I don’t know what it is about family car journeys but lately they have been the stuff of nightmares. I’m not even talking about long road trips. I’m talking about the day to day car journeys we make to school/clubs/friends’ houses etc. The back seat bickering from my offspring is relentless and quite often escalates to full scale screechy hysterics. And it’s no better at the front. At least fifty percent of our shared car journeys result in the Old Git and I having some kind of dispute, ranging from passive aggressive muttering to unrestrained frothing at the mouth. The drama that unfolds in my car is really quite astonishing. This car chaos normally ends with me feeling like a complete and utter wreck all before 9am. Lovely. Thank you very much.
So let me tell you how it all begins. Before we even get to the car, the kids are fighting. They fight over who runs out of the house first, who reaches the car first and who gets into the car first. They then fight over who has more leg room or whose window is rolled down the most. It’s basically one big scrap. Snacks work and silence them for a good few minutes, but once they finish spraying my car with crumbs they resume scrapping. On occasion I’ve shouted so loudly at them I’m sure passing cars have heard my booming voice. I now make sure all the windows are rolled up before I start my angry tirade. Big sigh. The other day I actually had to stop the car to tell them to stop screeching and gave them a blow by blow account of what would happen if mummy crashed the car because of their screaming. Nice. Needless to say it alarmed them sufficiently to keep them quiet for the rest of the car journey. Effective parenting at its best.
As for the Old Git and I, car conflict is nothing new. If I am driving he finds it physically impossible not to give a running commentary of all my “alleged” driving flaws, normally accompanied by a whole lot of head shaking, gasping and tutting. As you can imagine, this does not go down very well with me. He then gets an earful, huffs and puffs for the rest of the journey, I get irritated and all the while the kids are in the back scrapping. Family bliss indeed.
So what is it about the car that brings out the worst in us? I suppose it’s similar to road rage. When we are in an enclosed space our senses become heightened and we are more likely to react to provocation.
I’ve already told the Old Git to keep his “driving advice” to himself when I am behind the wheel and he has made me promise to refrain from bringing up any controversial topics that will trigger him whilst he’s driving. Let’s see if this can make for a more harmonious car journey. As for the kids, well, that will require some long term and consistent action. Lecturing them doesn’t work, but stopping the car and refusing to move until the hysteria dies down seems to be a more effective method. Next time though, I won’t go into the gruesome, graphic details of what happens in a road traffic accident. #Notnecessary #Toomuchinformation.
I’m hopeful that the day will come when we will all be able to make witty, pleasant conversation in the car and use that time as enjoyable family time. In the meantime, I will just have to pump up the music (to drown out the screaming), drive very slowly, breathe deeply and remind myself that this too shall pass. I know at some point I will be able to laugh about this. Just not right now.