STFU Parents: Parent Parking Spaces: To Park Or Not To Park?

A few days ago, the very popular secret-exposing website PostSecret posted a round-up of ‘Classic Secrets.’ The whole point of PostSecret is that it’s a judgment-free zone where strangers’ anonymous secrets, sent in to the web owner Frank Warren, are posted on Sundays without comment. Sometimes the revelations come off as being completely amoral, and yet, we must also remember, entirely human. Other times, secrets are nothing more than amusing proclamations written by people who just want to whisper something brief to millions of people on the internet. Oftentimes, round-ups will be a mix of both, and in last Sunday’s PostSecret “drop,” the collection included this:

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The question of whether to adhere to parking signs that declare certain spaces are reserved for either expectant mothers or simply “parent and child” has long been a discussion topic on STFU, Parents, and in society in general. There are are so many facets to this discussion, you could probably fill every space in a parking lot with a person who has a different point or opinion. First and foremost, in the U.S. it is not illegal to park in these spaces if you don’t have a child, as opposed to parking in spaces that are reserved for people with a disability, which IS illegal. Most people remember a time — decades, in fact! — that the courtesy parent parking spaces didn’t even exist. Parents of an older generation will tell younger parents to stop being so precious, to park farther away from the store entrance if they must, and to generally stop acting so entitled about something as absurd as parking. (Perhaps the definition of “first world problems.”)

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    • Cass

      Let me guess… you’re also the type of person who takes a full shopping cart to the “8 items or less” lane because “no one was there”. Do you butt in line, too? Never tip the driver? Forget to say “excuse me, sorry” after bumping into someone and spilling their coffee? Not wait your turn? Steal from other people’s shopping carts? Swipe dimes from the tip jar? Stare at people with odd hairstyles? Let a door close on the person walking behind you? WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE, IMPOLITE PERSON?? WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE?

      *ahem*

      You’re going down a slippery slope. Remember, manners are the cornerstone of civilization. And Canada. Never forget Canada.

      • Gangle

        I don’t know.. I see those parent parking spots open all the time. I am pregnant, and I haven’t bother with them. I feel the exercise does me good, and also nobody can see me vomit in the gutter when I park at the back of the park. I guess some people park in them just because. But I have met someone who got their knickers in a twist because an elderly couple parked in one of those sacred spots. Yes yes, I *know* those parks were not intended for old people. They were intended for parents with prams etc. But sometimes you really have to let the rage go.

      • TattooedLittleMiss

        Yes, because god forbid parents be required to carry their over-stuffed diaper bags and over-aged children six more feet. Hint: you’re not a special snowflake just because you chose to have children. Unless you have a medical condition that actually seriously limits your mobility (and thus can be issued a parking tag by your doctor), you can walk like anyone else.

      • Cass

        OMG, you do use the express lane with a full cart!

        Do you piss on the elderly for getting seniors discounts, too?

      • TattooedLittleMiss

        Nope. I have a shit-ton more respect for most elderly people than I do for most parents. I despise entitlement.

        If you’re looking for the people who use the express lane with a full cart, you’re looking for the exact people you’re defending: rude, entitled parents who believe the world should worship them for passing on their genes.

      • darras

        Actually..I’m with Cass on this one. I rarely use the parent parking spots myself because I don’t mind walking the extra distance and so far have yet to have a problem getting my son out of the car without hitting the door on other cars/concrete
        columns. HOWEVER, it’s not entitlement that the spaces exist. And I understand people getting upset when others ignore common courtesy. I doubt I would complain out loud about people parking in disabled or family spots, neither would I really make a huge fuss out of somebody refusing to get up on the bus for the elderly, pregnant or obviously disabled. BUT I do get sad that common courtesies are so lacking.

        Sure, it won’t hurt the kids to walk that little extra distance, but neither would it hurt the single person driver to do so either. It makes absolutely zero sense for someone to use a spot clearly reserved for someone else. It’s like taking a reserved seat on the train that doesn’t belong to you. It’s just rude.

        I was brought up to be polite, and have consideration for other people. Because of that I will gladly hold the door open for others (even if carrying my own baby at the time), I will happily give up my seat for someone who looks like they need it more than me, I will always queue politely and patiently in the correct
        place and I would never park in a spot that indicated that I shouldn’t. Common courtesy seems to be severely lacking in the world these days – particularly when the people lacking in it seem to be excusing their actions by the rather dubious merit of ‘despising entitlement’.

      • TattooedLittleMiss

        Why do parents deserve more courtesy? You lot CHOSE to have children. Designating spots just for parents/pregnant people IS entitlement. Courtesy spots for people who don’t qualify for handicapped parking? Fine, but why should only parents get that courtesy? What have you done that makes you more worthy of special consideration? Bred? Yeah, cockroches do that, too, so I’m not terribly impressed.

