Sometimes, on the way home from the school pick up, I feel a little like this.
Because there is one thing, and one thing alone, that truly defines a mom’s car – capacity, completely independent of, and unrelated to, size of said car.
Admittedly i have a large car, but it still never ceases to amaze me how much can fit in that car. On any given Friday afternoon, for example, the contents of my car include:
- four school bags, of the large and incredibly heavy variety;
- four tog bags, stuffed so full with jerseys and tracksuit tops that they cannot be zipped up and so look like they contain the remnants of dead red octopus;
- four hockey bags, the long and unwieldy type, designed by someone who has 6 foot tall children and a car to match;
- four lunch bags, all at various stages of disgusting;
- four half empty chip packets / frozen yoghurt tubs / liquifruit boxes;
- at least two tennis / squash rackets, which were left in the boot of the car from tennis / squash the day before;
- at least two pairs of shoes, be they slip slops or takkies, belonging to my youngest who seems to think that my car is the equivalent of a Japanese home, which requires one to remove ones shoes on entry;
- a pencil case, filled with everything you need to do homework, except a pencil;
- yesterday’s school lunch sandwiches, which we try and remember to give to the guy at the robot, in return for him not washing my windscreen;
- a bag of clothing that needs to be returned to the shops from whence it came because everything is too small (possibly because said bag has been sitting in the boot for about a year);
- a spare running cap;
- a warm jacket, possibly two, because I was too exhausted to remove them the day before after I had already done twice my running distance just emptying the crap from the backseat;
- a water bottle, lovingly filled by my Other Half as his part of the morning duties. Still full. Next to that, two empty paper coffee cups.
- This week’s arts and crafts, which always, always entails glitter. Or playdough. Another personal favourite.
- A piece of lego hair.
- At least three hair elastics.
- And, without fail, two or three dried out wrinkly muffin papers. Even though I haven’t fed my kids muffins this week.
(And now, thanks to Pick ’n Pay, a gazillion tiny pieces of cardboard torn off the end of every set of Super Animal cards. So grateful for that. Really.)
Then add to that four children. Loud. And excitable. And one driver. Whose real superpower is not that of getting these four children home, so much as it is fitting them in the car in-between all the crap. It’s a little like a live game of tetris.
My other half shakes his head in equal measures of dismay and disgust. How do I allow my car to get to this state?
The answer is fairly simple: You know those magic milk bottles, the ones that appear to empty when feed your doll but then automatically fill up with ‘milk’ when you stand them upright? That’s my car.
It simply doesn’t matter how often I empty it, how many bags and rackets and hockey sticks and lunch boxes and crispy muffin papers and half eaten sandwiches and single slipslops and dirty socks and empty coffee cups I remove, it just seems to fill up to the same point. Every. Single. Day.
It drives my Other Half insane.
His car, of course, is pristine. The only thing in there is a water bottle. The kids aren’t even allowed to eat in there. Me neither, come to think of it.
This morning, because the Vuma team was coming to install our fibre (Hip Hip Hooray!) the Other Half was with us for the morning drop off (so he could give high-level tech instructions, which turned out to be “Okay, just leave the cable on the roll. We’ll decide later where to put it.”).
Needless to say, before he would deign to drive my car, he embarked on what we call a Saunderise. (So pedantic is my Other Half about cleanliness that his surname has been verbed.)
By the time we set off for school (late, I might add), there were precisely eight items in the boot – two school bags, two tog bags, two lunch bags, two hockey bags.
Make that nine. Because the one item the girls wouldn’t let him remove is the oversized tennis ball. You know, the one that rolls around in the boot and bumps against the seats at every turn, and every stop, unless it’s firmly wedged into place by the tetris champion of the world?
I thought he was going to grind his teeth to the gums before we got to school!
Because if there is one other difference between Driving Like a Mom, and Driving Like a Dad, it’s that moms have the added superpower of being able to tune out virtually any sound in their cars. You would too if you had to listen to One Direction every morning.