Have I ever told you guys we’re a one car family?
Yup, you read that right. Here in Southern California, land of the cars and the commute and the craptastic (to the point of almost being non-existent) public transportation, we only have one car.
I wrote about it once, in the early days of this blog, back when N.C. and I were commuting together (he had a long-term contract job, I had my job, they were on the same path, didn’t seem worth the money for a 2nd car). But I’ll be honest. I always thought that once we had a kid, we’d get another car.
Well, Jackson’s 15 months old and we’ve still just got the one car.
Mostly, it’s fine. N.C.’s home with Jackson, I take the car to work. We generally spend all the rest of our time together anyway, so nights and weekends we go places together. Or one of us takes the car. It’s *mostly* not a big deal. But it is an added level of complexity for some things.
It does mean that N.C. doesn’t do errands during the week, like some (not all) stay at home parents do. Instead, I do them on my lunch break, or we do them on weekends or evenings together.
It does mean that if there are any appointments for N.C. or Jackson during the work week, we have to strategize how to handle it–does N.C. take me to work, have the car all day, and then pick me up, or do I work from home so that he can take the car, or do I take a day off?
It does mean, as we found yesterday when Jackson was running a fever, that if the kid is sick, we have to make a determination on whether I stay home so that we can get him to the doctor if need be, or if we drag a sick baby though a couple of hours in the car to take me to work.
It does mean I go to Target on my lunch break to get the few things we forgot at the grocery store that weekend. Or I go to the pet store because we never seem to get there on weekends. Or N.C. makes 2 trips to my office, so he can have the car to take the kid to the park.
It does mean N.C. can’t just take the kid to story time, or the park, or to play dates, or the like, without preplanning.
It does mean, frankly, that it’s not as simple as I work & N.C. is with the kid. It means juggling, and planning.
It’s not that I’m bothered by it most of the time–I like saving the money, we honestly don’t need a second car 85% of the time, and I’ve always liked our time together in the car. But when I say that, as a working parent I sometimes get overwhelmed with it all, this is part of what I mean. The logistics of managing one car, 2 adults, one toddler (and my job, PTO, and “flexibility”) can be draining. It’s one level of complexity that people don’t think of as part of the equation when we talk about balance and “trying to do it all”.
Today, someone at my office (innocently, I hope, not maliciously) asked me why I feel like I feel like I’m buried sometimes. After all, she said, my husband is at home to handle that part of our lives, so really, beyond missing the kid, my job is to be the worker and his job is to be the manager of the home space.I get weekends and evenings to play with the kid, and days to work. What’s the problem?
Beyond my inherent issues with this (stay at home parents, do you do *everything* in your homes? Does your spouse get off the hook for anything home related because they work? Even if you do *most* of it, do you do ALL of it? And working parents, do you not help out at home? Do you not have responsibilities there, beyond just showing up?), it’s just not true. I don’t have the ability to leave it all to him, in part because of who I am (and who he is) and in part because of the logistics of it.
We’re a one car family.