The other day I was sitting alone in my mini-van in the Target parking lot, enjoying a rare moment of peace and quiet. When I glanced at the car next to me, I saw another mom playing on her phone... just like I was. I gave her a nod of solidarity and a little smile, then went back to my game. I didn't judge her, or any of the other moms who were probably doing the same thing. In fact, there are things all moms do when they're alone in their car, because those brief child-free moments are nothing short of necessary vacations from our busy lives. And we totally deserve them.
Most of the time, driving in the car is pain in the you-know-what. It seems like the kids are always touching each other, arguing, asking me to put on their favorite song, or begging me to go through a drive thru for dinner. So by the time we get to our destination, I am often completely stressed out and ready to sell my vehicle for pennies on the dollar. But when I actually get to drive somewhere without kids? Well, I savor that time alone, my friends. I drive slower, sing louder, and I am not ashamed of any of it.
So from time to time you can find me sitting in my car in a parking lot, playing on my phone, or in my driveway simply taking a breath before I go inside. Chances are high you'll see me singing loudly at a stoplight, or simply enjoying a latte in sweet, sweet silence. I deserve those moments of peace, an uninterrupted snack, or to groove to my favorite songs. I would appreciate it if you pretended not to notice me, though, especially when you see me doing any of the following:
We Play The Music We Like
My kids and I have very different taste in music. When I drive them to school or the store, they always ask me to put on their favorite song or radio station. And if I try to ignore them, and play the music I want to hear, it only gets worse. So yeah, when I am alone in the car I listen to the music I actually like, rather than being tortured by my kids' choices.
We Pretend We're Child-Free
There's something about driving down the highway by myself that makes me feel like I've somehow gone back in time and am, once again, child- and care-free. Of course, all it takes to bring me back to reality is to glance in the rear-view mirror and see the car seats, a diaper bag, and the dirty mini-van I'm driving.
We Park... Anywhere
I am not ashamed to admit that I often sit in my parked car alone for, well, I while. I'll park in my driveway, parking lots, at school pick-up, or where ever I happen to be that will allow me to just sit in silence for a second. It feels so amazing to be able to do what I want on my own, at least a little while, even if it has to be in my car.
We Play On Our Phones
Having a toddler means that playing on my phone turns into its own little game, in which he will inevitably try to steal it or crawl onto my lap, and I will attempt to keep the phone out of his reach (usually to not avail). In other words, I usually only get to play on my phone when he is sleeping. The one exception is in my car. I find a place to park, and get caught up on social media, game-playing, and selfie-taking.
We Buy Starbucks
There's nothing more wonderful than going through the Starbuck's drive thru by myself. I don't have to listen to my kid beg for hot chocolate that they probably won't drink, or a cookie that I was not planning on purchasing. I get to order without being interrupted and then drink a hot or cold beverage in the silence of my minivan. Sometimes, I even park my car and go inside. Whoa.
We Sing... Loudly
I love to sing along to songs on the radio. However, when my kids are in the car they tell me, regularly, how much they hate it when I sing. They will say things like, "No, mom, stop," or correct me when I inevitably get the lyrics wrong. When I am by myself, though, I get to sing what I want, when I want, without the comments of a very critical audience.
We Speed... Just A Little
I try to follow all posted traffic laws when my babies are in the car. Sometimes, however and when I am alone, I throw caution to the wind and go a couple of miles over the speed limit. I'm such a rebel.
We Enjoy Silence
I have five kids, which means I only get to enjoy brief moments of silence during the day. So, when I am alone in my car, I sometimes leave the radio off and just enjoy the sounds of my own thoughts. It's so peaceful.
We Get Organized
As a busy mom, it's hard to stay organized. But sometimes, during those spare moments in a silent care, I can spend my time meal planning, making grocery lists, price matching, and seeing if they have the item I am looking for at the store before I go inside. It's amazing how productive I can be when I am actually alone for a change.