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I Am Not A Bad Driver. I Am A Mom.

by Alex Iwashyna

in Marriage, Motherhood

N does NOT like her car seat. She lasts about ten minutes (if I’m lucky and have three pacifiers, four sets of keys and a clown  in the trunk). She would look like this plus snot if I could see her:

So during these hysterical spells, I like to call my husband at work. I don’t have much to say, but I like him to know what my days are like as a stay-at-home mom who takes her children out of the house (the acronym we prefer is SAHMWTHCOOTH. Urban dictionary entry #2.)

S: Hello wife on line two.

Me: WHAT? CAN YOU HEAR ME?

S: Is that the Bean?

Me: EITHER THAT OR A CAT IS STUCK UNDER THE TIRE AGAIN.

S: I’m sorry.

Me: SHE’S BEEN CRYING LIKE THAT FOR TEN MINUTES. I HAVE PULLED OVER TWICE. {sniffle sniffle} WE HAVE TO TURN HER SEAT AROUND. OR I WILL DIE.

S: You know in Sweden they recommend the car seats to be rear-facing until four years old.

Me: OH REALLY? ARE YOU PLANNING TO GET ME A SWEDISH DRIVER? BECAUSE OTHERWISE I’M TURNING HER SEAT AROUND.

Even our pediatrician commented that moms are probably better drivers when their children are NOT screaming. But with all the sippy-cup-passing, raisin-catching, toy-searching, and mama-ducking as plastic baseballs are lobed at my head, I haven’t turned her seat around.  I’m not sure that it would help.  So I whittle away the time texting and tweeting at the stoplights. Hey! My husband’s not always available to talk, and at least my daughter will be MUCH safer when we rear-end the car in front of me.

Oh and Sven is driving now.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Mandy April 24, 2010 1

We’ve noticed that if you cry/scream along with the kids, you can almost, ALMOST harmonize and pretend you’re having a family singalong. Just FYI.

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Alex Iwashyna April 24, 2010 2

Brilliant! I am so doing that this weekend. LALALALALALLLLLLLLAAAAAAAA

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uli April 24, 2010 3

HAHAHA. I LOVE it!!!! The turning of the car seat is a HuGE help, but then you run into the 2 children fighting while facing you, which does give a better angle to swat at their feet, and give glaring looks to the one behind the passenger seat and then pull the rearview mirror down to give the looks to the one behind you. The other day I had a great experience. Driving….Owen starts screaming for the Orange Juice we just bought at Trader Joes….I am in a rush to get them to swimming…. screaming,…screaming….. instead of pulling over and being late, I decided to spill the water out of his sippy cup through the window, put the sippy cup between my thighs, open the new orange juice and pour it into the sippy cup between my thighs, close OJ, close cup, and chuck the sippy cup to him. Be happy you live nowhere near me!!!!

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Alex Iwashyna April 24, 2010 4

Thanks for the inspiration — not just for the blog but for my next amazing feat of motherhood! Let’s take it to a new level and prepare their lunches while driving!

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Mrs.Mayhem April 24, 2010 5

When my kids were younger, it was recommended that they sit rear facing until age 1, and that was hard enough. I feel for you.
.-= Mrs.Mayhem´s last blog ..Joy in the Everyday =-.

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Alex Iwashyna April 24, 2010 6

Thanks! Now it’s all MINIMUM of one year… and the drawback to my husband being a pediatrician…

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Aging Mommy April 24, 2010 7

My daughter has always been good in the car thankfully, but I feel for you because I know how scrambled your brain gets listening to the screaming and ranting from the occasions on which she has not been – or has dropped the beloved toy of the day and cannot reach to retrieve it. Which is why traffic lights were invented, so we can deal with the chaos!!
.-= Aging Mommy´s last blog ..Forget Einstein: Let Me Introduce You To The Theory Of Momativity =-.

