How to Survive a Four Hour Drive with a Toddler

Prior to becoming a mother, I told myself I wouldn’t be caught dead driving long distances with a child. I figured I could put off accepting any kind of out-of-town social event until the kid was say, oh I don’t know – how old are they when they stop misbehaving? Oh right. Never. My genius pre-motherhood plan lasted less than two years. Last week my husband, eighteen month old son, and I set off on a cross-state drive for a wedding and I’ve lived to tell about it!

If you want to survive a long, family car ride without needing to call someone for bail money (presumably for assaulting whoever woke your sleeping child), then read on:

1. Expect the Unexpected

Before our trip could even get off to a proper start, I somehow managed to dislodge the right side of my front bumper. I’m talented like that. I’m like ninety percent sure it wasn’t my fault, but let’s not squabble over details. There we were: in the predawn hours, dragging rubber and plastic down the highway, praying to the travel gods the baby would stay asleep while anxiously looking for a safe place to pull off .

This looks safe, right, Honey?

“This looks safe, right, Honey?”

Despite neatly packing snacks, quietly transferring my sleeping son from the crib to the car, and carefully hanging fancy clothes without wrinkling them, I was not prepared for this. So what do you do when the proverbial fecal matter hits the fan? Aside from performing a ritual goat sacrifice, I strongly suggest you embrace the chaos. The more you try to fight against the craziness, the less calm you (and everyone around you) will be. Just try to roll with it – even if you’re screaming internally.

Just breathe in and out.

Just breathe in and out.

2. Breaks. SO. MANY. BREAKS.

Keeping in theme with the previous rule, you’ll need to adopt the mantra “F*** The Schedule!” When the mini vehicular catastrophe was finally remedied (thank you, zip ties!), we were a solid two hours behind schedule. I thought to myself, “That’s okay. We factored in a bonus hour for breaks, so we’re really only one hour behind. I can make that up with clever driving and no breaks. It’ll be fine!” Oh how innocent I was.

So young, so full of hope I was.

So young, so full of hope I was.

A funny thing happens when you try to drive long stretches without a break. Perhaps “funny” isn’t the right word. Pee. Yup that’s the word: PEE. Pee happens when you don’t take breaks and you have a toddler with the bladder the size of a thimble. Unfortunately my seizures left me with the inability to smell (True story! Ask me about it some time) which meant I was blissfully unaware of the urine soaked car seat and horrifyingly wet toddler until it was too late. Do yourself (and your upholstery) a favor, and take as many breaks as necessary. Those with functioning olfactory receptors will thank you.

WHY, GOD? WHY?!?!

WHY, GOD? WHY?!?!

 3. Baby = “Get Out of Jail Free” Card

Okay, this one may sound like I’m a horrible person – and maybe I am, who cares? – but one of the perks to having a baby is that it is the best excuse you’ll ever have! I’m not recommending you lie and say your baby is sick to get out of a party because, ya know, karma. But if you have a legit situation which has created some negative outcome, don’t be afraid to blame your exit strategy on the baby. Just don’t get drunk with power.

drunk with power highlander

It’s deceptively easy to use the excuse too much.

The final key to being able to survive a long drive with your toddler is to not worry about what others may think. Merely showing up in one piece should be accomplishment enough, in my opinion. Yeah, we were late and probably smelled of baby pee, but we MADE IT! The ride back? Now that’s an entirely different story…

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What’s Your Mom Style? Part IV

Can you believe it?  We’ve made it to the last “mom style” in our series!  We’ve looked at three different kinds of parenting so far (Helicopter Mother, Crunchy Mama, and Techie Mommy) and now we’re at the finish line!  Last up in the style spotlight is the…

 

Laid-Back Mom

 On the Parenting Style spectrum, the Laid-Back Mom is the complete opposite of the Helicopter Mother.  She couldn’t care less about rules and curfews and doesn’t see why this bothers you so much.  She sees herself more as a “peer” than a “parent.”


