06/03/2015 06:44 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Get Out Of My Space! The Politics Of Parent And Child Spaces

Parking for familie only

If there's one thing guaranteed to send me into a rage when we've run out of milk, it's people who hijack Parent and Child parking spaces when they don't have a child with them.

And let's be clear here: just because you once gave birth to someone who is now a gangly teenager doesn't mean you still need a parking slot designed for shoehorning toddlers out of car seats and then herding them to the shop door without danger of oncoming traffic. Nor does it matter if there's a Maxi Cosi in the back of your four wheel drive - if it's unoccupied, park elsewhere!


I wouldn't dream of taking a disabled spot, so what gives certain individuals the right to think they can take a Parent and Child spot just because they can't be arsed to walk an extra 50 metres, or don't know how to park properly?


It's bad enough shopping with children without having to weave them through aisles of cars just to get to the entrance.

The other week, having forgotten to add various essential items to my online delivery (why is the cut-off point so early and why do kids eat so much?) the only option was to haul all three of them down to the nearest supermarket.

As usual, the Parent and Child Spaces were all taken, so I was forced to squeeze into a slot only millimetres bigger than my battered people carrier (the perks of three children.) Incidentally, there were plenty of disabled spaces available, though naturally I left those alone.

I then embarked on getting the kids out of their car seats and into the camel-toe sized gap between our car and the next. In case you're wondering, it's like trying to get the triangle shape through the oval hole of the shape sorter and we all know how frustrating that is.


We then do a perilous slalom through the busy car park, trying to avoid those drivers who are oblivious to anything but empty rectangles.


A few metres before the store entrance, we pass the coveted Parent and Child spots, just in time to see a woman in killer heels strut over to something offensively sporty and slide into the driver's seat.

She is unashamedly childless and the car looks like it should be on Top Gear not in a supermarket car park. There's not so much as a sticky mark on the back seat. In fact, there are no back seats.

I glare at her selfish, impervious face and mutter something about 'child parking,' while trying to conjure up something more cutting to say. And failing. The only words I can think of I can't risk the kids repeating, so I stifle them somewhere around my tonsils.

The woman drives off content in the knowledge she's not the one who went shopping in tracksuit bottoms, while I am left seething and dreaming up revenge (and wishing I'd worn something less slummy-mummy.)

So parents; it's time these parking offenders were punished. Forget fines, or naming and shaming, I have a much better idea. From now on, anyone who takes a Parent and Child space, when not accompanied by a small human will be forced to experience the joys of shopping with one.

Or more.

On arrival, they will be greeted by at least two tetchy, hungry, supermarket-hating pre-schoolers, who will insist on 'helping.' Before, this 'helping' can begin, one of them will need a poo, or have done one already and require changing.


The parking offender will then be made to sample the delights of the store's 'changing facilities' where there will be a queue, an overflowing nappy bin and yet more supermarket-hating children.


Once toilet and changing duties have been completed, shopping may commence. One child will make a fuss about sitting in the trolley, then suck the festering straps, while the other(s) will attempt to hang off the back of it, creating an accident-waiting-to-happen.

All children will make a grab for any products that are a) unsuitable due to their high sugar / salt / preservative content. b) feature well-known children's characters on the packaging. c) both of the above. Naturally, all of these products will be conveniently located within easy reach of anyone under four foot tall.

Attempting to remove these sugar-laden, Disney endorsed items from the trolley, will result in an earthquake sized tantrum to the tune of 'Let it Go.' This will lead to unwanted attention from strangers and premature termination of the shopping trip, eradicating any hope of reaching the wine section - conveniently situated furthest away from the exit.

By the time the parking offender reaches the checkout, they will have been deterred from ever unwarrantedly parking in a Parent and Child space again, leaving a few more for the rest of us.

Well, possibly. Though just in case this doesn't become law, don't forget to place your online grocery order this week.

More on Parentdish:

Boastful car stickers? Give me a break!

Chris Hoy discovers the best thing about being a dad - parent and child parking!