Of all the things to inspire me to start this blog in the first place, would you believe it started with the humble double decker bus? Let’s face it, us Brits love to hate our public transport, and a good old moan about the city’s infrastructure is never far from a Londoner’s lips.
I am no exception to this. Seven years of commuting to either the city or South of the river from Essex have left a very cynical taste in Mrs Lighty’s mouth! But as a very nervous driver and not having the use of the car during the day, public transport is just something I took in my stride. That is, until my stride included a buggy.
Oh how different my expectations of getting about are now compared to when I was pregnant! When I was expecting, I just took it for granted that I’d be on and off of public transport, as I simply didn’t have another method of getting out and about. I wasn’t about to become housebound, no siree, and obviously this train of thought, if you’ll pardon the puns, was born when wearing a baby on board badge and having the luxury of sitting in the priority seats whilst heavily pregnant.
Oh how different reality is! It became quite apparent on my first shopping trip that using public transport was now a matter of logistics. I went with Mummy Hatchy as back up. “Let’s get the train!”, we thought. Then realised that that would involve getting the buggy down an extremely long set of stairs, as our local station doesn’t have a lift or ramp. So the bus it was. All very well and good when there are no other buggies or wheelchairs on board, but when you throw in someone else with a pushchair plus some elderly ladies with shopping trolleys, all of a sudden you’re dropping your money everywhere out of your purse and taking out fellow passengers with your changing bag (or maybe that’s just me). That first trip was enough to think that I would, in fact, be housebound until Baby Lighty turned 18 – or at least until he could walk!
Fortunately, I’ve since realised that actually, I can take the bus, but it just needs a bit of logistical planning. This planning includes getting on at quieter stops wherever possible and desperately praying that I won’t need to fold the pram (because what, then, do I do with the carrycot part of our travel system?!). All this and I still have to deal with the snooty looks of fellow passengers when Baby Lighty starts to grizzle and the person that won’t move from the seat nearest to the buggy park section of the bus, meaning that you quickly develop a new yoga move, the “holding a dummy in with one hand and keeping your balance whilst bending over the buggy” move.
Still, as my pregnant self said, it has to be done, and I’ve met some lovely mums on the bus who’ve told me that they had been there when they were new to parenthood and that it does get easier. So for the time being I’m either housebound or the wheels on the bus go round and round; I choose the latter.