Since becoming a mom, my car has been overcome by a raging epidemic–mom car! Let me define it for you. Mom Car (n.)- a mode of transportation that sacrifices all cleanliness in exchange for happy, safe children. From goldfish to toys that “had” to come along for the ride, my car has been overcome by filth! Why does it end up like this? Because on the daily, we are in and out of the car multiple times and usually running behind schedule. Sometimes, there is no choice but to eat a snack on the way home from soccer practice or drive through Starbucks while the kids take an unheard of nap in the backseat. Mom cars do much more than transport children from one activity to another; they serve as storage containers, snack bars, nap enhancers, and dance party enablers from time to time. So what is wrong with this? Nothing. Except, there comes a point where passengers cannot complete the climb over the unopened mail obstacle course. Today, I invite you to join my journey as I attempt to keep my mom car just a little bit cleaner. With 5 tips that we can easily complete, I hope to cure many cars from the filth that is–mom car!
- Clean the Car while Pumping Gas- I try to make it a point to collect all trash and food crumbs from my car while I wait for my car to fill with gas. This is a time when both of my children are strapped in, and I have the time to pick up a few stray water bottles or wrappers. I have found this to make the biggest difference with the least amount of effort.
- Keep a Trash Can in the Garage- We started keeping a small trash can in our garage, and it has made it easy for me to clean out trash that piles up. I do not leave my children in the car alone even if it is for a minute, so having a trash can right next to the car allows me to clean it while keeping my eyes on them at all times.
- Limit Food and Drink- I am not the best about keeping food and drink out of the car because sometimes it is necessary, but I have blacklisted milk. When my son was young, I used to allow milk in the car. It was a novice mistake, I tell you. The stench that came from splashes of milk in “no leak” sippy cups was gut wrenching! So, I learned from my mistake and only allow water in the car. If I do allow snacks, I try to make them items that do not produce crumbs. Cereal bars used to be our biggest culprit of crumb accumulation! I’m still working on this category, so any advice would be appreciated.
- Detail your Car- We typically do not pay to have our cars cleaned, but sometimes I earn free washes at the full-service car wash by building up reward points. If I know that someone will be vacuuming the car, you know I will take the time to clean it!
- Make the Child Responsible-If toys go into the car, they go out. If drinks come into the car, they go out. I am trying an in/out rule in my car. Whatever is taken into the car, must be taken out when we get home. I was accumulating jackets, shoes, toys, school crafts and endless other items, but am working on holding my child responsible for cleaning up the car. If I think about it like cleaning toys before bed, I think, “Why haven’t I always made him clean up the car?” The car is a luxury that we are blessed to have; therefore, my children can treat it like one!
I admit that I am still working on keeping my mom car clean, but I know that with a little more discipline, I can make it a place that others are not afraid to step foot in! Share your tips for a clean car in the comments below and post your picture with #momcar to prove that I am not the only one feeling the mom car epidemic! From my messy car to yours, I hope that your car–messy or not–has thoughtful conversations, learning moments, and fun dance parties in it this week.