ready and waiting to run errands at the drop of a hat. That the reason a woman with a small child might need a closer spot is because said child is "unruly" and not because he or she isn't yet walking and carrying the baby in the car seat adds an extra 20-30 pounds to the trip. I don't make any assumptions about why you chose not to have children, or why you choose to push 40 pound bags of cat litter around the grocery store. How can you presume to understand every pregnant woman's or mother's situation?

I accept the fact that when I stop at WalMart on my way home from work this evening I will have to walk through 5 inches of snow either carrying or helping my well behaved 2 year old son, and toting my 9 month pregnant belly. I acknowledge that I will probably not get a very convenient parking space. I will quietly waddle my way through WalMart pushing that same carriage you push with your 80 pounds of cat litter and I will not complain. But, I will think of you, and of your mean-spirited approach to people who infringe on your proud lifestyle. And I will hope that during this Christmas season I don't meet anyone like you who will not only refuse to offer a kind word or gesture, but will go out of their way to make my life more difficult merely to prove their point.

CFVixen said...

I'm in complete agreement with your post. These signs just perpetuate the entitlement mentality. I have no doubt that pregnancy is uncomfortable. That's one of the many, many reasons I chose not to get myself in that condition. You know that going in.

Like Childfreee said, there are time where my menstrual cramps are over the top. I can barely make it off the couch one day a month. This is something that's happened over the last year. Do I expect stores and other establishments to cater to my inconvenience (even though, unlike pregnancy, I didn't choose to have periods)? Hell no.

Granted 9 months is a heck of a lot longer than a period. But this mentality of coddling a portion of the population who feel like they are doing a favor to the world for blessing us with their offspring? Get over yourself, people.

Childfreeeee said...

Exactly, CFVixen.

The point is, there are plenty of "conditions" people can be in that would make a premium parking spot desirable but because our culture is rampantly pronatalist, the only class of people who actually get special spots (aside from the handicapped who deserve them) are pregnant women and women with children. Our entire culture is completely (and unreasonably) oriented around children and families to the point of absurdity.

How about a special premium spot for the elderly? Or those who suffer with various illnesses such as chronic fatigue sydrome? Or how about people who are obsese and get winded when they walk? Do you think that you, as a pregnant woman or a mom, are more entitled than them to a premium spot?

Yes, it IS nice that you get those primo spots, but what makes you more entitled than other members of society?

Melinda said...

I don't understand why anyone cares so much about weather or not an establishment choses to cater to their pregnant customers. There is 15-30 minute parking everywhere and I don't see anyone complaining about that. The people who park there aren't handicapped. They are just offered a convenient spot because they are in a rush and that establishment still wants their business. Pregnancy is not a handicap but it is painful and it can discourage you from going out. While I was pregnant the parking situation did have an impact on the places I chose to shop. The stores that offered these spaces got my business. If there weren't good places to park at the places that didn't I wouldn't go to that store because I couldn't bare all of that walking. The fact is that pregnant people need to shop and if a store choses to give them a special space then it's really just so they can make more money.
Regardless of if you chose to have children or not I don't think it should be this big of an issue.

Ken said...

I am absolutely blown away by your holier-than-thou attitude. So you do not want children, that's fine. But why do you have to be so nasty to those who do.

I am also one who decided not to have children, but this world, our country is child and family oriented. That's just the way it is and that's a good thing. You might actually believe that when those kids you're so down on are wiping your ass when you're in your 90's and in a nursing home.

Sickened and disgusted by your reaction and attitude. This is coming from someone who is entitled to one of those handicapped spots. I have been handicapped my whole life and have no problems walking the distance when I don't hurt, but also have no trouble with Mommies getting a hand up when they can barely waddle in to get what they need.

Have some sense of decency or it might just come back and bite you on the ass.

JJ said...

So having gone back and read all these comments, anyone want to play Entitlement Bingo?

