The best purchase I’ve made as a new dad

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Ha – just kidding with the above picture. Although this has been useful at times. (Won this in a bet from my dad when Clara turned out to be a girl. We’ll save that story for another day). This story is about the best dad purchase I’ve made – ever.



Marty McFly had the DeLorean, Batman has the Batmobile, Michael Knight had KITT, and POTUS has Air Force 1. These gentlemen count on these respective modes of transportation to get from A to B, or present to past. Point is, one is synonymous with the other. There would be no world-saving, peace-treaty-negotiating, Biff-dominating, or Gotham-defending without the mobile ‘side-kicks.’ My best purchase as a new dad is no different…


The Graco Relay Click Connect Jogging Stroller (in the color of Fern) has been instrumental in promoting my abilities as a husband, father, and athlete. Additionally, if you see me on the trails, odds are: the Graco is right in front of me… With a waving to strangers, graham cracker-eating, and water chugging toddler strapped in safely.


I’ve even done some A-B testing to show weight to the pairing (me and the stroller).


We have our typical times to head out for a jog and, from time to time, we see the same folks running the trails too. They’ll always smile (if they can still breath with the oppressive humidity) and throw up the runners-wave (this is a minimal effort raising of the index and middle fingers of the hand closest to the other runner. It’s a hello without expending major efforts that would throw off your rhythm). We’ve even exchanged words with some of these weekend-warriors from time to time.


If I’m out there without the Graco though, they don’t even know who I am. It’s like Superman without the cape, just doesn’t look right. It may have had something to do with the lack of a waving toddler but I’m not exactly sure. The study’s variables weren’t controlled for… My bad.




You know what I do know? The jogging stroller has come up huge in clutch situations more often than not. Here are 5 reasons why all you dads out there, new and less new, should pony up for the life-changer that is the Graco.


1) Mom gets some space and time to herself


We know that moms work their tails off, day and night. They can be professionals, nurturers, homemakers, and wives, just to name a few. All of that stuff can be exhausting – 1 out of 1 wives have confirmed it to be so.


You know what mom will love either after a whole day with the kids or a jaunt to the office…? A full time-out – none of this 30 second nonsense.


Close your eyes and imagine this setting. Your wife walks in the door and sees you in your jogging shorts and socks (shirt optional). She thinks, “Man, he’s looking pretty good… Wait, he’s going to workout and leave me here with the kids!?!? I just need a few minutes to change and decompress.” You tell her that you and the little one are heading for a jog then she puts all missile defenses back to idle… Now you’re the savior. Good job dad.


2) Some serious dad-kid bonding can be done


I’ve made a habit out of ‘picking Clara up’ after work with the Graco rather than the car. The staff, parents, and other kids know what’s going on when that green-fern stroller turns the corner toward school. Clara’s dad’s here and it’s time to put the toys and snacks away – it’s time for Clara to head home.


On the trails and sidewalks it’s just me and the little lady. We go over nature – birds, trees, leaves, sky, clouds, the geese that Clara still calls, “Ducccck!” I’ll grab a leaf while running by and hand it to her – that’s learning by feel, can’t get that in the books. We’ll also ‘talk’ about where Clara can find her head, ears, hair, toes, teeth (her mom is a dentist and this may have been the first part of her anatomy she learned about…), and… belly.


Of course our regulars on the trail only see the crazy dude running behind the stroller catching thrown sunglasses and handing graham crackers up to the snickering toddler, what isn’t normal about that?


Point is we’re bonding, learning, and I’m loving every minute.


3) It’s exercise


I’m not only running, I’m pushing a stroller with a weighted human (don’t know exactly what weight – never ask a lady her weight) that’s gaining poundage each week. The towed cargo is always seeming to increase as well. Crackers, ice water (for her), cloths, bag from school…


Just a minor uptick in speed is positively correlated to a sharp increase in heart-rate. It’s a calorie-burning good time that can leave me feeling a bit sore the next day.


4) Versatility is key


The Graco isn’t restricted to the trails and off-road excursions. Oh no… Those large, air-inflated wheels have earned high marks in cornering which comes up huge when navigating department store aisles. She (the stroller) folds up nicely when compared with her peers and fits perfectly in the trunk, making portability a cinch.


She’s been to the zoo, grocery store (yes, next to the shopping cart), church, weddings, mall, beach. I asked Monica to name a few other lo-cals and her response was, “Where haven’t we taken the stroller.” Couldn’t say it better myself.


5) Junior is learning to make fitness a priority


Finally, they call it a ‘jogging’ stroller for a reason. All those after school pickups and Saturday mornings on the trails are all etching tiny marks in Clara’s mind. She’s either thinking that dad is crazy frugal and will not, under any circumstance, waste gas, or she’s learning that making fitness a priority is part of life.


We try to make fitness a family activity so that as Clara grows, having fun and being outdoors will be second nature. Maybe it’s a whimsical fantasy that manifests in our rosy-colored minds, or maybe – just maybe – we’re on to something here.


In the case of Mike v. not purchasing a jogging stroller, the prosecution rests. 


Thanks for reading!


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– Mike
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