Hello, amazing parents,
Back when your baby was nothing but a “twinkle in his father’s eye” (as my Dad used to say); you probably never imagined what your days would be like as a parent. Then, when you popped a sprog, you found out that it was very different to what your family and friends had described.
They promised you sleepless nights and hours spent cleaning and cooking, but almost everyone forgets to mention that your second home, particularly when your kids get older, is your car.
I’ve heard parents lamenting that their “mobile homes” resemble a junkyard after an earthquake, with various Happy Meal toys fighting for space among items of clothing, forgotten lunch boxes, pieces of furniture and small animals. Just kidding about the furniture.
If you have a couple of active kids, you’ll be ferrying them to and from school events, sports days, friend’s houses and the shops daily, in rows of cars full of other parents doing the same thing. Moms doing their make up at the wheel, dads staring into the middle distance as they fret about the day ahead. But the car ads don’t tell you that. Whenever you see a family in a car ad, they’ll be having a sing-a-long in their immaculate seats that have never seen toddler-inflicted yoghurt stains.
For some of us, the hours spent glancing at our kids in the rear view mirror are more than the hours we spend getting to know them at home. It’s not ideal, but you can actually have some great chats between fighting about who gets to sit by the window. You can play games, share laughs and take your mind (not your eyes!) off the traffic.
It’s a skill getting children to behave well in a confined space. I can still hear my Mum’s frustration with her sons as children. “That’s IT!” she’d say, “I’m stopping right HERE!” But we also had some great trips with our parents. Memorable ones.
Don’t forget that the new laws have come into effect, though. Seat belts and car seats are mandatory. Wearing a seat belt is a habit your child won’t forget if you remind them daily, every time you get into the car.
There’s so much more to being a mobile parent than simply being “Mom’s Taxi”, you can invent all sorts of wonderful things to do to make those hours count.
We’d love to hear your creative ideas for hours spent in the car. How do you and your kids keep from going crazy? Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org and you could feature on your favourite parenting site!