news

Driving with kids. This is why the two don't mix.

By JO ABI.

Do you want to know what kind of mother you are? Just try driving with kids.  Try and keep them fed and happy. Try and distribute snacks, sort out fights, negotiate lunch options and keep everyone happy.

Trust me, it just a matter of time before you head for a drive-through or stock up on portable electronic devices, and lollypops. Always keep HEAPS of them in your glove box. NEVER run out.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by the Nissan. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

My mum had a trick to shut us up in the car. If we were all fighting in the back seat, she’d tap on the brake. Just a tap. It let us know that if we didn’t cut it out she’d pull over and deal with us properly. It usually worked.

If the brake tap failed she might try slapping our legs while driving. This is a difficult move to master while driving but she became quite good at it. She’d deftly slap all three sets of legs in one, easy motion and the ten minutes of silence that followed must have been like heaven to her ears.

I never wanted to be the kind of mother who slapped or yelled. One out of two isn’t too bad, is it? Except when you yell in a car it’s pretty scary for children and the immediate guilt you feel makes it difficult to remember all the road rules. You’ll do a lot of apologetic waves to other drivers who, if they have an ounce of compassion, will see your car full of screaming and crying children (and one screaming and crying mother) and just stop and wave you through red lights, roundabouts and into parking spaces.

The most horrific incident involving my children and our car was definitely when I was a first-time mum. I lived an hour away from my parents and would visit them every Thursday.

Philip was such a good baby. We’d listen to children’s songs all the way there (shoot me) and on the way back he’d sleep soundly and I’d listen to Boney M or the Chess soundtrack (this car is not being driven by a cool mum, sorry).

One day Philip started crying as soon as I buckled him in for the drive home. Was he hungry, wet, sick? I’d fed him and changed him. I figured he wasn’t feeling well but would fall asleep at some staged during the drive.

About 30 minutes in I lost it. His crying had escalated into screeching and I was on a freeway and couldn’t stop.

“Stop crying,” I yelled and started sobbing.

We both cried the rest of the way home.

When we pulled in (I was now wailing) I got out of the car and started to unbuckle him to give him an apologetic hug when I saw that his skin on his stomach was CAUGHT IN THE BUCKLE.

I feel sick even just writing about this.

I am a monster. What kind of a mother would do this to her own child?

I almost called DOCS myself. Let’s just say this has NEVER happened again and his angry little pinched skin healed after a few days. I was devastated. It was my first really huge mummy-fail. I felt rotten for week, months, years… still do actually.

ADVERTISEMENT

Other highlights of long trips in the car include the famous vomiting episode of 2009. Philip was four and Giovanni was just a baby. We were driving daddy to the airport, again.

Philip was happy with his books and he was eating the fruit puree that comes in those plastic squeezy packs. Anyway, we’d just reached the fast road to the airport when he hurled, big time.

The funny thing is that pureed fruit looks EXACTLY THE SAME on the way out as it does in. Who knew?

It’s not easy to clean though. It’s very grainy.

The airport didn’t sell baby clothes so we draped him in a Qantas t-shirt and used three packs of wipes to try and clean the foul-smelling car.

I had it professionally cleaned the same day.

And speaking of professionally cleaned vehicles, I really should have mine done more often. I try and get it done once a month but it’s getting harder to find the time, even though the cleaners are at the shops, which I love.

It was three months since I’d had my car cleaned. It was a mess of food, crumbs and spilled drinks – in other words, ‘the usual’ except triple the amount.

I dropped the car off and we walked into the shops for babycinos and donuts.

When we came back an hour later the previously friendly gentlemen who’d booked my car in and had taken my keys for the clean wasn’t making eye contact.

Hmmm, he must be tired.

I buckled the kids into the now fabulously clean car and followed him into the office to pay for it.

He finally looked at me and said, “Your car was very dirty, next time I’ll have to charge you extra.”

Crap.

I offered to pay more this time but he shook his head. I was so embarrassed I decided to implement an immediate no-eating-in-the-car policy…which lasted a day and a half.

But I started getting my car cleaned more often, at a different car wash.

I carry vomit bags in the glove box now, as well as wet wipes and plastic grocery bags to catch vomit. I also have snacks and about eight bottles of water distributed in every cup and bottle holder.

For me I have Double Mint chewing gum and Red Vines. They are mummy’s special treats that thankfully, the kids think taste terrible. Perfect.

There’s not much we can’t handle in the car these days, but boy was it a steep learning curve.

(Please don’t call DOCS)

Comments on this post are for this post only. If you have questions or comments about this product or about sponsored posts in general please email [email protected] or visit our frequently asked questions page here.

Do you have a scary car trip story?  What do you do to survive driving with kids? What do you keep in your car to keep your kids entertained?

00:00 / ???