Childfreeeee said...

Ken,

Sorry to have sickened you. Honestly, that was never my intention.

I am fairly confirdent that when my ass is being wiped at the nursing home, it will be because I am paying for the service, not because I am entitled to it for yielding my parking space to entitled moms.

PlungerGirl said...

Wow...

How can these women (and Ken) actually believe they're right?

Gumby said...

Those spots annoy me too - like mommies are so much more important than other customers! I just figure if the spot's open I'll take it, especially if I just need to run in quick for a few things. If anyone would dare question me about it I'll just exclaim "I AM pregnant. I'm in my first trimester!" Yay! Look at me! Look at me! I'm pregnant! ;)
And I too have had the awesome experience of having to go to the store myself to get more tampons, pads or Pam.prin (yes, bad planning on my part, I admit) while suffering the most excruciating cramps imaginable (NOT my choice or under my control). One of those times I seriously almost passed out on the toilet at Ta.rget - on a special trip during the workday. Lovely. It sure would have been nice for people to reserve convenient and quick parking for me so I could get in and get my drugs ASAP! :)

Poofy_Puff said...

Gumby, I used to have those kinds of cramps, and when I finally had myself checked, they found that I had a wicked case of endometriosis. As an added bonus, I was able to have my tubes removed during the surgery to take out the endo! You should look into this.

Elliot said...

Thank God, I have finally found a website that I can vent about the bone headed things our society does to accommodate people who think that people with children deserve special treatment. I have so many gripes about these stupid parking spots. One question? Do these parking spots include men? If a man has his infant with him, does he get to park there too? Or is it strictly [gender bias] Like childfreedom says people choose to have children and are happy doing so, i understand that. So they should have to take the good with the bad. If you got kids or are pregnant. WALK. like everyone else. If I decide to buy Lamborghini does that mean that I should get to have a overpriced sports car parking spot because it would inconvenience me to park to far away and get it scratched. People make decisions and think that society should cater to them. these women wanted kids and then get rewarded for it at the expense of others WHY? I want a Lamborghini therefore i should get a special parking spot too!!!

Childfreeeee said...

Elliot,

Good points! I never considered the gender bias angle. Those spots are definitely geared toward women with the pink stork and all. I don't think they are geared toward men, babies or no babies.

Your Lamborghini analogy explains my argument exactly. EVERYONE would love a primo parking spot! We all have problems or have made lifestyle decisions that would render a parking spot in front an appreciated gesture. But it's only moms that get the benefit of it because our society unreasonably bows down to mothers, children and families.

Gumby said...

Poofy_Puff,
Thanks for the info. I have heard of that and actually a while back I found out that I had a septate uterus (which can cause severe cramps due to the physical abnormality) and had surgery to correct it. The cramps got better but would still be a little bothersome at times. I since have found out that painful periods are also a symptom of hypothyroidism (which I have a mild case) and some minor lifestyle changes (mostly in diet) along with meds to manage the hypothyroid also prevent the bad cramps. Crazy, huh?
Anyhoo... :)

theroot said...

You guys are just pi**ed off because you have some really large stick up your a** and will never have a child, thus reaping the benefits of said spots. I'm sorry when did this turn into some communistic country? Don't forget who owns those parking lots (not you), they can do whatever they want. I'd be more pissed off about them darn handycapped, its state law to have spots for them. We should all organize and take them down!!

Gumby said...

Why would anyone on a CHILD FREE blog/website be pissed about not having a child?? I fail to see the logic there.

I suppose one can't expect much from someone who trolls blogs of those with differing opinions to leave inflammatory comments and then hides behind their hidden profile.

Oh well...

eyp said...

