This blog is coming straight from the trenches of parenting. It was last week, while I was driving my kids the 7 minutes from our house to swimming, that I realized I really needed to blog about the craziness it is to drive children. Seriously though, if I thought that driving a minivan would allow my kids to be far enough away from me that I wouldn’t have to hear them or their 1000 requests and demands while I was driving a very heavy vehicle, I might just go buy a Toyota Sienna right now. But, I know better. My children have loud mouths and even an extra row of seats wouldn’t stop them from believing that I should be able to grant every wish they have for the duration of our car trip.
Why is it that the second they are buckled in and I put the car in drive do they need gum, mints, the window down, then up, the moonroof open and then closed and then the shade closed because apparently now it is too sunny. Then, they need me to pick up the one toy that I allow in the car, that has now fallen onto the floor, which of course is no where near anywhere I can reach while I. AM. DRIVING. A. CAR. Every car trip seems like a nightmare. And then the screaming! Somehow someone has managed to upset them so much by the 5 minute mark, that now the car is filled with screaming. I understand why parents have those built in iPads or TVs or whatever in their car. It’s frickin’ lunacy. Just yesterday I was driving home after taking them to a trampoline park and my son got so upset at me because he asked for gum (which I gave him) and he dropped it (not my fault) and that I didn’t have anymore gum (because I gave them my last piece to share even though I will probably have smelly breath at some point this week and I won’t have any gum and will probably offend my clients) that he let out the loudest, most PTSD triggering scream I have ever heard. I had to pull over and just sit there until he could stop and be kind before I could keep driving. I think my heart raced for 30 minutes after that. Sudden screaming. Not my jam.
So what do we do? How do we survive? What should we do? There’s probably some parents somewhere who have mastered this. I know if I just let them watch a screen the whole time, there wouldn’t be a peep but I just can’t reconcile with this. That’s a lot of screen time and I really prefer to use the screen time I do give them, as a babysitter for times that I get ready for work, cook dinner or try to have a peaceful conversation with my husband. Sometimes, I can put on music that they enjoy and if they are in just the right mood, they will just sing and dance and forget about the laundry list of car demands. Sometimes we play I Spy until my daughter insists that my son doesn’t know how to actually play and gets annoyed with him. And sometimes, I do allow them to play music on my phone but that means that I have to listen to Larry from VeggieTales sing the first verse over and over because my 3 year old doesn’t really know how to choose songs or how to let a whole song play through. Mostly, I just drive fast, blast old school rap and hope there is wine on the other end of the car ride.
What’s the point of this rant?? Well, partially, I really just needed to get this off my chest. No one tells you about this before you make the decision to have a child. For real, this is what 7th grade health teachers should be talking about as a form of contraception. But really, parents, please just know that you are not alone. I am struggling and it’s my job to help parents parent. It’s okay to struggle and not know what to do or question what you are doing, it’s part of the job. Don’t give up. Keep trying. Pretty soon your child will be 16 and can drive you around and then you get to scream when your gum falls out of your mouth.