      • darras

        They don’t. By why does someone deserve LESS courtesy just because they’re a parent? I think you’re missing the point rather. It’s not about parents deserving more courtesy, it’s about some people deciding others don’t deserve courtesy at all due to arbitrary measures. You seem rather.. angry about the whole thing. Which makes me a little sad. I’d hold the door for you regardless of if you were a parent or not. Just as I wouldn’t park in a parking spot that said “Marked for TattooedLittleMiss” because .. you know, that’s not my spot.

        I’m not sure why you’re so angry about the whole thing, but I am sorry if you’ve experienced something that made you so. And hopefully you’ll come to realise that not all parents are entitled or ‘bad’ just because they bred.

        Incidentally – cockroaches are incredible creatures! I’m VERY impressed by them ;)

      • Cass

        For using a courtesy parking spot that a business place designated for them (for the same reason businesses have loyalty cards and seniors discounts, btw), they’re lazy and entitled?

        So, given that you’re “protesting” the spots by parking in them for absolutely no reason other than “oh noes!! someone else has something I don’t!!”, what exactly does that make you?

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        What is your PROBLEM, lady?

      • TattooedLittleMiss

        Loyalty cards and senior discounts are vastly different than people believing that reproducing means they deserve special treatment. A good many American seniors actually fall below the poverty line and almost all are on limited income. It’s only polite, when someone has given their time, energy, and life to society, to give them their due If it helps, I also don’t buy into “respect your elders” if a senior proves they’re undeserving and will call out bad behavior at any age when I see it.

        And I’m a paying customer with shit to do just like they are. If I’m in a hurry, have been on my feet all day, and need to get in and out, why shouldn’t I use a spot not designated for someone who has a medical reason to need to be closer to the store and have bigger spots? Most of the time, I shop on my days off, but I have arthritis and on days when I can’t get away with waiting and my knees have swollen to the size of softballs, why shouldn’t I use a spot not protected by law? Parents are not more deserving of courtesy just because they’ve bred.

      • ElleJai

        If your arthritis is limiting your mobility, get a sticker. Like they’re suggesting above; if the logic is that no one other than the disabled is more deserving of a park, then either you deserve it because you have a disability or you don’t because you’re fine.

        I’m not following your fuzzy middle ground illogic here.

      • TattooedLittleMiss

        In case you hadn’t noticed, short of being crippling, arthritis does not earn you a parking tag. If it did, there would be a lot more spaces, because almost everyone after a certain age would have one. As has been suggested above, why not just have courtesy spots, for people on the go or with medical issues that don’t warrant a parking tag, or expecting mothers? Instead of just limiting it to pregnant people and parents? I ask again: why do you feel that breeding has earned you more courtesy than anyone else?

      • ElleJai

        Please point out where I suggested, anywhere on this thread, that I believed in parent parking spaces?

        Or where I thought that courtesy spaces for people “on the go or with medical issues that don’t warrant a parking tag” weren’t a good idea?

        Stop being argumentative for the sake of it.

      • SmrtGrl86

        I think she just hates people with kids lol

    • Mrsspring

      I adore parenting spots now that I have a 7mth old with the will and strength of Thor and a love of hearing the clunk of the car door on a cement column. However these spots are not near the ‘door’, they are located on the 4th floor of a multi story car park so I can only think that anyone who parks in them without a kid is a massive douche canoe that would bypass literally a thousand other car parks so they can park their oversized tradies ute in an extra wide space. If I didn’t have a kid I would happily navigate my small corolla into a normal sized park and skip with the joy of not having my child with me.

    • brebay

      If you have a medical complication during your pregnancy, your doctor can get you a temporary handicapped placard and you can use the handicapped parking. I think we all got along just fine before we treated a perfectly healthy pregnancy like a handicap. I haven’t parked in one yet, but I’m tempted. It’s not the same as taking a handicapped space, which is completely inexcusable no matter how briefly you’re parking there. If you’d ever actually seen a person who is paraplegic navigating their wheelchair into an adapted van in the freezing cold, you would realize that it is not even in the same ballpark as corralling your kids into car seats with your fully functioning spine. I don’t think I’d park in a ridiculous “stork space”, but I still think they’re nonsense because of the temporary handicapped access option. As far as it just being “difficult” to wrangle a toddler and a pregnant belly, it was entirely your choice, quit visiting it on others. Our mothers managed it just fine, you’ll be okay.

      • TattooedLittleMiss

        My point exactly. Some people have serious pregnancy complications: they can be issued a temporary parking tag. Everyone else can fend for themselves, I don’t care how pregnant or how many kids (or stuff) they have to carry. I don’t drive, but I’ve talked people into parking in expectant mother/parent and child parking before in protest that businesses in my area are actually beginning to have them.

