Give the pram parking bays to seniors

April 10, 2016

Would you give up your pram parking bay for your mum or dad or grandparents?

Okay, I know this won’t go down well with other mothers but let me declare upfront that I am a mother myself.

My kids are now in their teens, but when they were younger, I can’t remember ever seeing a pram parking bay at a shopping centre. Sure, they are super convenient especially when the kids are playing up, but let’s face it, this is a marketing exercise for the shopping centre.

It is about winning mothers over, encouraging them to shop at the centre because the centre understands them. Well, I’m sorry but I’m not impressed by this.

I parked wherever I could get a park and I wheeled my kids in the pram to the shopping centre. It wasn’t that big of a deal – they were in a stroller anyway and Lord knows the only exercise I had time for these days was child-related e.g. pram pushing, running after them and cleaning.

So I’m now annoyed that my custom (as a woman with teenage kids) is not as welcome as a mother who gets the prime car parks. My local shopping centre (not mentioning any names but on Brisbane’s southside) is small but now has six key spots allocated to mothers—three on each side of the entrance door—and several are regularly vacant.

Over the course of a few weeks I saw two women and a man all drive SUVs into these spots and while they had a baby car seat in the back they had no kids with them. They parked there nevertheless and went shopping.

Let’s think about our parents

So let me propose this to you. On Saturday, I took my seventy-five-year-old mother to the shopping centre. Mum had cancer about six years ago and survived it; she is thin now and I swear it takes us half-an-hour to walk ten meters!

Mum isn’t disable and can’t park in the disable bay. Yet I pass these fit and capable mothers parked right next to the centre or the vacant spots and by the time Mum has got in (and no, she won’t be dropped off at the front, nor am I keen to do this as she has early onset dementia), she’s exhausted.

So I believe that doctors should issue senior car parking stickers and seniors should get these prime car parking spots not mothers.

We’ve got an ageing population… you included. Let’s think about those less able than ourselves and not jump on the trendy bandwagon.

Okay, bring it on, I’m ready for the abuse – but would you give up your pram parking bay for your mum or dad or grandparents? I would in a heartbeat.

Amanda Olssen

Amanda Olssen is the mother of two humans and three cats. She studied dramatic arts and literature at university and is now working part-time as a proof-reader while working full-time at being a mum. She is married to a patient man who watches a lot of sport.