Hi, I'm a now viewer, and think this blog is a godsend. I'm in my 30s and do not want kids but waver at times, simply because of societal and family pressures. What I don't get is, why are there angry moms posting on here? This whole blog, from what I can gather, is supposed to be a refuge and support network for those of us who don't want kids in a VERY kid- and parenthood-oriented society? We're not sabotaging onto mommy and baby blogs/websites and insulting you guys, because that would be very rude, as well? I don't agree with the Stork signs, either, but that doesn't make me condescending, selfish, rude, or disgusting, as most of the mommies on here seem to state. Parenthood is a choice, last I heard, and just because I do not choose that option and you do, does not entitle you to a prime parking spot. Get over yourselves.

Childfreeeee said...

Hi eyp

Welcome to the blog!

Fraulein N said...

I think those signs are HILARIOUS. They are also illegal, so I pay them no mind. If that's the closest spot I can find, then that's where I'll park. I wish somebody would question me about it.

Corrinne said...

Speaking of frivolous parking spots, I read awhile back that in I think Japan (?) They created parking spots painted pink in some places for women that wear high heels hahaha. I would be more supporting of that actually... Both are stupid but the stork spots just make parents feel even more entitled. The good news? I have never seen or heard of stork spots here in NH/VT yet.

Erin said...

I, too, snag one of those spots anytime they're open and I am completely CF! Damnit, I'm usually in a hurry (sometimes shopping late at night) or am annoyed at spending half my weekend doing chores and trying to save a few minutes. I'm certain I'm not the only one.

Interestingly, the high-end grocery store in my city recently removed those stork signs from their parking lot. I assume either customers complained about them or they were being utilized by non-stork customers.

My suggesions: "Reserved parking for a 30-something-guy-smart-enough-not-to-knock-up-a-chick" or "Reserved parking for "middle-aged-woman-having-a-really-bad-day parking", as in if you don't move your cart fast enough or if you're disoriented husband doesn't get out of my way I'm going to plow you over!

Shelby said...

CFVixen - It's not a sense of entitlement, where I live there are no stork spots except at the doctors office. I don't go around petitioning for stork spots because I think I or other pregnant women deserve them. If a business chooses to put them in then how is that a pregnant woman's sense of entitlement to choose to use it if it's there.

Childfreeeee, cfvixen and some other commenters seem to think that the special parking spots are only a good idea when they benefit you but how is a pms parking spot fair to guys or older women who have been through menopause. I won't be pregnant forever and when I'm not I'll be parking way out in b.f.e. again and I will let the women who are pregnant enjoy the benefits. The spots are just a little help while I am pregnant. Unlike a pms spot or any of the other "conditions" you mentioned, the stork parking only lasts 9 months. Where as you get 5 days out of every month for 40 years to park there, that adds up to alot longer than 9 months. On the days that my cramps are so bad, I don't go shopping. If you had a front row parking spot would that make you shop on that one day? Of course not, you would still lay in bed, because it's only 1 or 2 days. In the third trimester is when stork spots are really needed and for those weeks you have to go shopping, you have to buy things for the baby. There is no option to just lay in bed.

Parking in a spot that you know doesn't apply to you, whether it be handicap, stork parking or timed parking, is just as rude and inconsiderate. You are the kind of person that if I see you park in a spot that is not meant for you, your car gets keyed. Keep that in mind the next time you whip into a parking spot. By the way I have not used the stork spots at the doctors office because I can walk just fine in my third trimester and there are alot of other pregnant women who will need more than me. Common Courtesy

I also love how you only comment on the comments you like or can disagree with, anyone that makes a good point you don't comment on it.

Ashley said...

If I see you or anyone else keying a car iin any parking lot anywhere, I'd have security detain you and call the cops.

Keying cars is actually illegal, unlike parking in "stork" spots without being pregnant or with children.

You're not just rude, but criminal. Nice. Parenthood clearly made you a better person.

Temujin said...

I haven't seen anything like this where I live, but it's kind of fascinating to me.