      • EX

        I don’t know. There has been “priority seating” on public transportations for ages and before that it was simply common courtesy to give up your seat to a pregnant woman, woman with small children, the elderly, etc. I just see these spaces as an extension of that. I’m not saying the spaces are necessary or that women should feel entitled to them, but if a store chooses to have them leaving them for those for whom they are intended is, in my opinion, just being courteous.

      • brebay

        Yeah, standing up on a bumpy bus for an entire trip isn’t really akin to walking a few extra yards. I’m all for giving up my seat, holding doors, etc. but singling out pregnant women just seems arbitrary.

      • EX

        I understand what you’re saying about it being arbitrary and I agree. Perhaps, if stores want to do this, they could offer “priority parking” similar to the priority seating on public transportation. Of course I have a hard time imagining people wouldn’t take advantage of that because, as I’ve said a couple times here, common courtesy appears to have disappeared (and yes, at any moment I will start waving my cane around yelling at the damn kids to get off my lawn). Anyway, here’s the thing, it is the store that is offering this courtesy not (as far as I know) pregnant women demanding it. Yet, all I see in the comments here (although I admit I did not read all 200) is this irritation at pregnant women/moms for acting entitled. I’m not saying entitled pregnant women/moms don’t exist (they do and they suck) but if people have a problem with these courtesy parking spaces it seems the appropriate course of action would be to take those grievances to the store and not just park in the spaces and laugh about it.

      • Nicki

        Those parking spots were probably put there because there was demand for them from pregnant women/moms or those women demanded at another store who caved to the demands and got good reviews because of it. The store is only offering it to get more business, not because they’re nice.

      • EX

        I get that the stores aren’t being altruistic. They’re running a business and catering to their customer base. But are there really legions of pregnant women “demanding” priority parking? Like I’ve said in other comments, we don’t have those parking spaces around here so I don’t know. Maybe the pregnant women around here just aren’t entitled and demanding? My point was simply that if one doesn’t like something a store does one can either a) shop somewhere else or b) complain to the store. I still think if a store has designated parking for a certain group of people they should be left for those people. End of story.

      • SnoozyPuppies

        But I don’t think it’s a super quick process to get a handicapped parking permit. I’ve known women with extremely debilitating pain and complications from pregnancy who haven’t been given a temporary permit because it’s just not worth going through the process. By the time you actually get the pass, a lot of these women will have already had the baby. I am not arguing that they should then get to just use the handicapped spots. Those should always be reserved for people who have actual, documented handicaps and a handicapped placard. However, since it really isn’t that easy for women with pregnancy complications to get access to a handicapped permit I think it’s great that some places accommodate them with parking spots.

      • brebay

        Hospital social worker. 5 minutes.

      • SnoozyPuppies

        Huh. I was basing this on my FIL not being able to get one during his recovery from his major accident, but maybe he was just being a stubborn old goat and giving that as an excuse. I actually don’t know anyone who got one for pregnancy complications, and that was the reason that was given, so maybe it’s different here and harder to get one (I am in Alberta)? Or maybe everyone here just has this accepted knowledge it’s hard to get so no one asks for it. Who knows. If it is that easy to get a temporary handicapped permit for pregnancy complications, then I think that’s the route that should be taken. Personally, in my super routine pregnancies I didn’t feel any need for special pregnant lady spots and left them open for other people who might need it more. It feels unnecessary to be princessy about walking a few extra feet to the mall when you are doing 4-6 k walks every day at the off-leash park with the dog.

      • brebay

        Maybe it’s a U.S. thing. I adored walking through my pregnancies too. We only had one car at the time, which was technically mine. I worked 4 miles away, my (now ex, obvs) husband worked less than a mile away. Guess which one of us walked to and from work while pregnant (in Wyoming, with one born in Jan and one born in Feb!) Anyway, it made me feel great, and I only gained about 20 with each. I don’t begrudge someone with a complication, but just being big and tired shouldn’t net you a better spot. I’m way more tired now with two tweens and a career than I ever was when they were tiny!

      • SnoozyPuppies

        That’s quite the walk! Hopefully there were bathrooms en route. ;-)

      • ElleJai

        Not in my area (Melbourne). To get a sticker your disability must last 6 months at least, you need to get a giant form filled out by a doctor and then to take it to the local council. Who will then mail out your sticker about a week later.

        I could barely walk in my pregnancy and had to take someone shopping with me to push the cart and catch me when I fell over, but I still wasn’t eligible for a sticker.

      • brebay

        Yeah, I was talking about the US

    • acm

      I have never in my life seen a spot marked like this — is this a California phenomenon? I mean, the late months of pregnancy are a real bear, but I can only imagine the uproar around me if there were any spots marked like this!!

