The Superpowers Parents Use While Driving

The superpowers parents use while driving

You know those annoying people who don’t get their driver’s license until well into adulthood? I am one of them. I learned to drive when I was heavily pregnant with my eldest and I worried that I wouldn’t have the same confidence and skills as those who had been driving longer. I didn’t realise then that having kids puts you an accelerated driving course. I never quite got around to studying defensive driving but parenthood has given me it’s own particular set of super power driving skills. Maybe you have them too?

  • Going into a zen like trance when I am asked for the millionth time whether we are there yet.
  • Employing the same zen technique when my son decides he has a burning and important question that demands an immediate answer as I am trying to turn right across peak hour traffic.
  • The ability to obtain a packet of whatever snack I happen to have out of my bag, open whatever snack and hand it to the child demanding food, all without taking my eyes off the road and keeping one hand on the wheel. At the same time, hoping said snack is still within date.
  • Not losing my cool as my son asks whether I really do know where I am going and shouldn’t we consult the GPS?
  • The capacity to retrieve whatever random toy has been thrown out of the carseat and onto the back seat floor. I can grope around with one hand and find a tiny car during a traffic light change and not miss a beat. I do the exact same thing at the next light change. And the next. And the next.
  • Taking slight detours to avoid driving past golden arches and the inevitable pestering that will come as a result.
  • Singing loudly enough over questionable radio favourites to convince my kids that my alternative is the right one. We don’t sing “Shut up and dance with me”, we sing, “Stand up and dance with me.”  Gangnam Style’s “Hey Sexy Lady” became “Chips and Gravy”. I am still working on something for “Get Stupid”. 
  • Knowing the exact distance it will take my toddler to nod off, falling asleep the moment we arrive home and feeling like a rock star for having achieved it.
  • I drive an SUV as does every other parent I know. They are wide. Car parks are increasingly narrow. Yet I can shimmy my toddler out of the car without so much as touching the car parked next to me. Saying that, my car seems to be a magnet for stationery objects. But sometimes even super powers have their limits.

But it’s not just me. I find that my actual car has family-specific super powers. 

  • Five minutes after I clean it, it’s messy again.
  • The fuel gauge will always hit empty with the minimum amount of time available and maximum amount of children in the car. One of those children will be asleep.
  • When I go to fill up, the fuel discount voucher I have been carefully saving will have expired one day prior.
  • Numerous Woolies animal cards will sprout from under every seat, the glove box and the console. But only after my kids have completed the set.
  • These things will always be in the car: water bottles, a towel, a picnic blanket, a bike pump, umbrellas, extra clothes for the kids, nappies, baby wipes, sunscreen, random shoes. Except when I really need any of those things. Then they will mysteriously disappear, be way too small or have completely run out.
  • It doesn’t matter how often I clean the car seat, under the car seat or around the car seat. It remains a sticky, horrible mess.
  • The rare moment when I have the car all to myself (also known as a ‘mum’s holiday’) and I want to enjoy some of my own tunes, I will realise the only CD in the car is “Puff the Magic Dragon”.

Has parenthood changed the way you drive?

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Image: Getty