I have a deep and abiding love for my car. In addition to being able to fit just about anything from IKEA in the back, and having the driver’s seat perfectly molded to the shape of my ass, it’s my home away from home. More accurately, it’s my home in the driveway of my actual home before I get home.
As a mom, we spend hours logging miles behind the wheel of our cars bringing our children to and fro. Driving to and from school, various sports activities, and evening events – our fingers spend more time clasped around that steering wheel than our spouse’s hand. It’s not an exaggeration to say that my Toyota and I are in a committed relationship. I look out for her, and she looks out for me. (Yes, she’s a she. The Supreme Court said we can make it official, so don’t judge me.)
Some of the most meaningful moments I’ve had with my children have taken place in that big black SUV, with the radio blasting Taylor Swift, singing along at the top of our lungs while eating ice cream. We’ve had talks about life, discussing their day at school, or commiserating over a losing effort in a game that finished moments earlier. I’ve sat in that car after dropping my daughter off at her first school dance and her first date. She’s a part of the family.
My Toyota is also my refuge.
Nearly every day, I spend a good ten to fifteen minutes in there after the kids pile out, listening to the song that I want to hear and just sitting. Sometimes, I’ll take a minute to read an article in silence. Other times, I’ll mindlessly surf around Pinterest. What I’m doing isn’t as important as the simple act of claiming those moments as my own. Mom time.
As mothers, many of us experience this compulsion to constantly go – to always be responding to the needs of others. A few moments of silence to regroup after a full day of work – whether for a boss we’re not related to, or the short tyrants that we brought into this world – should be our small act of civil disobedience.
Cars have the advantage of being climate controlled, practically sound proof, equipped with locks, and cozy. They’re like our own steel and leather womb. I encourage you all to give “mom time” a try. The next time you find yourself parked in the driveway or a parking space and your children are safely on their way inside, lock the doors, turn the radio up (or down) and just breathe. Just soak in the moment and enjoy the solitude. Recharge your batteries, even if it’s just for a minute.
Trust me, we’ve earned it.