      • Paul White

        Texas has them too. At least in some stores. But there’s no force of law behind them.

    • pineapplegrasss

      omg there are sooo many comments, I have no idea why Im adding to them when I don’t even have 2 hrs to read them and see if Im saying the exact same thing as 50 other people. But, we don’t have parent/child spots in my city as far as Ive ever seen and the only store I ever saw an expected mother parking spot was at BabiesRUs and that kinda made sense. I have 4 kids and 1 on the way and I think parent/child parking spots are dumb. But Id still park there lol. Sometimes I park in spaces labeled for carpool when a bunch of those are empty.

    • Jillian

      When did parenting become a disability though? I mean seriously people survived for generations without special parking and suddenly I see certain parents freak out if god forbid they might have to walk for a minute or less across a parking lot in any season weather with baby in tow. Oh no! life must be so harsh for you having to walk for a minute or so the store entrance way how will you ever do it. Shall I call you a chauffeur because you can’t handle the kid or kids you chose to have? Look I sympathise with women who are heavily pregnant or just had a rough labour they need to recover from physically. I sympathize with those who have kids with legitimate disabilities that require more physical assistants.But honestly how old is to old to be using the parent parking? I have seen women get out of those spots with school aged children, even teens who are healthy and capable of walking. I think its nice that some stores choose to put in parent parking spots to be kind to customers but it is in no way mandatory but unfortunately it has now become the norm so certain parents just feel entitled to it. Even when there is no reason they cannot physically walk.

      People with legitimate disabilities like paralysis, back/knee/walking issues and severe mobility issues don’t have the option of just ditching their wheelchair or walker. It is an everyday struggle for them. Your lazy behind can lift the car seat out of the car or unbuckle your kid from car seat and put them in the stroller I can’t believe that there are people on here who have actually had parents have the audacity to ask them to not use the handicapped spot(while they were with elderly disabled relatives)so they could have extra room to get their SUV sized baby strollers/gear out. Dear god how do you think our parents and parents generations before us survived until this point what with having to walk, and push their kids in small strollers like simpletons.

    • pineapplegrasss

      you cant walk into the store, but you can walk around inside it?

      • Kelly

        When I was using the expectant mother’s spot at the commissary during my pregnancy, I could not walk around inside it. I used one of the scooters they had available to people with health issues because I could only walk very short distances before I would become ill and fall down or spray projectile vomit.

      • pineapplegrasss

        I’m actually really sorry to hear that, as I’m 7months in with my 5th, I totally understand pregnancy and that would be horrific. You should have gotten a disabled plate though. I would hope you would have some help and not have to go shopping yourself, and that’s a whole other discussion I know, and just the word commissary gives me many ideas of why you would be alone. But, I do think you’re the exception, and most pregnant women can walk into and around the store, as can mommies with babies. I still think the special parking spots are silly :)

    • Jillian

      I will say some of the ones in Canada are good because they say right on the parking spot “for expectant mothers and infants up to 6 months old”. That does not include you mom of a toddler and two other school aged kids. That does not include the lazy mom or dad who thinks their healthy 8 year old shouldn’t have to walk in the winter weather. Your kids are more then capable of walking so save that spot for women/small babies who actually need them more.

    • Ryuu

      I see those parking spaces sometimes, and the attached picture always comes to mind.
      Sometimes the pregnancy parking spots make me grumpy, because I have an unfortunate habit of running into parents with that are very rude or have a bad attitude. :(

    • Kim

      Forest Hill has like, 100 parents with prams spots, sometimes they’re the only spots available, they went nuts with those. My favourite side of the car park has three rows of them.
      Also, I feel a bit strange seeing my little suburban shopping centre featured.

      • ElleJai

        Hi! I’m not far from you then, I grew up in Box Hill and used to go to the movies at Forest Hill with friends all the time.

        I’m currently an Eastland girl, and we don’t seem to have the same major issues as you’re getting these days ;)

    • Samantha Lobdell

      There’s a supermarket my folks and I go to all the time that has some sort of “parents with children” parking. It’s not right next to the door, but next to the cart drop-offs. Mom and I were at the store one day when I was a teenager. The place was crowded and we were having no luck finding a parking space, so she just pulled in.

      Her logic? “You’re my kid, so it counts.” XD

      I never had an opinion on them until I heard about parents go into fits like this. What are they doing, stalking the spaces to watch who gets out of the car? Are you pouncing on people with pregnancy tests? How much time do you have on your hands?

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      1) Philip is an asshole. Seriously, dude, it’s not going to kill you or your kid(s) to walk a few extra feet, maybe even a few whole yards.

