School is back in session. Sports are back in full swing. Life is busy and fast-paced. Let’s face it, fellow moms: Most of our cars or SUVs are a wreck . . . not literally– just on the inside. Some of your cars may be an exception to this rule, but overall, I have found that this struggle is real for most moms. My dear husband (as wonderful as he is) made an unbelievable comment to me once. He said that I should be “ashamed” of how cluttered my car is. Mind you that his car is the picture of cleanliness with pristine, cream leather seats and a fresh smelling interior at ALL times. He marveled at the fact that my car was the polar opposite. I felt somewhat annoyed, knowing that my car is our family’s go-to vehicle–the means of transporting our kids, carpool kids, grocery bags, large items in need of hauling, dirty pets to the groomers, and so on! But his comment also made me feel compelled to change things, so I am writing this post with tips to encourage all moms (and especially taxi moms) whose cars often look like a tornado went through them. Using the tips below, I have been able to transform my chaotic mom taxi into an efficient, well-organized mommy limosine.
Top 5 Tips for Taxi Moms
- Realize the vital work that you do. The job of transporting kids to their activities often falls on moms. Though sometimes mundane, this is important work. You are literally nurturing and helping develop the gifts and talents of the next generation. This often includes the occasional food and drink for hungry kiddos on the way to practice (that accidentally spills and leaves a mess for you to clean). It also includes karate bags, ballet shoes, piano books, notebooks, backpacks, pencils, ink pens, candy wrappers, Cheerios, juice boxes, tissues and much more being left behind in your car. The carpool role often falls on moms, and by dropping off and picking up your child from school, you are performing a noble service. You are helping your kids get a valuable education by ensuring they get to and from school safely and on time. So pat yourself on the back before you read any further!
- Simplify your life. If you feel overloaded with after-school activities (i.e. ballet, tap, jazz, karate, chess, basketball, soccer, music, etc.) every day of the week, it’s no wonder that your car is a disaster zone. When mom feels tired and weary, the whole family suffers. Its time to reevaluate what activities can be elimated from your schedule. For instance, if your sweet daugther has no plans of going to the Olympics one day, is it necessary to shuttle her to gymnastics three days per week? And if she is not aspiring to be the next Misty Copeland, is it necessary to shuttle her to dance four days per week? If she does have those aspirations, maybe a carpool with friends would make your life easier. I’m just saying. 🙂
- Enlist the help of your kids. This one thing makes a TREMENDOUS difference. After all, you didn’t make the mess! Ask your kids to clean their area each time before leaving the car. This is a life changer. A good rule is to always take out what you put in. It is an easy habit to leave things in the car, but taking a few extra minutes daily to do this will keep you from becoming a hoarder! Having a weekly checklist of wiping down surfaces with a baby wipe, cleaning cup holders, and emtyping trash also works well. Be sure to utilize car organizers to ensure everything has its place.
- Hold them accountable. At the end of the day and without fail, look in each kid’s area to make sure they did their job. Call them back to the car if you notice anything out of sorts, and make them clean the mess. They will soon remember to do this on their own since most kids hate being called back to the car. “Car keeping”, similar to housekeeping, requires daily monitoring!
- Take a trip to the carwash. Kids love to see the soap, bubbles, and scrubbers! Make this a fun, biweekly ritual. Boys in particular love to run the vacuum, so let them! Make a game out of it. They may not do a perfect job, but putting on the finishing touches is much easier than doing it all yourself.
After doing these things, your husband will be amazed. He may even begin to comment about how spiffy and clean your car is. Mine surely did. He continues to look in disbelief that a system so simple could work. More importantly, it has increased the efficiency of the whole family. The bottom line is this . . . when the mom taxi is clean and organized, everyone benefits.
Peace, love, and clean rides, ladies!!