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The Laid-Back Mom is the definition of hands-off parenting.  She doesn’t have a day planner and certainly doesn’t worry about filling the calendar with play dates and extra-curricular activities.  Mellow to the max, she also doesn’t scare easily; so unless there’s blood or broken bones, she’s not batting an eye at most boo-boos.  Her laid-back style extends to all areas of her life, not just her children.  If she doesn’t keep her kids on a strict schedule or say “no” often, chances are she won’t exactly be the queen of time management in her personal life either.

cool mom

Partaaaay

Pros:

One of the biggest trademarks of the Laid-Back Mom is that she doesn’t care what other people think.  This can be a great quality to have when it comes to dealing with other parents’ competitive nature.  There won’t be any Helicopter Mother tendencies, like pushing her child to be the best at all costs, with this mom.  Since she doesn’t force her children into anything they don’t want, she is allowing them to have their own identity and do what makes them happy.

Minus the creepy wink

Minus the creepy wink

Cons:

In an attempt to keep everything chill, she avoids confrontation and rarely uses or enforces rules.  A house with no restrictions can lead to a chaotic environment, lacking structure for the child.  The child isn’t the only one to suffer negative effects from an overly hands-off approach.  The Laid-Back Mom can become so permissive that her kids take advantage of her and she will end up feeling like a doormat.  Like with any parenting style, things tend to go south when taken to the extreme.

The Belcher's always know what's up

The Belcher’s always know what’s up

Subtypes

The Progressive Parent

A bit of a mix between the Crunchy Mama and the Laid-Back Mom, the Progressive Parent rejects the stricter style favored by their own parents or grandparents.  With a distaste for anything deemed “old-fashioned,” this mom is all about embracing a more liberal and open-minded lifestyle.  Some tend to err on the side of being a bit self-righteous, and will freely tell you how wonderful and forward-thinking their parenting style is and why you should be progressive, too.

Ohhh gooood for youuuu!

Ohhh gooood for youuuu!

The Hipster/Trendy Mom

Just like the name sounds, these parents are all about the new and the now.  You know the joke “How did the hipster burn his tongue?  Because he ate his pizza before it was cool.”  Well that same “too cool for school” cliché applies to their parenting style.  They tend to impose their own pop culture faves – onesies with rock ‘n’ roll bands on them, quirky/unusual names, baby mohawks, and anything “ironic” – onto their unsuspecting children.  But who knows?  Maybe a new trend will come along and this, too, will be passé (wink wink).

Liz Lemon gets me

Liz Lemon gets me

 

Wow!  We’ve reached the end of our “What’s Your Mom Style?” series!  But here’s a little spoiler alert: next week’s post will have a nice little roundup and review of some of our favorite mommy moments!  Chime in below with what you’ve thought about the series and thanks for reading!

Here's a little Cas as my thanks to you

Here’s a little Cas as my thanks to you

What’s Your Mom Style? Part III

So far we’ve met the Helicopter Mom and the Crunchy Mama.  Who’s the next mom to make it into our parenting style spotlight?  It’s none other than the…

Techie Mommy

Have a parenting problem?  Well she’s got an app for that!  Smartphones and tablets are always within reach for this gadget-geared gal.  In her opinion, there’s no issue that can’t be solved by technology, electronics, and/or the all-knowing internet!

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The Techie Mommy is a lot like The Force: you can either go good side or dark side.  Some moms can integrate technology into their daily routine successfully whereas others let gadgets and gizmos overrun their life.  Either way, the typical Techie Mommy can be seen glued to her smartphone, snapping and uploading pics with her baby distracted by bright colors on a tablet.  The “electronic babysitter” can come in handy when all other baby-calming methods have failed, and she will be sure to tell you all about it, too.  Armed with all the knowledge the internet has to offer, this digital diva is always the first to diagnosis an ailment, know the best-reviewed gadgets, and won’t think twice about shooting down your old-school crafts in favor of her ultra-cool DIY Pinterest projects.

I can't be the only one who feels like this

I can’t be the only one who feels like this

Pros:

Technology certainly isn’t going away, so it’s not like we can pretend it doesn’t have its benefits.  For instance, video baby monitors come in handy for the perma-nervous first time mom and even experienced mommas can feel a little safer knowing their children are just a phone call (or GPS tracker) away.  Technology can also help bridge gaps, like being able to show pictures of your baby to a faraway relative or quickly capture and preserve memories with older generations.  My personal favorite?  The internet allows me to share my motherhood experience with all of you!!! (Shameless plug, sorry)

Aw wittle gwamma and gwammpa kitties

Aw wittle gwamma and gwammpa kitties!

