I spend a lot of time in my minivan driving four kids here and there, there and here. It’s one of the few places where I can actually think, sometimes. These are my thoughts, scribbled on napkins and receipts—a look into raising kids and living in Lake County.
Note: all opinions belong to me and only me and do not reflect those of our advertisers, partners, or other writers.
Hey, parents of Lake County, we need to slow down. I mean this metaphorically as well as actually moving slower.
For the last month, every major road I take to school, including the one I live on, has been under construction. I have always been appalled at how fast people drive down my street, but now I am downright pissed. I’m considering investing in a large sign that says SLOW DOWN, with maybe the edition of some colorful words. I have seen people speed around construction barriers and workers and take a turn so fast I thought they would tip their SUV right over. Just this morning, on a (major) road that was two lanes at the time, I saw someone speed around in the pouring rain trying to get in front of someone else before the construction zone started.
Our children are not only at risk of being hit when this kind of driving is happening around their homes and schools. They are learning that this type of driving is okay. They learn from us when we mutter, complain, and speed around someone that this is how driving is. A recent study showed that teens are mimicking the way their parents drive if you think that your younger kids aren’t watching, to don’t say a word the next time you are stuck in traffic or are cut off and see what your children do. A three-year-old shouting “oh, come on, just drive already” from the backseat may seem like cute parroting of an adult, but it’s a lesson that they are internalizing.
Now I am not a perfect, or really a good driver. Years of commuting into the loop have made me too aggressive, impatient, and irritable about driving. I am however trying really hard to slow down our life in general and teach our children to be in the moment, be positive, and appreciate what we have.
The way I like to frame it is like this: I can have five more minutes in the car relishing in the conversation and uninterrupted time with my children, or I can stress, rush, and maybe get us somewhere 2-3 minutes earlier, hopefully in one piece. Last week I closed my toddler’s hand in the minivan door. First, off he’s fine and wasn’t severely hurt – luckily. However, that one minute of trying to do multiple things, get bags out of the front seat while closing the door, meant that instead of saving 2 minutes by doing two things at once, I lost hours. I had a sobbing child to console that moment. I had a doctor’s appointment and then driving back and forth to that, I have the consistent reminder and guilt of the moment as I clean out his wound. When you look at the time that way, those two minutes saved aren’t worth it at all.
So slow down.
Stop rushing through life and traffic, in the end, we all get where we need to be when we need to be there.
Chime in! Worst driving you’ve seen in a while? Was it you (we won’t tell!)? Let’s chat in the comments, we’ll keep it friendly because we are all journeying and learning this parenting thing together.
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I hear you about dangerous driving. BUT, I’ve said it for years, inadequate roads force people to take matters into their own hands. It breeds aggressive driving. How many times have we sat through MULTIPLE lights waiting for a short green turn arrow only to see someone ahead of us not paying attention and not even in the intersection before the previous car is all the way through it? We aren’t angry at the light and the inexcusable intersection (although we should be), we are frustrated because some idiot driver is not moving with a purpose or any regard for the people behind them. The onus is put on drivers – slow down, don’t be in a hurry, keep wasting your time and gas in traffic – while nothing is done to fix the REAL problem, the roads. How many times do we have to vote on a 53 extension?