Can I have the stroller I want? Can I? Can I?

Dare I buy the gleaming baby carriage that dazzles the eye of all who behold it?

Published October 3, 2005 6:48PM (EDT)

Dear Cary,

I'm almost too embarrassed to ask this question since it's so insignificant compared to what else is going on in my life, but I can't get to the bottom of my dilemma alone.

I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl almost three weeks ago and my husband and I, plus our families, are just overjoyed and happy. This is going to be one well-loved baby! Her grandmother keeps joking that she'll never learn to walk because there are so many relatives eager to hold her all the time.

My dilemma is that I can't decide whether to give in to peer pressure and purchase an outrageously expensive baby stroller, or sock the money away in the baby's college fund and swallow my stroller envy.

We live in New York City, which is a pedestrian city, so every time I walk down the street I see babies being pushed in a particular brand of distinctive stroller. I won't even mention the name because that company doesn't need publicity from me! I think the stroller is stylish, aesthetically gorgeous, and I've been told by friends who own them that they are really excellent if you are going to be taking lots of long walks -- which of course I would in this city.

Yesterday I went to the pediatrician's office, which is located in a very trendy neighborhood, and every single child that came through the door was in one of these strollers. The waiting room was like the stroller company's showroom! Seeing how trendy they are turned me off to them somewhat, but at the same time, I felt uncool and left out. It was like high school all over again, when I was the new girl from more modest means entering a posh public high school -- I relived the feeling of my clothes and hairstyle just not measuring up (and later, not even having a car when so many classmates had daddy's gift BMWs). Meanwhile, these particular strollers, with their accessories, cost upward of $900 while a top-rated stroller in Consumer Reports cost about $250. Yes, we can afford the expensive stroller, but wouldn't the money be better spent on something else?

Silly as it is, I am really stuck! Help!

A Jones Wannabe

Dear Jones Wannabe,

Oh, please buy the stroller, please buy the stroller, please please please please please buy the stroller! Buy the stroller because you want the stroller. Buy the stroller because you deserve the stroller. Buy the stroller because all those other people have the stroller and why shouldn't you? Why do you have to be the one who can't have the stroller you want? Why does it always have to be you who has last year's stroller that's not nearly as shiny and nice?

Buy the stroller, please? Buy the stroller because your baby doesn't want to be strolled about the park in a stroller that you don't love. Your baby doesn't want you to have to make excuses. Your baby doesn't want you to have to say that your stroller is perfectly OK but it's not the stroller you really wanted.

Not everything you want has to make sense or be admirable. Some things we want we maybe aren't supposed to want but we want them anyway. What's the harm? If acquiring them won't cause us to go broke or become divorced, or addicted, or in jail, or humiliated, why shouldn't we have them? Give yourself a break. Buy the stroller.

Don't spend the money on anything else! But if you must do something charitable, for the sake of your conscience, then do both: Buy the stroller and contribute some money as well to a charity, as though making an offering to the gods.

Don't let it go to your head is all. Don't get so intoxicated with the new stroller that you start thinking you're better than all those other mothers in that other part of town with those rinky-dink, boring, dull little strollers, and don't get so high on yourself that you go out carousing to celebrate and get drunk and get rolled and lose the stroller. Don't wake up with a hangover, mad with self-reproach, and end up in an insane asylum like the poor man in "The Overcoat"!

No, just buy the stroller and walk through the park with your baby, proud and happy.

By the way, what kind of stroller is it? Is it one of these?

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