      2) Charity isn’t exactly living up to her name, here. You haven’t “earned” “pram parking”. You chose to pop out a kid, you’re not entitled to special parking for it. Suck it up, because — again — you can pare down the amount of stuff you carry (all you need is a couple of diapers, a bottle or sippy cup, and a small packet of wipes), and it’s not going to kill you to walk a bit further.

      3) Because it’s not at all possible he was there to pick up his kid…

      4) Lisa, Lisa, Lisa. Your pram is a choice. My wheelchair is a necessity. Get over yourself.

      5) Allison gets a (grudging) pass for not being overly obnoxious or acting like she’s entitled to the space.

      6) Pink L? Whomever you are, you rock.

      • Jenny

        It seems to me that a culture lacking in common courtesy is just as likely to dismiss the needs of the disabled as you are to dismiss the needs of mothers and pregnant women. When we cease to show each other love and courtesy, our behavior affects all aspects of society. You expect sympathy because you need a wheelchair and because you have a disability. Do you really think that, in a culture of jerks who attack others for their “choices,” anyone really cares about people who have disabilities? Do you assume that rude people look at you and feel compassion? No – they do not. They want you to move out of their way b/c they do not care about you. In order to receive the compassion that each of us deserves, we must give compassion to others.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        You’re a judgemental ass.

        Pregnant women and children don’t “need” more space than any other able-bodied person. In fact, miraculously, women managed without special parking and ginormous baby-tanks — and now these monstrosities are “necessary”? (Please, show me where these “stroller systems” are a necessity — because last time I checked, you could buy a baby seat, a carrier, and a stroller separately.)

        Use an umbrella stroller. Wear the baby (hands-free!) Teach your kids not to throw the doors open, if that’s the problem! Or park further out in the lot, if you really need the extra room — a little bit of exercise is good for both you and the kids! Just stop acting like you’re entitled to special privileges because you popped out a kid!

        Incidentally, disability accommodations are not a matter of “common courtesy”. They are mandated by federal law so that disabled people can more fully participate in society. Nothing, nothing about having a child prevents you from participating in society! You can hand your little snowflake off to a babysitter, or your parents, or your partner, or a trusted friend for a while — can you take my disability for a few hours, or a day? No? Then stop comparing your baby to a goddamn incurable condition!

      • Jenny

        Are you trying to misunderstand my point? Not all societies give a darn about the disabled. We are lucky to be in one that does. However, selfish and hateful attitudes undermine the goodwill of society in general. In a society where people do not care, you cannot expect protection from the government.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        No, though you seem to have completely sailed past my point.

        Baby? Temporary.

        Disabilities? Usually permanent.

      • Karen Milton

        PREACH

    • LawGeekNYC

      I don’t drive, so most of this is foreign to me. But when I was visiting my cousin and her one year old, she just unstrapped her, carried her in to the store, then put her in the shopping cart seat. It didn’t seem all that complicated (as opposed to packing a bag for the trip, which seemed mega complicated). Am I missing something here?

      • Karen Milton

        You’re not missing much, no worries. Young babies don’t have the neck/trunk muscle control to hold themselves in a sitting position in a cart, so often a car seat or carrier is the easiest solution for their parents. I was able to use a carrier which was great – I had my hands free, which allowed me to pick up ice cream with ease. That is important. Once the baby is more in control of themselves the seat of the cart is just fine and most have a seat belt to keep junior from falling out going around corners and such.

        None of this requires special parking.

    • Anna

      For those that judge people who park in disabled spots but don’t “look sick” here’s a story for ya.

      I have a genetic condition that makes my life very hard, Ehlers Danlos. You can’t tell by looking at me, but as I’m walking along my hip may dislocate, my ankles, my knees, everything falls apart but I’ve learn to snap it back in and keep on keepin on. Also, my circulation is so bad I’m always dizzy, and I haven’t been able to feel my feet since, I dunno, October-ish.

      Last weekend I went out for the first time in months, I’ve just been too sick to leave the house in forever and I finally was having a good day. I parked in a handicapped spot, hung my placard, started walking towards the movie theater. All the sudden this couple was on top of me yelling at me saying I was an example of everything that’s wrong in the world and how dare I use a stolen or my grandmothers placard to ‘pretend’ like my life wasn’t ‘easy street’ how I should be ashamed of myself and that they “hope you get hit by a car and have to learn what disability really feels like”. When I had looked around for help I saw other people nodding and almost egging on the couple yelling at me.

      I got back in my car and went back home. I’ve been devastated ever since. I have lost my health, my career, my marriage and my home. I am broken in ways normal people can’t even fathom and all I wanted to do was see a freaking movie.

      You can’t look at someone and know rather they’re sick or not.

      • AnastasiaMcNally

        This is awful. Why people think this is okay is utterly beyond comprehension and I am so sorry it happened to you.

