I’ve developed a kind of parking lot phobia. And it’s completely not-insane. You see I’m generally one of those lucky people who get a good parking near the entrance to the shopping mall, or wherever, probably because my kids are up at the crack of dawn so we get to places before more sensible humans are even awake. But here’s the problem…when we are leaving parking is filling up and people don’t like to walk 100 meters from their car to the entrance. But they are in a huge rush. Huuuuge rush.

What non-kid parkers do not understand is that I have two kids. That’s two small people that need to be forcibly restrained in car seats. And those things are tricky, the car seats I mean. Plus there’s the pram. All of my shopping is stashed in the basket below so it needs to be unpacked before the pram is folded up, then the pram goes in the boot, followed by packing all the shopping on top. It’s a logistical nightmare. Oh and then someone needs water, and I’m not skipping giving my kid a drink because a stranger wants to park where I currently am. No. Thirsty kids are angry kids.

I’ve always assumed that when someone sees a mom approaching their car with pram and kids in-tow they know it might take a while to leave the parking. Obviously not. When I had just moved to Australia, on the first day my husband started working, I had a parking lot incident. I was about 7 months pregnant and even though I was alone in a new place I decided to venture out with my then two year old to pass the day exploring the local shopping center. As I waddled back to my car a woman pulled up waiting to take my parking. I got my son into the car as fast as is pregnantly possible and packed in the pram and paraphernalia. The woman waiting must have felt I was not getting out of her desired parking with enough hustle because she started hurling insults at me. “Selfish bitch” was one of them (Oh really). This was a bit too much for overly hormonal pregnant me and what I would usually shrug off resulted in a “I’m in a new country I can’t do this” melt down when I got home. After that when someone wanted to take my parking I started to panic.

That’s until the wisdom of age, courtesy of my mom, stepped in. “As long as you’re in the parking it’s yours you can stay as long as you like. They can find another parking” was her advice when she saw me rushing to buckle the kids in. So this is what I now do – as soon as I see someone pull up I tell them I’m leaving, but not ANY time soon. I make sure they acknowledge what I’ve said. I’m not going to ruin my day and get frantic because they are too lazy to walk a bit. Once they’ve acknowledged this, the ball is in their court. They can go find another parking or sit and wait while frustratedly tapping their steering wheel. But that’s their deal. Am I bothered? No. Do I look bothered? No. Tap away dear impatient parker, tap away.