A Stroller for Every Occasion

A fellow mother once gave me some good advice: Never get rid of any of your strollers.

The thing about strollers is that they all have particular uses and no one stroller is good for everything.

Graco Travel System

This was our first stroller. We got a travel system because we needed a car seat anyway and this way it would easily transfer to the stroller itself. It’s a very nice all-purpose stroller. It has decent storage space and a two compartments up top for my crap (sunglasses, snack, etc.). The seat reclines fully too, and the front flap (by her feet) even folds up so you can even have a makeshift bed. The biggest con is that you can’t take this sucker off-roading. Anything other than paved road is horrid. It also started to pull to one side after about a year. Very annoying.

The Umbrella

Umbrella strollers are compact and lightweight. This is the stroller you want to just keep in the back of your car. The Graco is nice but like most strollers it’s bulky and leaves little room for groceries and such. This stroller design has several flaws. The lack of storage space forces you to hang things off the back, and of course you’ll forget this and the whole thing will fall over as soon as you remove the counter weight (kid). They can only be used once your kid is a bit older and sitting up. They’re also really short which makes for uncomfortable pushing unless you are also very short. I’m 5’4″ and it’s too short for me. And I bought the tallest I could find. Still, this is the grab-and-go stroller of choice.

The All-Terrain

“But I don’t hike!” you say, “Why would I need an all-terrain stroller?” Trust me, once you’ve driven one of these babies you’ll know why. They just handle better. Regular strollers are just big clumsy carts. Ever tried to cut across grass with a regular stroller? It’s a pain in the ass. You may stick to pavement most of the time but you’ll be grateful for one of these when you, I don’t know, go to a pumpkin patch and have to use your stroller on dirt. Uneven dirt. Or the beach. Or gravel.

I like this particular stroller but it does have a few flaws. For one thing, folding it is annoying. It has to be flipped around completely to get it to lie flat in the car. Unlike the Graco, which has a simple handle/lock system for reclining the seat, this has a strap you have to pull. It usually takes two hands. This is not something a mother has readily available. And it won’t fold down if the seat is not reclined completely. It has more storage space down below, but no enclosed storage up top so I can’t keep anything up there without taking it out every time it’s folded. It does, however, have some storage up front by the feet. The best part about that is that it catches things your kid drops. This is a HUGE benefit.

My mother bought me this stroller so we’d have one to use while visiting without bringing ours and losing valuable space in the car. Once the Graco started to pull to one side we traded so now I have the Jeep full time. It takes an infant car seat just fine so it still works for the baby.

The Entirely Too Big Stroller

I don’t have the one above but I have something similar. The main difference is that the rear seat faces the opposite direction.

It started out simple. Like I said, I’d traded my Graco for the Jeep because it was beginning to handle poorly. But the Jeep wasn’t very good for just throwing the car seat in and going. I’d have to raise the seat back, insert the car seat, then fish out two buckles on either side of the stroller and snap the seat into place. Not exactly efficient. So my mom bought me a snap and go stroller. I left it in the box while I was pregnant.

Then a mom showed up to playgroup with a sit and stand stroller. It was just like the snap and go except it had a seat in back for her daughter. Awesome! This is what I needed! I told Mom I wanted to exchange the stroller for this one, and off to Babies R Us we went. We looked at several strollers, but my Mom pointed out a key feature on this one that she thought would be useful. The problem with the sit and stand was that it had no backing for the older kid. So they couldn’t fall asleep in the stroller if you were at Disneyland or something. Good point! We got the super duper sit and stand one.

I hate it. It’s huge and unwieldy. The rear seat is designed for an infant, not a toddler. So V sits up front and the baby faces me. Fine. But it makes the front very heavy and almost impossible to tilt up and over curbs while walking. The storage space is between the two seats and extremely difficult to access. It’s got two plastic things that poke out of the back, presumably to keep you from stepping on the wheels while you walk, but instead you just stab yourself on the protruding plastic. It’s too big. I have an SUV and in order to fit this thing in my car I have to tilt it diagonally. There’s no way it will lay flat back there. So taking it anywhere is pretty much out. Not to mention that my mom’s original point is pretty moot, as any theme park we attend will most likely be in Socal where we’ll be using the Graco and maybe an umbrella stroller.

Now, it could be I’ll hate it slightly less as the baby gets a bit older. Then I can remove the infant seat in the back, V can sit there and A can sit up front. Maybe then the storage would be accessible. Maybe it wouldn’t be so godawful to maneuver. But all the other problems would still remain.

The fact is, I wanted a QUICK, lightweight, reasonably-sized stroller for just tossing in the car seat and going. This will never be that. Instead I’m using the damn Jeep stroller, which is anything but quick.

The Wide Stroller

I haven’t used this stroller yet as the baby is far too young. We had the opportunity to buy it from a coworker for pretty cheap. It’s pretty damn big but if we DO ever go to a theme park up here or something else where both kids will want to sit, this is what we’ll probably be using.

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