      • Williwaw

        That is horrible. I feel so bad for you and I wish I had been there to open a can of whoopass on those total assholes who harassed you. I hope that doesn’t stop you from going out and doing things. I hope you have friends who can offer support (and also stick up for you when people are jackasses, because I know it’s tough to stand strong when you alone and are surrounded by assholes).

        I wish I were in advertising or something, because now I really want to make a billboard or public service message about not harassing people with invisible disabilities – in reading STFUParents and other blogs, I have read of a number of cases where someone with an invisible disability was harassed by total strangers, and I want to make it stop. Yeah, sure, able-bodied people probably do occasionally cheat and use disabled parking, but (a) not with a placard, and (b) whatever happened to giving strangers the benefit of the doubt? Holy crap. Anyway, I hope you’re feeling better and I really hope someone gives you a big hug.

      • Victoria

        I am so sorry this happened to you. I have chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s not bad enough for a placard yet, but it might be one day, but this honestly scares me so much that if it comes to that, I might start walking with a cane just to have some visible marker of disability so that people leave me alone (and lest anyone think that this would be faking, at times, having a cane would probably help my overall stability and give me something to rest upon when I get fatigued). On one of my worst days, I was sitting on the metro, too tired to stand, and despite that fact that I was not in priority seating, I was singled out by a very angry pregnant woman. I was too tired to move, I’m willing to bet that someone sitting down was able-bodied enough to stand and probably in a better seat, and yet, maybe because I looked like a pushover, she singled me out. I was at the point where if I stood up, I would collapse again.

        Readers: If you want to be mindful of individuals with invisible disabilities:
        1. Never single a person out if you need a seat, instead make a general request.
        2. Don’t comment on whether or not you think a person needs a disability placard. Yes, there are probably some assholes out there that abuse it, but it’s much more likely that they have an invisible disability.

      • Guest

        I have dysautonomia (I’m guessing you do as well?), and a there is a blogger that made cards to hand out to people that gave her shit for not looking sick enough for handicapped parking. I thought it was brilliant. http://letsfeelbetter.com/well-you-dont-look-handicapped-adventures-in-parking-near-assholes/ So sorry people are such assholes :( :(

      • koshkakot

        This. So much this. I have a congenital disorder and chronic pain. I sometimes walk with a cane (forearm crutch). I dont usually use it around the office, but I do use the accessible bathroom stall. There is only one on the entire floor, and it is shared with all 3 offices. I was waiting outside the stall (while every other one was empty) for about 5 minutes before the lady in there came out (which I do almost every time I have to use the bathroom. Why does everyone always use that stall to hang out and check phones?), and totally bitched me out! She kept telling me I didn’t need it (I sometimes do, and can’t predict when I might need it part way through, so I always default to the safest option), and that I was rude (for what? standing quietly using my phone), and a creep for “looking between the stall door and staring at people” (what?? i do a quick glance under the door to make sure someone is actually in the stall, then check stuff on my phone. not a creeper). Just because I look healthy and normal most of the time doesn’t mean jack. I never say anything to anyone who uses the stall because they may be in the same boat I am. But I’m pretty sure this lady doesn’t actually need it- she doesn’t look it, and I can’t imagine someone who looks able bodied yelling at someone because they don’t look disabled either is actually disabled since they would be aware of how people look at/treat you. And to add insult to injury, she had peed all over the seat! Some people.

    • Sarahstired

      I parked in them pre pregnancy because I always expected to be pregnant. Now I park there because I have kids. I think its nice but who gives a shit.

    • Sarahstired

      The grocery store near me has senior parking, not handicapped just senior. There are about 20 of them, not joking.

    • Debby

      Going to the ob appts with my last pregnancy used to be horrible, the parking spots were small to negin with and without fail when i would get out someone would park so close thay i wouldnt be able to fit my big pregnant belly into the doorway, a couple of times i had to crawl through the drivers side which was no easy feat at 9the months, so id say some wider spots would be great for pregnant people

    • MysteryDevil

      I lived in Melbourne when I had my son 9 & a half years ago and parents with prams parking didn’t exist! I survived and did it with no bitching. By the time my son was 3 and out of a pram the spots popped up everywhere!! I just think it’s laziness. If you have a pram, how hard is it to walk an extra 50 metres!! I constantly park in the parents parking haha To me, that was my normal parking till the mummy brigade complained :p I would never park in a disabled parking however, they need the close park!

    • Alfreda Wells Morrissey

      Around Christmas the parking lot to the grocery store was always crazy full and hard to find a spot at all. People were parking in the family spot all the time and I didn’t blame them. On Christmas Eve, I arrived and it was empty so I parked there even though my kids were 3 and 5 at the time and I usually don’t. Just as I was about to get my kids out of the car I could see a guy about to speak to me, then bite his tongue as my kids start to file out of the car. He say, “Oh wow, I didn’t know you had kids in there LOL” I was busy thinking in my head, “And you are such a busy body that you would have actually said something?” Instead I did the smile, nod avoid eye contact. Maybe it is just me, but who gives lectures to strangers. That is really crazy.