Cons:

Admit it.  We’ve all been to the playground and seen the mom searching for wi-fi, seemingly oblivious of her child’s whereabouts. These parents are so busy plugging in that they tend to check out of their immediate surroundings.  Some studies have even shown that our society’s burgeoning obsession with snapping pics of everything from the sentimental to the mundane are actually harming our ability to remember the event!

Great job

Way to be “in the moment”

Subtypes

The Savvy Supermom

This mom is able to do everything!!!  Or at least that’s how she makes herself look on Facebook.  Her social media presence is well-tailored and every event is a selfie opportunity.  In a given week, she posts pictures of all the tasks she easily completes (“Supermom, able to leap tall laundry piles in a single bound!”), she keeps herself looking fresh and fit (perhaps her Instagram filter helps?), and she and her little one are taking the town by storm since she always makes sure to “check in” at all the best spots.  No one can compete with this tech-savvy, Google-searching, hashtag tweeting, tutorial pinning Supermom!

Fair question

Fair question

The Geeky Gal

While there is a definite difference between the terms Nerd (think FanGirl) and Geek (think Pocket-Protector), they find a kind of happy medium in this mom.  Her parenting style is equal parts “Well WebMD says…” and “Did you see this scientific statistic?”  For her, technology is a definite step forward in the evolution of mankind, so why not use it for all its benefits when tackling the challenges of motherhood.  As passionate as they are about their gaming and obscure pop culture references, they are even more passionate about their child.  But just make sure to never get on this mom’s bad side, because she can ice you out in the digital world and in real life.

It’s a real thing, people

 

 

Alright, so for you folks keeping count, this is mom style number three!  Have we highlighted your style or parenting yet?  If not, there’s always next week 😉  Stay tuned!

What’s Your Mom Style?

Remember the fun quizzes you would take as a teenager?  “Who’s Your Celeb Twin?”  “What Decade Do You Belong In?”  Well I figured we could have a little fun here, too, and talk about our different mom styles!

So each week we’ll look at a different kind of style of “mom-ing,” if you will.  Can we make that a thing?  Mom-ing!  It’s just so catchy haha.  Anyways, in today’s spotlight we have the…

Helicopter Mother

Sure, the term has some negative connotations these days, but it’s not all bad.  Right?  I’m a glass half-full kinda gal, so I like to believe that deep down inside, the Helicopter Mom just wants what is best for her child.  But sometimes she can get a little carried away with her good intentions.

 

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The term “Helicopter Mom” comes from her tendency to hover over her child/children.  She can be overly immersed in every aspect of her child’s life.  And not only is she aware of everything going on with her child, she is equally involved with their doctors, teachers, and the parents of her child’s friends.

fresh prince mind ya business

Just sayin’

Pros:

The upside to so much hovering is that if there ever really is a problem, they will know about it immediately.  An otherwise ignored illness, a bully on the playground, will all be caught and addressed by the all-seeing Helicopter Mom.

MY BABYYY!!!

“MY BABYYY!!!”

Cons:

The children of Helicopter Parents face a potential future of entitlement, inflated ego, anxiety issues, and a fear of failure.  If their parent(s) have been there their whole life, micro-managing everything, righting every wrong, coddling, and swooping in to save them from anything bad, then they may not be prepared to deal with the real world.

"Mom you're embarrassing me!!!"

“Moooomm! You’re embarrassing me!!!”

Subtypes:

Tiger Mom:

I can't help it, I love Supernatural

I can’t help it, I love Supernatural

Deeply concerned with academic performance and fiercely protective, these moms tend to be stricter than Helicopter Moms.  The end result is highly valued.  Success is measured by grades, trophies, and medals.

Lawnmower Parent:

lawnmower mom

…and these moms mean it!

Also known as a Bulldozer Mom, this mom will go to any length to make sure her child never has to face any kind of obstacle or problem.  She will mow down or bulldoze anything that poses a threat to her child, whether it’s making a bad grade disappear or canceling play dates with rough kids.

Peacock Mom:

Your child may have an inflated ego...

Your child may have an inflated ego…

Proud as a peacock, this mom frames every doodle, takes loads of pictures, and fills your Facebook feed with all her little one’s accomplishments.  Not only does she love showing off her own child, she is constantly comparing her child to others.  “Oh your son isn’t crawling yet?  Mine has been crawling for two months now.”

 

And that finishes the first installment in a series on different mom styles!  Stay tuned for the next mom style!  Remember, everything on here is just for funsies and shouldn’t be taken too seriously 🙂  Hope you enjoyed it