Whether it’s a half hour trip or 1000 miles, trips in the car with kids are exhausting. After an hour, even I start complaining about needing a stretch break.  I can only imagine being strapped in a five point harness seat for any amount of time. Kids are in need of constant distraction in order to make it to your destination. Some of the distractions are legitimate, while others…not so much. Here are the top 5 things you are most likely to hear in a car full of kids:

1. “Can we watch a movie?”

Remember the days before all the fancy entertainment options available in today’s cars? The first time I saw a van with a built in TV and VCR, my young mind nearly exploded with the possibilities. Road trips in a vehicle like that would be AMAZING. No more would I have to pass the time watching for road signs with mileage numbers on them or staring at the clock and counting down the minutes until we arrived. Fast forward about 15 years to the first major road trip we took with One (who was then about 18 months). We drove 1200 miles to Panama City Beach, Florida over the course of 3 days. It was brutal. We had purchased a portable DVD player specifically for the trip, and I’m convinced it was the only reason we made it down there with our sanity intact, although it did begin experiencing issues on day 3 about 2 hours from our hotel. Those final 2 hours with an exhausted and travel-weary baby and nothing to distract her were some of the longest of my life. On the first day of the return trip, the DVD player gave up completely. We pulled off at the next exit and bought a new one. We had officially gone soft. No more would we subject ourselves to travel in a vehicle with kids without a sleeve of movies to back us up. Thank goodness for Blu Ray/DVD combo packs. To the person responsible for this brilliant idea: thank you! Seriously. I get to leave a copy of each new movie in the car full-time. I pick a random DVD, and peace and quiet ensues, right? If only! My kids have a big difference in tastes when it comes to movies. There are only a few they’ll agree on, which makes negotiation very difficult and drawn out.

2. “I have to go potty.”

When you’re potty training and they’re in underwear, it’s crucial to find a stopping point right away. Pull into the nearest McDonald’s. That’s when a second child announces they have to go too. So, dad drags them both in past the smell of french fries and pictures of ice cream, hoping he or the kids won’t come into temptation. Next, he takes them into the bathroom, where inevitably someone who just finished a Big Mac is “building a log cabin” in one of the two stalls. Appetite gone!

3. Screaming (accompanied with full blown kicks to the back of your chair.)

This one is dedicated to our toddler. This is the type of screaming you’ll need earplugs for. Why?

  • Her cup is empty.
  • The sun is in her eyes.
  • Her brother looked at her.
  • The movie is over.

4. “I’m hungry/thirsty.”

Not a half hour after leaving that restaurant you spent 50 dollars at, suddenly your kids think they are hungry and thirsty again. Thank goodness for those old gas station snacks we have in the glove compartment .

5. “I don’t feel good.”

This is One’s go-to expression. Unfortunately for us, there have been a few incidents, and we never seem to have to the supplies we need. When you’re rushing out the door, you’re mostly thinking of extras for your youngest kids. So, when an accident occurs, One usually ends up driving home on a bare booster seat in her underwear, with whatever towel or coat we can find draped over her.

Before I became a parent, I had no idea one car trip could be so stressful! I never knew I would become so jealous of my husband’s 20 minute commute to work alone. So, cherish those rare moments you’re in the car alone. Go ahead, blast your favorite song. Or sit in complete silence. Enjoy, because it won’t last long!

Featured Image by: Waldemar Jan

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