A friendly resource for women who want to lead better lives

Handling the mess in the family vehicle

Look how clean and shiny she is!

Last night on my way out to dinner, I stopped by the carwash.

My car is a trash pit. I hate to admit that… I really like things to be tidy (or at least sanitary). But life with two toddlers and two dogs is messy. Carrying the kids from the car to the house is a handful – I just don’t have enough arms to carry all of the books, toys, and snacks they leave behind.

So, just imagine me at the car wash: I had big dreams of vacuuming up the 27 goldfish crackers, 32 organic fruit snacks and 157 pounds of dog hair that were lurking in my car. I was going to find all of the missing sippy cups and kid shoes. I was going to tackle the car beast!

I pulled into the car wash. I spent $10 on the automatic car wash, so as not to get my clothes wet and dirty.

Look how clean and shiny she is!

Look how clean and shiny she is!

Then I pulled into the vacuum bay where I filled up a grocery sack with random art projects, food wrappers, and graham crackers. I filled up another bag with long lost clothes. I rearranged my trunk organizer. You could actually see the floor of the car.

Next came the crowning glory… Vacuuming and dusting… The best part of any car cleansing. The part that really shows a difference to the driver. I whipped out the final $2 in my wallet. I threw $1 in the vending machine for a pack of leather wipes, but the machine choked. My wipes were stuck in vending machine purgatory.

I got creative and used a baby wipe.

I put my remaining dollar in the vacuum – the one I had carefully chosen because it was in the sun, where my car could dry. The vacuum started. It was purring loudly. I started to put it to work and that stupid thing didn’t pick up a single crumb. Nothing.

I, the woman who never has cash, just spent my final two bucks on nothing. I drove away in my half-clean car, deflated.

At dinner, my friend told me to quit worrying about it. “In a few years,” she said, “your kids will be old enough to clean out the car themselves.”

I thought about this overnight. I didn’t think I could live with a messy car for a few more years.

The next morning, I put the kids in the car. We ran two errands, went to a play date, and picked up some lunch. By the time I got home, there was water spilled in the backseat, a bag of chips tossed all over the floor, four shoes chucked into the cargo area, and three toy trucks rolling around. Both kids were doing that hungry/tired cry and I had to carry them inside, along with our lunch and my bag.

That was all the confirmation I needed. The cleanliness of my car is just going to suffer for a little while longer. I will do my best to keep things picked up. But, I can’t do it all, and that is one thing I’ll be letting go. Anyone who has the nerve to criticize will be put to work cleaning! 🙂

Is it just me? (please say no!) Do you have anything you just don’t worry about anymore? (please say yes!)

Mary

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2 Responses to “Handling the mess in the family vehicle”

  1. blissfullyinformed

    Omg my car is a complete disaster! My hubby is a truck driver and once a week, we drive between 2-3 hrs to go pick him up after his last delivery, another 2-3 hrs back home, then we turn around and do it again 36 hrs later. Yeah, there’s a perpetual stash of crumbs, toys, books, trash, cups, water bottles, etc etc. But whatever… our dirty car is a symbol of our children and the sacrifices we make to have family time! Let people give me dirty looks, I know why my car is a mess and I don’t care!

    Reply
    • marylemonwater

      Amen! I’d rather have family time together any day!

      Reply

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