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Alex Iwashyna April 24, 2010 8

I’m always torn. Do I pray for a green light to get where we are going quicker? Or a red light so I can try and give her SOMETHING to make her happy? It usually depends on the length of the trip… And thankfully my son was good in the car — I actually learned to do almost all errands without leaving my car (drive up library window, drive up mail, drive up coffee, drive up bank)…

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Kate April 24, 2010 9

Windows down. Music (my choice) LOUD.

If I can’t get husband on the phone I record it and send it via SMS to him. So love my iPhone.

#5 does it which makes the others complain so then #4 starts crying too. Then #3 decides her 5yo self is the perfect age to tell me how to drive and what I am doing wrong. Then #2 tells me her butt hurts because we have been in the car more than 5 minutes. #1 is a boy and so he is not paying attention.

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Alex Iwashyna April 24, 2010 10

Your comment CRACKED ME UP. I love that you record the chaos. And your explanation of your five is priceless.

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Ingrid April 24, 2010 11

I put my daughter in a forward facing car seat at 11 month. If I would have not done that, we would all be dead by now, because I found myself racing from A to B as quick as I could to avoid the screaming fits. At that speed, no child (forward or back facing) would have survived a full on crash!!
And guess what? Ever since, I have a happy child that will sit with a car strapped to its back the entire 6 hours we frequently drive up to Jersey.
Sometimes you just have to be a rebel…yeaaaahhhh!!!
.-= Ingrid´s last blog ..New Jersey =-.

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Alex Iwashyna April 24, 2010 12

That gives me HOPE. (And Sven is expensive.)
PS> You? A rebel? SHUT-UP!

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The Mother April 24, 2010 13

One time I got pulled over by a cop. I had four boys, one in the rear facing seat of my station wagon. He said that a “good samaritan” had stopped him to tell him that my kid wasn’t buckled.

Kid was buckled. Kid just didn’t like facing backwards and kept squirming around to get in on the conversation. He was too old for a car seat.

Cop told me I needed to keep him sat down and settled.

I told him that the duct tape was hard to get off his skin.

He let me go with a warning.
.-= The Mother´s last blog ..Modesty Rules! =-.

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Alex Iwashyna April 24, 2010 14

Oh good samaritans. Keep us bad moms in line one judgmentally comment at a time.
PS. your duct tape line? priceless. I hope that warning said: you’re hilarious.

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Jana @ Attitude Adjustment April 24, 2010 15

I have wanted to write about mom-drivers for a while. I’m fortunate that I don’t have the same issue as you do, but who knows, my girl is only five months!

Often, when you see a minivan on the fritz, you know there’s a frantic mom inside.
.-= Jana @ Attitude Adjustment´s last blog ..The Unbearable Lightness of Swinging =-.

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Alex Iwashyna April 24, 2010 16

My first was AWESOME in the car. As long as I didn’t take him out, we could go ANYWHERE. N has hated it from her first week :(

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angelica April 24, 2010 17

My daughter’s max time is 7 minutes. anything beyond that is hell (and she is four). the only things that work are 1) opening the window (not always an option) and the small DVD players, sheis hipnotised by them, and I don’t care what researchers say a full on crash will be worse for her development!

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Alex Iwashyna April 24, 2010 18

There are many an afternoon that a DVD has saved my oldest from me (and me from my oldest)… I honestly look forward to N being interested in them…

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Stacia April 24, 2010 19

We are masters of the distraction game in our car … “Look! A cow/flower/flag/truck/shoe on the side of the road/bird/plane/random piece of trash! Wow!” Maybe it will work when she’s a little older??
.-= Stacia´s last blog ..Haiku Friday =-.

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Alex Iwashyna April 24, 2010 20

I hope so!! It sometimes helps when my son is in the car, too. Maybe I need to start picking up strangers to sit in the back of the car and distract her? Because that’ll be safe…

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Justine April 24, 2010 21

I hear ya. My daughter never minded her car seat but we decided to turn her car seat around just before she turned one and it has done wonders. I know I’m not winning any Safe Mama award anytime soon for that, but it’s worth it to see her smiling face on the rear view mirror while I’m applying my makeup and talking on my cell phone in the car.
.-= Justine´s last blog ..Plan B. =-.