    • Ddaisy

      My local mall has “hybrid vehicle only” parking spaces as part of their “eco-friendly initiative.” I’ve pretty much only ever seen big-ass trucks and SUVs in those spots. I’ve never met one single person who takes them seriously.

    • Ashley

      I’m not sure how this is so different from a restaurant owner making a “no kids” rule. Parents were outraged and offended and they were told to get over it, these were the rules now, and they were free to take their business elsewhere if they didn’t like it. (A position I wholeheartedly agree with.) Shouldn’t we now be telling the indignant childless the same thing?

    • Joye77

      I guess to me this seems like an issue I never even knew was an issue. Where I live in Florida these type of parking spaces don’t even exist. I just park wherever and carry my kid into the store. I could use the exercise and so could my older boys. Never been enough of a hassle to where I felt I should have a special parking space. Seems kinda lazy to me.

    • val97

      Wasn’t there a time when people wanted to appear like they were all put together? I mean, even if you felt like crap, you put your best face on and didn’t complain unless it was to your closest friends/relatives or doctor? Maybe I’m romanticizing the past a little, but I feel like my grandmother would have been mortified by this trend of people competing over who is worse off, ie, “I’m 5 months pregnant, I NEED the closest parking spot!” She always wanted to seem 100% capable, even when we forced her to surrender her driver’s license because she couldn’t see.

      Also, I can’t imagine being able-bodied and taking a parking spot that someone else might really need just because I have a kid in a carseat.

    • One Funny Motha

      I think it’s nice but not necessary – just like someone offering you a seat on the subway when you’re pregnant. I think the sign should say: “Parking for pregnant women who are about to explode.” Like around 8-9 months b/c then it is hard to get around, but I don’t know why there is special parking for parents. It should only be for very pregnant people.

    • airbones

      I’ve used dedicated parent/expectant parent spots a few times while pregnant and again a few times lately, when it has been below freezing and possibly precipitating and I absolutely had to take my almost toddler out. Generally, I leave them for (hopefully) the elderly, over-flow of handicapped or super pregnant women with kids in tow. Really I just prefer to walk. I will never understand people reacting angrily to others parking there, though I have side-eyed groups of teenagers parking there once of twice.

      I think maybe I would react angrily to the “gold star” poster, just for being a prick.

    • rrlo

      The Facebook comments are appalling. However, what is so “wrong” about expectant mothers expecting to park in a spot designated “Expectant mother.” If other parking spots are available – then I believe people who are not expectant mothers or don’t have small children should park elsewhere.
      I really don’t get some of the reason people are giving to be able to park in these spots. If there are other parking spots available, taking a spot that is specifically designated for a certain group of people is a dick move.

    • Kat

      I love how Lea’s comments are clearly subtle hints. “Hey, post it here because we don’t give a shit.”

      • Kat

        and holy shit, Lisa! You’re right! My disability is just as deliberate as my motherhood! I shouldn’t have chosen to be disabled! It might be easier to haul my three cement-filled kids and all their cement-filled shit into a store! Damn my decision to be disabled and it’s similarity to my decision to have kids!

        Dumbass.

    • Victoria

      The way see it, if it is a designated space, I’m going to follow the rules and not park there. However, I see a lot of people complaining about businesses not offering those spaces, and I don’t think you are entitled to demand them in the same way people with disabilities are. If a store wants to extend the courtesy, great, I’m not going to complain about it or people who use them, but if the spots don’t exist, you aren’t entitled to the closest non-disabled parking spot. And Lisa, seriously, STFU, accessible parking for the disabled is not the same thing as parking for parents with children. (And it should go without saying: I don’t care that you have a baby, if you park in a disabled spot without a placard, I’m calling the police or whatever parking authority is in place).

      All of that said, there is a mall near where my parents live where expectant mother parking is actually closer and more accessible than the spots for people with disabilities and THAT one makes me angry. I kind of think people with disabilities should just park there because that is ridiculous.

      • Victoria

        Oh, and my hospital had special parking for dialysis patients and had problems with expectant mothers parking there because it was “so much better than expectant mother parking.” Their response was to switch the signs. That one made me angry, too.

    • http://minniemichelle.blogspot.co.uk/ Michelle

      Annoys me a lot, although in the uk we don’t have pregnant woman spaces so we have to park in normal, when i was about to give birth we parked in a parent and child space as all other spaces i wasn’t able to open door wide enough, i had someone shout at me, but I’m sure if they were in my situation they would of done same right? rather than causing a hazard and letting me out in the middle of the car park. It wasn’t as though it was a close spot either it was far away from the door!

