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True Confessions: How Messy Is Your Mom-mobile?

It’s something I swore I’d never do: let my car get messy after having kids.  My car was relatively clean before we had babies, and I thought if I kept up with it enough, it would stay that way once the kids got older.  Pretty naive, huh?  :)   I used to be so grossed out by family vehicles, frankly – all the old Cheerios, grubby toys, and crumbs on the seats.  Ick!  Go into my garage, though, and you’ll find out that my car is decorated in the exact same way.

A few weeks ago I was surfing the internets and found out about this contest (now over):  Mom’s Messy Car Photo Contest. It made me a little relieved to see that this trend is more common than not.  Even though the contest was expired, I got my camera and grabbed a few shots anyway.  Here’s a peek!

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Your standard collection of toys on the floor of the car, almost never played with.

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This one shows a bit more garbage, which grosses me out.  How did I let that happen?

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Finally, you have a shot of my daughter’s handprints all over the back-inside of the car.  Rest assured, she is not bumping around the back of the car while it’s moving.  (If you must know, hubby & I were “discussing something intently” while sitting in a parking lot, and we let her climb over the seats to keep her busy.)  This is the kind of thing I will never get around to cleaning – I barely go through a drive-through car wash, much less take windex & a towel to the interior side of the windows.

I often comment to friends that I desire to have a clutter-free, “Real Simple-style” home, but who are we kidding?  With toddlers, this is just not realistic.  If I prioritize a beautifully clean car, that means I am sacrificing something else: time and joy with my kids.  So for now, the deal is, I let some messes slide in the name of preserving my sanity.  I want to teach my kids how to pick up after themselves, but I don’t want to be on them every two seconds about throwing a toy on the car floor.  If Rice Krispies make them happy, I’ll vacuum up the dropped ones eventually.  I’m okay with my messy mom-mobile.

What about you?  On a scale of one to ten, how messy is your family car? Do you have any practical tips for keeping it organized?

11 Responses to True Confessions: How Messy Is Your Mom-mobile?

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Kim
    May 29, 2009 @ 4:37 am

    I love it! We try at the end of the week to have a day where I pull out of the garage and dump everything on the driveway (usually a Sunday evening) and start over. But it never fails….by Wednesday it is an extreme mess again. Your post made me feel a bit more “normal”. Thanks!

  • Gravatar May 29, 2009 @ 5:26 am

    Oh, you just made me feel SO much better! My car is the exact same and when I drop my son at school I feel like they’re all judging me! Thanks so much for posting this!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Pamela Kramer
    May 29, 2009 @ 5:53 am

    OK – I always clean mine when I get gas. It’s a great spot for the trash and gives me time to organize a bit. I have to confess there is a smell. I don’t know what it is (smells like vomit or poopy diaper) but I can’t find it! It is really grossing me out. It just started yesterday and I just want to find the source. Ewwww

  • Comment by Sharon M
    May 29, 2009 @ 6:36 am

    I think keeping your car tidy is a little like keeping your house tidy — if you don’t tackle it at the end of EVERY DAY, it won’t stay clean. That being said, I am a clutter-queen, so I can imagine that, once we get our car, mine will look no better (or probably worse) than anyone else’s car! Even when we rent a car to go on a little day trip or something, the car is a disaster area by the time we get back.

    I think we just have to resign ourselves to the fact that having toddlers essentially prevents you from having a clean ________ (house, car, you name it).

  • Comment by Dawn
    May 29, 2009 @ 7:22 am

    Glad I could be an encouragement to all of you! :) Sharon, you are exactly right. For a period of at least 7 years, I think messes are just a part of family life.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Natalie
    May 29, 2009 @ 7:23 am

    I just started to put baskets in my car on the floor. One is for trash and one is for toys. :) It at least keeps it all together and then I can deal with it that way!!! It’s funny how different the front looks compared to the back!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Debbie P.
    May 29, 2009 @ 8:36 am

    Wow! This post has really got me to thinking. Why in the world is my car cleaner now than when I was single?

    We don’t go out to eat or do fast food so no trash that way, hubby usually puts in the gas so no BIG GULP cups or candy wrappers and we’re a 1 car family so I have the car 3 days a week which cuts down on car time clutter.

    The only thing I purposefully do to limit clutter is allow each child only 1 doll, car or book in the car at a time(unless it’s a longer trip) and they need to bring it back in the house later.

    Now ask me how my PURSE has changed since becoming a mommy! DISGUSTING!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Kelly
    May 29, 2009 @ 9:26 am

    Amen, sisters!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Amy
    May 29, 2009 @ 7:53 pm

    We went to the beach for the Memorial Day weekend. And that added sand and dog hair to the mix of toys and mess. Yuck!!!

    So I cleared everything out and headed to The Wash Tub. It’s been nice to have a clean truck for a few days… just waiting until it’s a complete mess again!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Rae Ann
    May 30, 2009 @ 6:39 pm

    On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say my car is about an 8. In addition to two kids (4 and 2), I have three dogs. We are in the car ALL. THE. TIME. We have a family ranch 6 hours away and we make that trip at least twice a month. I am ashamed to admit that my car got so messy that it attracted mice! Gah! My husband is completely repulsed and will periodically clean it out. The kids hardly ever ride in his truck, so he just doesn’t get it.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Deb
    June 1, 2009 @ 10:42 pm

    I’m topping out at 10. When I’m embarrassed by other kids riding in my car, then I know I’m in trouble. Forget the toddlers, 10 year old ballerinas in a carpool can do a lot of damage :)

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