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Alex Iwashyna April 24, 2010 22

Heheheheh… she’s just learning to multitask by example. It’s a LIFE SKILL.

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Krystyn April 24, 2010 23

Maybe you should make your husband sit backwards in the car..then he would understand.

We turned our kids around a little after a year (once they hit the right weight). They really enjoy it more (and thus, so do we).

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Alex Iwashyna April 25, 2010 24

Brilliant!!

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Melissa April 25, 2010 25

So cute! Glad you grabbed the camera to share with us!

I read that Michelle Duggar calms herself down by whispering. I’ve practiced this, but I have to master it. I would love to be the mom who never flips out.

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Alex Iwashyna April 25, 2010 26

I would too. Instead I’m the mom who has to come up with random ways to try and keep myself from freaking out. :D

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KISSMike April 25, 2010 27

I am not a fan of distracted driving… But, I am very much not a fan of children wailing with Biblical levels of discontent. It serves no one well to let the infernal caterwalling continue, no one! Take the screaming banshee syndrome and add a car… this is far worse than distracted. You gotta do what ever you need to do to not hear the ringing in your head. Sweedish Dr’s or not! It’s all about peace…The ever vigilant pursuit of peace in all aspects of life. Turn the seat around (to the tune of the Vicki Sue Robinson disco hit).

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Caitlin April 25, 2010 28

Oh I loved this. That is one of the worst sounds in the world! I can’t imagine how hard it is to get out and about if the little one is so anti-carseat. I admire you for having the tenacity to keep trying!

Thanks for stopping by my blog too!
.-= Caitlin´s last blog ..Photo Story Friday—Ready to Rock! =-.

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Chara April 26, 2010 29

I never wanted go go Gadget arms so badly as when the Roo was rear facing. I keep thinking this will be easier with Riley back there. Certainly he will help calm squirrely car babies right? Now you have crushed all promise of this as I know you have a good helper of your own. Sigh…more fine print I missed in having a second.
.-= Chara´s last blog ..Earth to Riley =-.

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SoccerMom April 26, 2010 30

I know it totally sucks. I have been there myself. When my daughter was 2 and we lived in California (where we knew very few ppl) every freakin time we got into the car she would scream.

I’m not sure if your aware but in California you can’t just “get off” the freeway. All those damn roads run into another freeway. So it’s nearly impossible to just pull off when they start screaming. It was very stressfull.

I dont remember when or how it finally stopped. It just did. So I have no advice to give, other than hang in there. It does it better. Eventually.
.-= SoccerMom´s last blog ..Mystery Man of the 80′s =-.

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Alex Iwashyna April 27, 2010 31

“I’ve been there” and “hang in there” is probably the best advice you could give — thank you!!!

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Cecilia April 26, 2010 32

I was overseas the first 4 years of my son’s life and I complained and complained that we didn’t have a car (not that I would have dared drive it there anyway)…but now I am thinking that maybe it is a good thing I missed that lovely part of motherhood. I remember being in LA when he was 5 months old and strapping him into a carseat for the first time in his life, and he SCREAMED the entire way. Oh well. Just keep those rides short I guess, or maybe get ear plugs!
.-= Cecilia´s last blog ..My Identity as a Writer — Blogger =-.

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Sarah April 29, 2010 33

Totally funny. I wrote a very similar post once. I think being a mom driver is WORSE than being distracted by cell phones and such. So, I guess the fact that I’m both makes me lethal on the road, right?
Ugh.
.-= Sarah´s last blog ..Five for Ten Again: Rules and Regulations =-.

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kristeen November 11, 2010 34

My son does the same thing after about 30 min and guess how long it takes to get practically anywhere from my? Longer than that. And my husband says pretty much the same thing as yours so I do A LOT of singing and clapping and finnally just give up and call the hubby to inform him the baby is not happy again.

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