“There is something wonderfully bold and liberating about saying yes to our entire imperfect and messy life.” – Tara Brach
Confession: The last time I cleaned my car out, I only did it because my father-in-law came into town. I didn’t want to make him put on a hazmat suit before he entered the vehicle.
Is it bad, that after I cleaned out the car, my husband came up to me with a puzzled look on his face and asked me, “Where did all of the stuff in the car go?” It didn’t even occur to him that maybe I actually, ahem, cleaned out the car.
If you’re a mom of young children and you keep a spotless car, I’m giving you a slow clap, because I honestly don’t know how you do it.
If you’re like me, and your car is a mess two days after you clean it out, I feel your pain. I’m here to make you feel better about it because, as a mom, there are a lot of forces that work against your ability to keep a clean car.
- For starters, there are the snacks. It’s common mom knowledge that snacks keep the children happy in the car. I’ll take happy children in exchange for half-eaten graham crackers, goldfish, crumbs in every crevice, and wrappers littering the floor.The problem, is that once you start this habit, the kids come to expect snacks every time they get in the car. With two children, and an average of two outings a day, you can do the math over how easy it is for messes to add up.
- I’m convinced that there is a yet to be discovered gravitational force that attracts toys to the car. Once in the car, the vehicle serves as a yet to be discovered black hole, and the toys are never returned to the house again.Sometimes I get lucky and only a stuffed animal and a water gun are pulled to the car. But more often than not, my daughter brings her purse filled with small Legos, plastic food and travel size toothpaste containers that she has smuggled out of the bathroom. She enjoys individually dropping each item on the floor of the car.
- Then there’s the weather. That’s right. I’m blaming the weather. Even the forces of nature are against us. In San Diego, it’s cool in the morning, warms up in the afternoon, and cools down again in the evening. The car serves as a floor closet for the jackets that are put on and stripped off throughout the day. I feel for the moms that live in places where it snows. I can’t imagine dealing with multiple layers of clothing in the car. God speed to all of you.
- Let’s not forget about the other outside forces working against us. I’m looking at you Trader Joe’s. In an effort to keep my littles happy, you give them lollipops, oranges, and stickers, because that doesn’t at all add to the mess in my car. I recently showed up to a birthday party with one of the stickers on my backside, and it didn’t even phase me or the mom that made the discovery. I’m truly more shocked that it didn’t happen sooner.
- Last, but not least, is the IDGAF force. This is the force from within, ladies. Use the force. IDGAF that my car is messy because life with small children is messy and I have all of the previous odds I’ve listed stacked against my ability to keep it clean.
Some of you might want to tell me that it’s as simple as cleaning up as you go, but please hush your mouths. I’m too busy thinking about how I need to get inside the house to unload the dishwasher, fold that load of laundry, and get dinner going for my family. Something has to give.
As for me, my car will continue to be a mobile trash can, but only until the next time my father-in-law visits.