I finally understand why people put those festive ‘Baby On Board’ signs in their car windows. It’s not for the certain je ne sais quois it adds to your people mover, as elegant as they are. It’s not to boast about your ability to reproduce (that’s what the “My Family” stickers are for).
It is, I’ve realised, to warn people.
It’s a yellow diamond of distress. SHIT DRIVER INSIDE.
Because once you’ve driven down a highway with a feral baby screaming his face off as you try to shove a bottle or a dummy or SOMETHING in his mouth to calm him down while frantically checking mirrors to see if he has been stabbed while you weren’t watching – you’ll realise you are the worst driver on the road.
The bloke who is stoned and texting his mates in the lane next to you is paying more attention to the road than you are.
“Kids being arseholes” is not an official cause of road accidents, but it should be. An official study of causes of road accidents found speed and alcohol were the leading causes of road injuries, but when you look at all the other factors, I think most of them could also apply to driving mums:
Fatigued because motherhood
Passenger interaction mum mum mum mum mum mum mum MUUUUM!
Felt ill child induced migraine
Feeling stressed because children
Animal or insect in car possibly brought in by child
Searching for object such as water bottle or blankie
Looked but failed to see due to children’s flailing limbs
I’ve concluded there are three types of shit mum drivers:
Checking the road ahead once every four minutes is not safe.
It’s also not safe to drive with one hand on the wheel and the other hand grabbing the foot of your toddler who is trying desperately to escape their car seat.
Trying to go around a roundabout while fishing for a water bottle underneath the passenger seat is particularly dangerous.
This is the mum who will pull over to the side of the road at least 8 times in a trip because things are being flung to every corner of the car only to be followed by ear splitting screams for the thing that has just been flung.
SO sorry if you needed to get somewhere.
Every mother has tried, in desperation, to drive her baby to sleep. If, by miracle, this has worked, she is not stopping for ANY reason. Her baby is asleep. There is no more screaming. She will roll down the freeway for an hour just so that child can get some rest. Don’t bother tailgating, she’s not going anywhere fast.
This dad knows what I’m talking about:
The most dangerous of them all.
At a certain age, babies learn to sleep in their cots for more than 30 minutes. It is heaven. Nap time will happen AT ALL COSTS. Nothing gets in the way of nap time.
But it’s also at this age that children decide that a 40 second kip in the carseat is equivalent to two hours in the cot. The carseat power nap is like a shot of Red Bull to a toddler. They drift off for three seconds and wake up with the energy of a fluoro-clad festival goer. “RWAAAAARRR HELLO MUMMMMMYYYYY! Let’s spend ALL afternoon together doing 73 different activities that will be increasingly unsatisfying to me until I fly into an uncontrollable nap-starved RAGE just before dinner. LET’S GO!”
God help you if you want to drive like a normal person and this mum is behind you. It’s no coincidence that mums drive 4WDs. They will mount the median strip to get around you with all the windows down, the radio blaring and screeching ‘DON’T GO TO SLEEP!!’ out the window. Just pull to the side and let her past. It’s safer for everyone.
In all seriousness, if things are getting out of control, just pull over for a bit. And don’t ever, EVER pick up your phone while you’re driving. No matter how cute you think your kids are being:
Is your child one of those carseat nap stealers? Have you driven hours out of your way just to try and get the baby to sleep? Have you realised an iPad on the back of the passenger seat is the cure to all life’s problems? Sure ‘screen time’ will rot your child’s brain, but it might also save everyone’s life because SHUT UP AND WATCH THE WIGGLES!
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