Thursday, December 18, 2008

Invasion of the Parking Spot Snatchers (and the return of Daisy Duke)

Yesterday, for the first time, my blog was invaded by a storm of angry moms. It was like a swarm of locusts rolled in. You probably missed the excitement because they invaded a very old post of mine - The Stork Spot. Go ahead, read the post and the comments. I'll wait.

When readers post a comment on my blog, I receive an e-mail notifying me of the comment so I can read it and either approve or disapprove it (it's a very rare comment that I don't approve). So when a notification came that there was a comment on The Stork Spot I thought hm, that's interesting. That's a pretty old post. And then a second comment arrived, and a third, and a fourth. It occured to me that these moms must be coming from somewhere. I mean, as proud as I am of this blog, I would be a fool to think that it's going to attract a gigantic audience of moms.

And then I remembered -I have SiteMeter! I can track the referring source of my visitors. So I did. And suprise of all surprises, they were coming from a parenthood blog/website called ParentCenter.

Apparently, a blogger/mom on ParentCenter is upset with Target because she was not properly accommodated with a primo parking spot and had to schlep from the back of the lot like the rest of us lowly, non-maternal citizens. So she started poking around the internet to find information on Stork Parking and shock of all shocks - she discovered that not everybody thinks pregnant women and women with children are entitled to special parking spots. In fact, she discovered that there is actually an anti-Stork Parking "movement" and cited my Stork Spot post as articulating its sentiments the most clearly. (I didn't realize I was part of a movement, but okay, I'm in).

Anyway, I find the comments very revealing because they shed light on exactly the rampant pronatalist attitudes that are the focus of this blog - the unblinking attitude among most people that of course moms should get special privileges. Why? Because they are moms, you moron! Bow down! They work hard. They are uncomfortable. They brought us into the world. We owe them. Humanity would not exist without them. Coddle them! They are entitled.

A mom is uncomfortable. Get her seat. A mom is shopping. Give her your cart. A mom needs to park. Give her a spot right up front. A mom needs to leave work early to take care of her kids - stay late and pick up her slack. A mother is coming. Roll down the red carpet. Just read the comments on the ParentCenter site. They are all in favor of the Stork Spot. Can you imagine!? Moms in favor of moms getting special parking spots. Yeah, I guess if primo Childfree parking spots suddenly started appearing in shopping centers across the nation, I'd be in favor of them too.

Of course, the moms reading my Stork Spot post think I am a big meanie and are horrified at my "hatefulness". What they cannot understand is that what motivates me is not hate. It's disgust with the unfairness and imbalance that exists in our pronatalist child/family/mom-centered culture where a woman makes one decision (i.e to breed) and suddenly she is catered to like Queen Elizabeth. Stork Parking is just the tip of the iceberg. Don't get me started on all the other stuff - tax breaks, family-friendly this, family-friendly that, special accommodations in the workplace, and on and on. And the entitlement. Good God. That's what gets me the most.

I know I am not towing the American line by refusing to bow down to the sacred cow. I know moms brought us into the world, but you know what? Our world is in pretty bad shape precisely because too many moms brought too many of us into the world. Maybe it's time they stop assuming that they are all doing us a favor each time they pop another one out.

It thrills me that my little blog has shaken things up a bit. We need some shaking up! Roughly 40% of American women do not have children and a good percentage of those are childfree by choice. Despite the message that is beaten into our heads to the contrary, "woman" is no longer synonymous with "mother". We are not a minority whose needs and feelings should be ignored and invalidated and I am proud to be among the many brave souls whose voices are finally starting to be heard.

(P.S. to Angry Moms - I'm still zipping into those Stork Spots like Daisy Duke. Betcha can't catch me! "Yeeeee haw!")


Julia said...

You go girl! I park in stork spots after dark because while the supermarket in the UK would probably try to fine me in the daytime I would dare them to try and make a young single woman park five minutes' walk from the store entrance in a dimly lit car park late at night... And anyway, those kids should be in bed!!

Keep getting angry for us. :)

Mia said...

I could not agree more with you! Thanks for speaking up for us non-breeders!


CFVixen said...

EXCELLENT POST! And I agree with you entirely. Pregnancy is not a handicap. Like it or not, it's a choice. I'm not even talking pro-life / pro-choice. I'm talking EFFECTIVE, DISCIPLINED BIRTH CONTROL. If you want to have children, that's cool. Just don't think everyone is going to want to bow down to you because of it.

StayTheCurse said...

I just wanted to point out that the angry responses to the "Childfreedom" blog post regarding "stork spots" missed an important point: In a society that is supposed to be a democracy, people who make personal lifestyle choices and then ask others to grant special privileges for those choices are being selfish, a term ironically and misguidedly levelled at those who choose to be child free.
First, 'stork spots' are not an act of nobility by merchants, they're a marketing scheme. Stores exist to separate you from your money, and new moms spend a lot. So to grant special parking leaves a good impression of that store or mall, without seeming to the majority to be unfair to others, since our society is rampantly pro-natalist. If the stores really had compassion, they would save the best spaces for the elderly, combat veterans, or the poor schlubs who work 12 hour shifts on their feet there during the holidays for minimum wage, so they wouldn't have to walk all the way to their cars at 11:00 pm in the only shoes they can afford - the ones without proper arch support!