Is there really any way to enforce the parking spot in any fair manner? I mean, couldn't ANY woman park there -- there's no pregnancy test required, right? (If there were, this could be a great program: free pregnancy tests.) But, if any woman could park there that sort of defeats the purpose, right? I'm assuming if a man has a kid with him he can park there as well.

If you think about it, this could actually be a positive thing, CFers. It makes spawn-burdened people seem out of the ordinary instead of mainstream. Another way to look at it: screaming, out-of-control kids spend less time in the parking lot obstructing traffic. Shorter distance, smaller annoyance range.

Anyway, I tend to think if it's private property the owner can designate whatever parking the owner wants. I can forbid people with kids from setting foot in my driveway, so by the same token I'm willing to accept other people doing the opposite.

Trish said...

Forgive me for being late to the party, but I must comment here. I HATE seeing those ridiculously entitled STORK spots. It's just another way that parents can get extra benefits they don't necessarily deserve, just for making the decision to be pregnant. And if you think about it, those signs also say "If you haven't spawned, you aren't valued here."

I've thought about using those spots and then claiming I'm pregnant. It doesn't say how pregnant you have to be. I'm glad that you wrote about this, because it's really something that appalls me.

I love eyp's point about the parents coming to this blog and commenting maliciously, as if you've come into their world and pushed your opinions on them, instead of the other way around. Not to mention their obvious flawed logic. I could argue with them for hours, but I'm too busy working a fulfilling full-time job and then relaxing in my quiet home afterward.

And lastly, thanks to Shelby for bringing all the class to this comment section.

Tessa said...

We actually don't have any stork parking spots where I'm from, at least not any that I've seen.

Hmm, well I'm childfree and I do think that pregnant women (at least heavily pregnant women, as in 3rd trimester pregnant) should be able to have special parking spaces. Yeah, they chose to get pregnant, but it's just common courtesy to help those who aren't in a position to help themselves. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, right? It wouldn't feel right to me to just not help someone right in front of me out who needed it, and I personally feel that includes offering them better parking. However, I don't think people with children should be entitled to better parking spots. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of!

raykay said...

Super late, but I totally agree.

I know it is a private business, but it is just another example of glorifying motherhood as the "only" womanhood.

I do not consider pregnant woman or or mothers an "inconvenience" to me, but why should a healthy, pregnant woman or mother (even if 9 months pregnant is uncomfortable, it is NOT disabled) get priority over, say, a woman who has just had an abortion and needs to fill her prescription and pick up some pads so she can go home and rest and recover? I imagine as the latter is "controversial" and the former is "joyous".

What about a cancer patient? I think of my mother who in her 40's had a double mastectomy, a lot of chemo and many weeks of radiation. She did not get a special "Cancer Spot" throughout her treatment.

I don't even WANT a closer parking spot. I like to park further away and walk, but I still question this practice. Why is it okay to show preference for pregnant woman and mothers over everyone else, when it certainly would NOT be okay to have a "White's Only Spot"?

I support handicapped parking spots...because to obtain a permit you need to be disabled. Pregnant women and mothers are not disabled. If they are, they can get a handicapped permit.

mzwunderkind said...

I find it so funny that all the parents commented on this article...angry much? If you do not like what is being said in her blog, do not read it...the internet is full of things that will suit your needs. People are taking the article too seriously.

cdhozac said...

I know I am really old to this topic, but I usually think of those huge pregnancy spots as a godsend, and I don't have children nor am I pregnant. I am tired of families with cars taking up two or three spots, they need one for the car, and one for each door that is wide open while the children and things are loaded. I don't like waiting for a woman to heard her several children on one side of the parking row so I can drive past, I don't like waiting for a pregnant woman to stand in the middle of the road and stare at the ground like she dropped a coin. I am more than happy to walk a little bit further if I don't have to constantly worry about some child trying to leap out at me from behind a massive SUV. I would be totally happy with a portion of the parking lot designated to families, where all the crazy is just over there with other crazy.

Keeper of secrets said...

You're right