Saturday, 5 October 2013

Lesson 8: Pushchairs, Public Transport and Panic

If the pairing of 'Pushchair' and 'Public Transport' does not instantly make you shudder, I want to know why. Why. And how. HOW do you do it? I guess the last question is somewhat of a rhetorical one, as I think some parents just cope. 

I like to call them The Copers. I, on the other hand, have come to the conclusion that I am not in this coping camp.

Today, I embarked on my first proper train trip accompanied solely by a child. I don't mean steam train/train at the zoo/small farm train, I mean actual train with set times and set seats and a set sense of panic. Granted, this journey was to be only one hour. With no changes. An hour. How hard could this be? 

Where do I start in summarising today's train adventure? Perhaps the bit where there was nowhere to put the folded-down pushchair and I spent an eternity blocking the entrance to Carriage C as I tried to squeeze it in besides somebody else's luggage whilst my child tried to get back off the train *redness and sweating*. Or the bit where my toddler threw his regurgitated banana down the aisle of the train and I had to go and pick it up with a tissue, much like you would scoop up a dog s**t. Perhaps the bit where we got to the destination station and had to get in about five different lifts before I had calmed down enough to find the lift that would take us to the f***ing exit.

For the return journey, I was prepared.
We had Rowntree's Randoms *bad mummies club.* We had a Fireman Sam Activity Book. We had a new 'sports car' toy from Poundland. We arrived fifteen minutes early to allow for a wee stop.

And then I saw it. Right there, on the information board.

15:13 to Exeter - CANCELLED

Jesus Christ. Have they not met my child? I considered asking that question at the Helpdesk, but am pretty sure 'What the actual f**k do we do now?' was what came out.

'You can get the 15:44 love, though it'll be busy so you may not get a seat.'

This was funny. I mean this was HILARIOUS. Think about it. I had spent the day worrying about how my toddler would cope with being confined to a seat again. And when it came to it, I needn't have worried - there weren't any shitting seats.

Yes that's right. For the return journey, we sat on the floor of the train outside the toilet between carriages C and D. In amongst other agitated passengers and my stroller, which was being propped up by the knee of a random (but very kind) traveller.

There was no space, no chance of getting the activity book out, and nowhere to hide my sweet-giving. I had to admit publicly that I was bribing my child with sweets (as in 'if you stop racing your car over that man's briefcase you can have a foamy ice-cream). The shame.

I wish I could provide you with an upbeat ending to the tale of the train and the pushchair. Granted, I did get a day out with my lovely sister sandwiched between the journeys, but I am still none the wiser as to how people function with prams* on public transport.

Lesson 8: Taking your pushchair on public transport? Don't. Just don't.

*I am also none the wiser as to how people function with children on public transport, but I suppose The Copers just do. 

The Unmumsy Mum


  1. It was decided early on that my better half would go back to work allowing me to go through the same shite as you. just so you know, I think the world of my little bundle of noise but also needed (for my own sanity) to get back into work.
    So after six months of playing super dad we decided to take her work up on the offer of using the crèche facilities they provided. needless to say it lasted 2.5 months before we pulled him out (reasons I wont go into (how the f**k does a trained professional put a nappy on backwards) other than the transport reason) We would travel in rush hour from Romford to Farringdon 5 days a week, both train and tube and I feel your pain. a week before we stopped the crèche, we had an incident that was the straw that broke the camels back. coming home on a packed train (first two were cancelled) our son decided to start screaming and crying whether it was because of the lack of food he received that day or just not the kind of care he was used to at home we will never know. We couldn't get off the train due to be sardined inside the carriage and had chosen the one day to not pack enough snacks to keep him happy.
    I could have been a total stranger to him as he would just not settle and people were giving me that look of " what a shitty parent" or " does that child actually belong to him and should I pull the cord and alert the guard at the next stop" my misses was staring at the carriage floor desperately wishing that a hole would appear and swallow her up to save her from the embarrassing glares. NEVER AGAIN DID WE DO THAT JOURNEY.

    Lucan Antony

  2. I discovered your blog via a friend on facebook and have just read back all the entries! Your children are a similar age to mine and most of what you have written I identify with ( and have probably said!).
    I especially like the lesson on why his day is better than yours. I sent it on to my husband who obviously didn't read it!
    I'm glad you seem to be having lots of success. Women need to be more honest about how fucking shit mat leave can be ( have just come off the back of 2x chicken pox toddler and baby, 4 weeks of house arrest, no sleep, nick junior on repeat and lots of whinging). Keep it coming you make me laugh!

  3. After reading your book (amazing btw) I am reading back through your blogs and have to share a train story I thought you would like. I once embarked on a train journey with my daughter (then a small baby) in her pram from Cardiff to Hereford. There was no space for the pram in what I considered the pram space as people had dumped all their suitcases there and I couldn't face taking my baby out of the pram and collapsing it as I couldn't juggle her and collapse the pram and move our stuff off the pram. So I shouted down the train for people to please move their cases and no one moved so I had a mini meltdown and started throwing cases out of the way. This prompted a woman to start on me for moving her case so I then had a rant at her. When I finally had space I then had to sit the whole way with people eyeballing the crazy lady (me).