How This Mom Is Making The Most of Her Role As Mom-Chauffeur
As a mom, I spend a lot of time on “the circular drive.”
This is the time I spend in my car going back and forth from home chauffeuring various children to sports, extra-curricular activities, jobs, and friends’ homes. It can also include picking up friends, going to games and performances, and getting my kids anywhere besides our residence.
During the back to school season, the circle drive seems to get worse. It can even find myself in stuck in the endless loop early on Saturday mornings as one family member goes to work and the another heads off to football.
Can I be honest? I don’t always love this time in the car, but I am learning some ways to redeem it.
3 Ways I'm Making The Most of My Role As Mom-Chauffeur
1. Creating Rules For Technology That Make Space For Interaction:
We live in an age when it’s easy after a long day for kids to immediately turn to their device of choice for a game or text. Instead of letting my kids automatically “plug in and shut me out," however, I’m trying to be more intentional with our times together in the car by banning devices. Through this new rule, I’m discovering that this tin box with wheels is the perfect place to get my kids’ undivided attention, especially when I have a chance to be one-on-one with them. Our technology-free-zone has helped spur on all kinds of great and surprisingly deep conversations.
2. Asking Creative Questions:
The silence between me and my teens can be deafening some days. My kids can take open-ended questions and close them in a snap.
“Tell me about school,” I ask.
“It was good,” they say.
To help, I try having a few creative interactions in my arsenal.
- “What was the craziest thing that happened today?” is one question I ask often. My kids have come to respond, “Well nothing crazy happened, but this went on...”
- “What is the grossest thing you saw today?”
- “If you compare the smell of your cleats to a rotten food, what would it be?”
I’m no longer afraid of getting outlandish and eliciting looks from my kid suggesting I’m crazy. My point is to think ahead and get my kids talking. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by what I’ve learned.
2. Accept My Role As Cheerleader, Counselor and Mediator:
The very nature of being a pre-teen/teen is feeling like an awkward outsider, and these feelings are magnified in competitive or performing environments. Thus, chances are good that at least one of my children will have a “bad practice,” or a challenging day at work, or something bad after school at least once a day. I hold my breath after almost every practice or after school activity, hoping to see smiles…but too often seeing hung heads instead.
As a result, I’ve come to accept that the moment my kids enter the car, I could be called upon to perform any number of different roles. Some days I am a counselor, reminding them that their identity is in Christ (and not in whatever activity/skirmish just happened), or allowing them to rage about their coach, boss, or teammate. Other times, their day/practice/job was awesome and I get to celebrate with them as their cheerleader. Regardless, the car is a unique place where they open up and I jump in and love them deeply in the way they need.
Not Just Another Drive from Point A to Point B
It’s easy for me to see my time spent in the circular drive as just another to-do--a drain on my already busy schedule during a busy time of year. Instead, I want to use this time in the car to reduce "the business" of parenting and make space to hear my kids. They want to know I care; I’m trying to use the mini-van as a conduit for just that.