And if 'stork spots' ARE about fairness, let's take it all the way - how about 'poverty stork spots'? It's common knowlege that the poor have a disadvantage in raising children, due to opportunity and education disparities. So, as your income gets higher, shouldn't you have to park farther away? You well-off conservative moms are no doubt sneering at this 'socialism', but in your belief that motherhood is universally noble, can you honestly say that you or your husband have NEVER complained about families who take advantage of social assistance by having more babies?

Yes, motherhood IS one is denying that - after all, we all had moms, and wouldn't exist without them! A careful read of the original Childfreedom post would reveal the facetious humor therein. But to claim that moms deserve premium parking because they provide the 'service' of repopulating society is to also say that every child born into the world will also provide 'service' to society, and not be a burden to it. At least 10% of all children born in the US, and over 20% worldwide, are the product of parents who cannot possibly provide financial or emotional support to them. This strains taxes, welfare, and charities, and eventually contributes to everything from crime and food shortages to territorial conflicts and global warming. So I submit that each new mom be evaluated by a social worker for eligibility for a 'non-selfish' pass - If they can prove that they had kids for their own reasons alone, without any influence from society, religion, peers, or family.. or because they didn't want to bother with birth control..then THOSE mothers alone should receive premium THAT'S a noble policy!!

Me said...

I agree 100%. Simply being in possession of fruitful loins should not entitle one to special privileges.

pamelli said...

I agree with you completely.
In fact , at this day and age, it should be us, the childfree, who should be considered as doing the Planet a favor - NOT the breeders!

PlungerGirl said...

I love you. Will you and your commenters marry me?

And have my baby?


Ken said...

Sorry, I was not sent to your blog from that other site, nor am I a mommy as you claim.

I was sent to your blog (though I did hit that other site) by a friend of mine who is newly pregnant and is doing huge amounts of research about anything to do with pregnancy, birth, parenting and people out there who will cause her grief for her decision to be a mother. OMG, she's an unwed mother - what type of frenzy will that send you into?

So I did not find you through that article, though I did read that article. I also am not a mommy. I think you need to get your facts straight before you start throwing out claims about everyone posting on your stork post.

Not only am I not a mommy, I will not be a mommy by my own decision. I decided to not have children but I did not make it my life long vendetta to belittle and debauch every mother out there. I do not feel the need to chastize every woman who makes a decision different from my own.

Unknown said...

Ken, please stfu. We don't care about your mommy friend. I even have a hard time believing you're not a mommy since you're so adamant about speaking out on behalf of "them".
Anyway, I don't get why you're getting your panties in a wad because this is a Childfreedom blog. This is one of the few refuges we have from the breederific, mommy-centric world. What is so wrong with venting? I happen to agree with the stork post 100%; I even go so far as to (*gasp*) park in those spots because I think the concept is nonsense. So, sue me.

Unknown said...

I loved the stork spot post, when i read it I fell over laughing in my chair (in the middle of the library) when Childfreeee said she zips into the spots like daisy duke. I completely agree, those spots are complete nonsense and promote pro-natalism and family-friendliness. Good for the "stork spot" post for shaking things up, because those parking spots are just the beginning of the entitlements these moms think they have.

eyemandy said...

Oh my! I stumbled upon this site and it has made my night! I can't read the comments on your other post because I don't feel like getting riled up; I just wanted to say that you need to keep on bloggin'. The world needs more of you (us) around to balance it out. It IS about balance, after all, hence the unfairness of Stork Parking to begin with. I've never even heard of Stork Parking before now.

Moms are certainly entitled, aren't they? It's a nice thing to do to offer anyone a seat or whatever if they are in an obvious state of discomfort (and you're not), but to feel entitled to such generosity - it's absurd!

Childfreeeee said...


Welcome to the blog and thanks to you (and everyone here) for your comments.

I think you made an excellent point that it's one thing for a mom to be offered a seat by someone who is being polite. It's another thing for moms to think they are ENTITLED to special spots by nature of being a mom, or for special spots to be provided automatically to certain classes of people, while not to others.

I am one of the first people to stand up and offer someone my seat - mom or otherwise - if they appear to be struggling or having a difficult time. It's a nice thing to do, and I make the choice to do it.

This is an entirely different thing, though, from special spots automatically being set aside for moms or other able-bodied people, or for those people to EXPECT special spots (and get angry if certain stores don't provide them).

Again, it's the entitlement that's the problem.

Unknown said...

I've just started reading around because I'm getting ready to look for a doctor to become "childproof" and I stumbled on this...
It makes me feel like I'm not so alone anymore. Heh. Everyone keeps telling me that I'll change my mind and I'm too young, but I know.
The parking space thing is ridiculous. The elderly should get that spot before pregnant women.

Bridget said...

I stumbled upon your blog recently because my husband and I have decided for sure that we are going to be childfree. We are trying to figure out how to navigate issues with our family and society now that we are going to be childfree. You are fantastic. You have made me realize that we are definitely making the right choice. The other day, after reading your Stork Spot post, I was in a parking lot where I spotted one of those spaces. Not only did they have the space, it was in front of the handicapped spaces! I was disgusted that pregnant women would be given priority over people who have physical disabilities! I would love to post a note on the sign telling disabled people to park there.

The Traveling Katt said...

Fight on lady, fight on!!