    • IMOLady

      I know this might sound a little harsh but Im disabled and we dont even use the hanicapped parking places. I dont simply because Im still able to walk. I feel those spots should be used for people in wheel chairs, with canes or walkers. I have seizures and that doesnt keep me from walking. So it really upsets me when I see people using those spots simply because they are to lazy to walk. Even when I was pregnant, I didnt use those parking spaces either and I was High Risk. I just didnt feel right. For me, my husband just dropped me off at the door. For people with lots of kids, well what did your parents do when you where younger? We have gotten rather soft in this society. Our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents never complained because of these problems. No wonder other countries laugh at us anymore when we cant even walk 25 feet to the store from our vehicle without complaining.

    • goofyjj

      When I had to have several foot surgeries, you’re damn right I had my boyfriend park in the “expectant mother’s” spot. It’s a courtesy/suggestion, not law.

    • Crystal

      What I disagree with in the comments is the direct comparison of a complicated pregnancy with a disability. No one wants a complicated, painful pregnancy, nor do you know how your body will react, but you chose to carry a baby a term knowing all the risks.

      Also realize that the medical conditions and impairments you have while pregnant last a year at most (save for some maladies such as gestational diabetes). Those disabilities are temporary. Handicapped and disabled people suffer from chronic conditions that we cannot recover from–we must cope and adapt to the world around us.

      Your pregnancy is a choice, and your pain is temporary, and you get to resume an able-bodied life within months. Please do not compare it to being permanently disabled.

      • Chris Miller

        Um, as someone with invisible disabilities (though I don’t drive), not all disabilities are permanent and unchanging either. A hell of a lot of them fluctuate over time. That’s why every single country that has a welfare system for disability has reassessments at fixed time periods to check people are still disabled.

        (Also if you start having complications fairly late in the pregnancy, if it’s not likely to kill you they may well NOT have a choice to continue. Most places have a time limit on abortions unless continuing with the pregnancy will flat out kill the mother – and in some countries, not even then. Some places that time limit is as low as 20 weeks.)

        Sometimes when I’m in very bad pain I can’t help but remember that Dickinson poem –

        Pain has an element of blank.
        It cannot recollect
        When it began, or if there were
        A day when it was not.

        It has no future but itself,
        Its infinite realms contain
        Its past, enlightened to perceive
        New periods of pain.

    • Katie

      My mom used to park in the expectant mother’s spot when I was getting chemo. Someone once had the balls to yell at her for it and she said she was expecting her kid to be cancer-free. So what if I was 19?

    • Jessica Johnson

      On page 2: “But today’s generation of new parents begs to differ, claiming that cars are bigger now…” Um, people claiming that aren’t very bright, or they aren’t very old. 90% of cars are way smaller than they used to be. Seriously… compare today’s typical sedan with one from anytime pre-1990 (excluding compacts like the Chevette). Cars were HUGE in the 70s for example. Sure, there’s a few SUVs that are giant, but they aren’t any bigger than vans were. Heck, I doubt the wheelbase on my Excursion is any wider or longer than an early 80s station wagon. Way taller, but not any wider or longer. But your typical mommy’s SUV or minivan is not really that big.

    • ecogirlmh

      In NJ you just apply to DMV with an application that your doctor signs stating you need the temporary placard. Do the people saying ‘you can’t get one of those when you are pregnant!’ actually try and their doctor said no? If so, I can’t imagine their doctor thinks they need a close parking spot either…

    • ecogirl

      I always park in them if they are available. I have a lot of shopping to do, and am alone and have to carry a shit ton of bags. It’s not a legal parking spot, people. Get over yourselves. When someone asked me once ‘where is you kid?’ I looked at her and said ‘he’s in the fucking trunk’ and she just scurried away…

    • Barb Meinema

      I’m a Mom (whose baby is 36) and I have been disabled temporarily from hip and knee replacements, etc. I remember choosing to have my child. I remember it being considered “good for you” to exercise. I do NOT remember feeling as if I deserved any special treatment for choosing to have the amazing gift of a child. HOWEVER, this point, as has already been made clear, can go on endlessly. My thing is I see these spaces in front of me, and parked next to me is a person who is very aged, a bit bent over, and walking at less than half my pace (I’m 63). Where the heck are their spaces. The ones who are too proud to consider themselves disabled – who consider themselves grateful to be alive another day. I guess I’ll make a judgment – the younger generation is full of cry babies (probably because we spoiled them), while the older generation is proud of their hard work ethics and their independence. I applaud them and imagine them rolling their eyes as they walk past these new “courtesy” spots.