Are you a member of the entitled mummy club when it comes to supermarket parking?

Vicki Cockerill, parenting columnist. Photo: Vicki Cockerill

Vicki Cockerill, parenting columnist. Photo: Vicki Cockerill - Credit: Vicki Cockerill

In her latest column on parenting issues VICKI COCKERILL, from Dereham, looks at supermarket parking and the so-called Entitled Mummy Club...

It's Saturday, Tesco is full, and you have driven around the car park three times with no success in getting a space. Then you see a car pull up to the front of a store and slot itself into the closest parking space to the door and sigh. You see them get out and unbuckle the kids and wrestle them into the trolley. You meanwhile have found a space about a mile walk away from the door. You think to yourself that you should have risked it and parked in the parent and child space.

Parent and baby spaces and the misuse of them, is a hot topic. (I am still not 100% why it is that big of deal). You fall into one of three camps. Firstly, you are a parent who becomes annoyed at those who park in them when they do not have children as you have just had to drag your stubborn toddler and screaming baby half way across the car park. You declare war on the misuser of the space quoting your ability to have spawned entitles you to preferential treatment (also named the entitled mummy club).

Or, you sneakily use the parent space now and again, I mean you are only going to be five minutes. And you are technically a parent (to two cats). It isn't technically illegal.

But, lastly there is the camp that stands up for those mis-using the space after being called out on it, and they are who I like to call the entitled mummy bashers.

It seems to be a derogatory term used quite regularly and aimed at those who use being a parent as an excuse to wage war on the world. Being a parent is hard, I chose to do it, so I guess I will have to make my bed and lie in it. Am I an entitled mummy? No, I just expect manners and kindness. For example, if you saw a parent struggling up the stairs with a pram wouldn't you offer to help? Or on and off the bus? Does this make me an entitled mummy for expecting others to treat me as I would them? I would do the same with an elderly person and shopping trolley.

Most Read

I am grateful for things like the parent and baby spaces that make life as a parent a bit easier. Is it an entitlement? Because I am a parent I am entitled to a convenient parking space, well thank you very much. That surprisingly did not factor into my decision to have children.

From experience, my three-year-old has no sense of danger and enjoys running across car parks completely oblivious to the oncoming traffic. My baby is surgically attached to me 90% of the time and hates any form of containment device that you put him in, pram, car seat, his bed.

As soon as the car has parked, the toddler has unbuckled himself and is half way down the clothing aisle before you have even gotten out, and the baby continues to scream. The spaces were designed to help those with children safely and conveniently make their way into the store. The same premise I presume disabled spaces were created for those with mobility issues.

Now, I hear you call but if it's so much of an issue why take them shopping, go on your own or shop online. Sometimes it isn't feasible, and other times you just must get out of the house even if it is to put yourself through the torture of the weekly shop with two kids.

On the other side of the fence I can see just because I am a parent I get the preferential treatment of selective parking spaces can seem unfair. It is an inclusive club that you must have reproduced to join in where members must present the offspring at the gates to be granted entry to the elusive front of store parking spaces. Are we not all just trying to get in, get the gin and foot long sausage roll and get back out again?

There have been talks of an age limit being imposed, if your child no longer has a booster seat or is over the age of 12 you cannot use the space. Asda fined a pregnant woman for using one and Sainsbury's even went as far to say they patrol the spaces on the lookout for misuse of the golden ticket of parking entitlement.

The other day I saw a massive debate on the local community board regarding someone who had parked in the space without children, and a parent voicing their irritation at this. Is this really such a big deal or am I missing the point? Am I too preoccupied with things like rising poverty and homelessness in our local area and education cuts to really care?

Or perhaps, I am too busy penning the newsletter for the first entitled mummy club members.