Mom mobile adventures
My mom mobile is getting rather cluttered.
The trusty Toyota I’ve been driving since college — back when she was but a shiny toy, fresh from the lot with that wonderful new car smell — has served me well, but I can’t shake the feeling that our days together are numbered.
Not because she’s slowing down or anything. I mean, this car is a tank — and with less than 130,000 miles, I know she has a lot of life left in her. My first Corolla, a hand-me-down from my dad, easily passed 200,000 miles and would have kept chugging if not for a worn transmission, the replacement of which would have cost more than the old girl was worth. As I was also getting ready to start commuting to College Park, it was time for something more road-worthy.
But friends, that first car was a beaut. She served the fami- ly well. The red paint job had faded to a princess-worthy pink by the time I inherited her, but that was nothing a few cow print seat covers couldn’t spruce up. I remember sitting in my parents’ driveway with a pack of Armor All wipes, cleaning every nook and cranny the summer I got my learner’s permit. It was enough to know I could take her out on the road . . . I just didn’t necessarily want to.
Later, with more confidence, I drove the wheels off the Red Bomb through high school and my first year of college. Because my car was so distinc- tive-looking, she was tough to lose in parking lots — a plus. And once equipped with a working CD player, she was perfect for blasting early John Mayer, ’NSYNC and Hanson. The Bomb was reliable until that last gasp before donation, a quality I appreciate even more as an adult.
When that Corolla died, we got a second one. I remember going with my parents to a lot near Baltimore just before Christmas, my dad advising me to “choose wisely” because, if I took care of the vehicle, someday I could be cruising around with my own kid in the backseat.
A mom mobile? Right. At 19, the idea of rigging up a car seat was laughable. And yet, 12 years later, here we are: still driving the Toyota, just now with my little passenger. It’s hard to remember what it was like to not have a car seat back there. And soon there will be two. The transition from newlyweds to new parents wasn’t seamless, as I’ve shared many times — and one of the unexpected challenges of having a child was the sudden lack of space in our vehicles. Both my husband and I drive sedans usually filled with clutter, and a baby brings a great deal of new stuff into your life.
I was good for a while. I actually cleaned out my trunk, a gathering place for random stuff I’ve never known what to do with but somehow couldn’t get rid of: old college textbooks; broken umbrellas; winter gear I never wear, but somehow think I need. The trunk also had the requisite emergency kit (complete with flares), jumper cables and a spare tire. Very adult of me.
When baby Oliver arrived, the trunk also became home to things like an ungainly fold-up stroller and overflowing diaper bag. I was resistant to cleaning out the trunk to actually make room for these baby items because, in my laziness, it seemed “easier” to just jam them in with the random junk than actually, you know . . . go through and get rid of said junk.
I wised up eventually. And can I just say how freeing it was to have a useable trunk for the first time in my life? I still find myself reverting to bad habits, wanting to stuff it full of what I can’t part with, but even that is getting harder.
Logistically, there’s just no room.
On an errand day we might run out to both Target and the grocery store, stocking up on bulky diaper boxes and fami- ly-sized packs of chicken, life gets interesting. Fitting every- thing into half the backseat and the trunk of my Corolla requires advanced Tetris-level planning. Spencer has had to ride home with bags and boxes in his lap.
And when we’re buying home improvement supplies like wood? Forget it. Spence has actually had to drive home to unload and come back for me later. I used that time to get in some steps on the ol’ Fitbit, pacing the store for 40 minutes. (Which worked out well, actually. Except for the whole “looking weird and suspicious” thing.)
There’s an easy solution to this, of course: a bigger vehicle. But those require funds. With both of our cars currently paid off, I’m resistant to taking on more debt as we take on a second baby . . . and all the diapers and daycare that will accompany her.
Still, it’s something to consider. As it stands, it’s tough to imagine having enough room to transport a single toothbrush with two car seats and all the accompanying baby gear in the trunk.
But we’ll find a way — for awhile, at least. Until it makes us completely crazy.
With errant snacks, strewn toys and empty coffee cups littering every surface, the Silver Bomb’s transition to mom mobile will be complete. And honestly? That makes me proud.
A few more adventures await.