I was warned about how much driving I would do as a stay-at-home mom. I see the vans with the Mom Taxi bumper sticker or the little army of stick people and I raise my fist in a somber salute as I pass them in the carpool line. I knew that “chauffeur” was in the job description. What I DIDN’T know about were the other jobs encompassed under that heading, all to be accomplished while operating a motor vehicle and, you know, trying not to commit vehicular manslaughter.
The Many Jobs of a Mom Behind the Wheel:
1. DJ Mamamatic
Between my two Frozen-obsessed girls, my superhero theme song loving dude, and my own desire to listen to something sung by an adult for adults occasionally, I feel like I am trying to create the world’s most epic (and schizophrenic) playlist. Thank goodness for Spotify; sometimes Mamamatic just lets shuffle take over, kids.
2. The Claw
Have you ever leaned your seat back to max capacity at a stop light and felt frantically around like an insane blind person to find a stuffed sheep head with a blanket for a body just to STOP THE SHRIEKING? Because “Mommy can’t reach it right now, she’s driving” is just an excuse, and excuses are for the weak.
3. The Vending Machine
We cannot drive for longer than three minutes without someone needing a snack, a drink, or a fully catered meal with cloth napkins. I have thrown fruit snacks over my shoulder more times than I can count.
4. The Clean Up Crew
We can not drive for longer than four minutes without someone spilling a snack, a drink, or a fully catered meal with cloth napkins.
5. The Mediator
I swore I would never threaten to “turn this car around if you don’t keep your hands to yourself,” but heaven help me, there are only so many times you can glare ominously into the rear view mirror and not be taken seriously before you get desperate and pull out the big guns. It is hard to negotiate peace between two completely unreasonable parties when you can’t even really see what tiny plastic thing they are fighting over.
6. The Entertainer
When DJ Mamamatic is on a break (or the iPhone didn’t get charged again), you may find yourself called upon to recall and recite either A) Disney movies and/or soundtracks in their entirety, B) all of the knock-knock jokes you know, or C) fascinating bits of trivia that you may or may not have made up.
7. Nap Facilitator
So help me I will drive through snow, sleet, or REALLY having to go to the bathroom for hours if all (or even most) of my children are sleeping. Sacrifice is the name of the game for a road-tripping mama.
One of the best side-jobs of a mom behind the wheel, is getting to listen to your kids when they forget you are listening, or when they are strapped in and have no option but to talk to you. I have heard their imaginations at work together in the backseat, questions of surprising depth, stories about school and teachers and friends, made up jokes and songs, and some really impressive sing-alongs.
Sometimes the front seat of the car can be the best seat in the house.
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