Parking Lot Etiquette During Car Seat Combat

Family Travel on 05.09.11
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Photo Credit: Katie Morton

Today in a busy parking lot, my backside was nearly assaulted by an SUV. At least it felt that way. I was bent over with my head in the backseat of my car while I buckled my daughter into her car seat. When I felt the hot breath of a car on my hindquarters, I straightened up and turned around to see if I was about to be mowed down.

A young woman with long hair and big sunglasses was waiting to pull into the spot next to me, but my car door was splayed wide open to accommodate my car seat tomfoolery. I briefly attempted to gauge whether I could close the door enough to let her car pass while continuing the strap wrangling (the answer was no) so I persisted, all the while aware of the seconds ticking by as I fumbled with the buckles.

As I finished and stood up again, I was intending to mouth a, "Sorry!" with a wave. When I turned around, the woman had pulled her car so close that I was afraid she was going to take my car door off. When I saw the thin line of her lips pressed together in frustrated irritation, I decided that I wasn't sorry after all.

Is This a Case of Non-Breeder, No Empathy?

On my drive home, I wondered, "What exactly is the etiquette in that situation?"

Should I have shut my car door to let the woman pull in? No freaking way, as my daughter is stricken with a bad case of NAFOD (no apparent fear of death) and she frequently lunges full-throttle at any and all objects of interest. Closing the car door without buckling her first would have been a regrettable experiment.

Should I have picked my daughter back up out of the car seat, closed the door and flattened myself against my vehicle so this (seething) woman (trying not to call her names) could pull in? That would have taken the same amount of time as going ahead and finishing my buckle job.

So that's my side of the story, but we all know there are two sides to every story. Let's look at this scenario from the lady's point of view. See, I called her a lady that time.

Was I Just Being a One of Those Selfish Mom Jerk Faces?

First of all, she was quite obviously in a hurry. Here ambles a mom wearing - eye roll please - YOGA PANTS - I was coming from the gym, do not judge! Anyway, here ambles this stretchy-pant-wearing mom oblivious to everything but her loin fruit.

Knowing the limitations of that very busy parking lot, her giant SUV was probably in the way of other cars trying to squeeze by. So maybe she was trying to get out of the way of passing vehicles and she really had no idea that her car was blowing hot air on my butt.

Speaking of my spandex-covered rump, how annoying would it be to have one pointed at you for what probably feels like infinity while you wait to park? Pretty annoying.  

So while I don't know what I could have done differently aside from my choice of pantaloons, I'm not sure what exactly I wanted her to do either. Roll down her window and tell me, non-sarcastically, to take my sweet time? Throw me a parade? Wolf whistle at my keister? Perhaps.

Katie Morton is the founder of The Monarch Company. Get a FREE copy of her eBook, 10 Steps to a Blissful You, to get started on developing extraordinary willpower for life.

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