Tuesday, 3 October 2017

The First World Problem Of Not Having a Second Car

OK, before I get started, I want to point that I do know this isn't unusual. I know lots of families only have one car. I know some don't have a car at all and get along OK. But most of the mums I know have access to a car regularly, whether that's a car of their own or a shared car which their other half doesn't need for the commute. I don't.

And most of the time this is fine. I don't actually like driving (granted, that's because I do it so rarely that it's a Scary Thing when I do) and I don't mind walking. Most of the time. Girl Child has been pretty good on her pins since she was three, and Toddler just goes in the carrier which, even at nearly 19 months, is still not too much strain as long as it's less than an hour's carrying.

But there are times I think a second car would be handy. Such as ...

Whenever it rains

I live in Yorkshire. It's rainy here. I can cope with a bit of drizzle but when it's pouring it down it's  horrible. Before Girl Child started school we would just hide on rainy days, but now we have to get out of the house five days a week, come rain or shine. And rainy school runs always take longer, not only in terms of preparation (wellies, raincoats etc) but also because Girl Child walks like a snail when carrying an umbrella. And she hates getting wet so often cries all the way which slows things down further. So all in all, rainy school runs are rubbish. And don't get me started on ice and snow.

When there's a fun thing 'far away'

I generally stick to places within walking distance. When Girl Child was little we had a bit more freedom to hop on a bus or train because we didn't have to be back at a certain time. Now going anywhere in the afternoon is risky because I might not get back in time to pick her up from school. And mornings are tight because of Toddler's nap. Even if we were to go somewhere on public transport it probably wouldn't be far. Having to change trains or buses with a small person in tow is a battle, and what if we miss the connection?

That's not considering the places which are hard to reach on public transport. Or the places that are just too far for me to walk but not worth the cost of a bus. And I haven't mentioned the extra expense that getting public transport adds to the activity. All in all, if it's not in my town, I'm not going.

When someone's ill

Despite registering with a GP surgery in my town, most of the appointments and all of the emergency walk-ins are in the partner surgery in the next town. When I'm ill, or my child is, I really don't fancy having to get a bus. I especially don't fancy getting a bus to get there before 8am so I have even a faint hope of being seen in less than an hour. And that's not usually possible anyway because, y'know, SCHOOL RUN.

Apart from those times (and probably others I'm not thinking of right now) it's not really a problem. I'm lucky that there's a fair bit to do with a toddler in our town. It's only ever rained heavily a few times on the school run (so far). And we don't get ill often. So it wouldn't be worth getting a second car really, especially if we then had to get spare car seats. But still. Next time it's raining at 8.30am I'll forget that completely!



  1. Totally get all of these points - have you got a bike? I've found that in wet weather it's sometimes much easier to chuck the kids in the trailer than try to walk anyway!

    1. OK, this is embarrassing but ... I can't ride a bike! I'd love to learn but the cost of a bike plus lack of storage space puts me off.

  2. I totally get this! I work full time and am the main driver in our house. I drive my partner to work and then pick him up and drive home. However our work is an hour away from home, which means if Spike is ill and I don't go into work, we don't have the car. It means if either of us takes a day off to spend with her without the other being off, we have to work around not having a car. It would be easier to move closer to work, as we work in a city with plenty of living options... but alas, I like where we live now!

    1. That sounds like a tricky situation! I think where you live does make a big difference to how easy it is to go without a car, but if you're happy where you are perhaps it's a compromise worth making.