Kids: Driving us to action

Allison Tait blog
Posted on October 28, 2013

photoFor various reasons (some of which are outlined here), I’m not a keen driver.

I do it these days, because you can’t live in the country without driving. And, frankly, I found even in Sydney that it’s hard to get kids around, particularly small ones, without getting behind the wheel.

But I’m still not what you’d call a passionate driver. Which means that if we go any distance, The Builder tends to be in the driver’s seat and I’m in charge of navigation (which I am good at, as are most of the women I know, so let’s blow that ‘women can’t read maps’ myth out of the water, shall we?). Everyone is happy.

I realised the other day, however, that we role model behaviour to our kids without even realising it.

Fam Fibro was in the car for a day-trip to Sydney (we do this quite often as we are just close enough to get away with it and it saves a lot of the palaver attached to finding somewhere to stay the night). About halfway up the Princes Highway, Mr6 suddenly announced, apropos of nothing, that he was never getting married.

The Builder and I raised our eyebrows at each other. “Why?” I asked.

“Because then I’d have to do all the driving,” says Mr6, from the backseat. “I want to travel around Australia in a caravan, and it’s a long way, so I won’t get married, I’ll take a friend instead. That way we can share the driving.”

I must confess, my heart sank.

“Your mum is a sook about driving,” I explained. “Lots of married people share the driving. Look at Aunty Maxabella and Aunty C – they both drive all the time. Aunty Maxabella loves a good drive. It’s not a married thing, it’s a thing specific to your mum.”

I have come a long way with my driving. I have managed to fight back a phobia that left me shaking and with sweaty palms every time I got behind the wheel, to the point where I can drive pretty much anywhere – on my own. If I have to drive distances, I do, but only if I have no other option – which means there is no-one else to do it. And not often.

I am not a passenger in any other aspect of my marriage or life. That chance remark by Mr6 bothered me more than I can say. Perception, as they say, is everything.

And yet I sit here and try to imagine myself telling The Builder ‘I’ll drive’ next time we get in the car to go to Sydney. And I just can’t do it. Not yet.

But I am going to work on this. And I’m going to make sure my kids see me working on this.

If nothing else, I can role model trying, right?


  1. MultipleMum

    We mix it up at our place. Pretty much like all things these days- child care, washing, cooking. The Geege is a better driver than me after all those years as a tour guide (and a master Parker) but I hold my own. First in the car usually takes the wheel.

  2. JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter)

    I love driving! But not in the city. I don’t do the city, but not because I’m a sook, just purely because I don’t know where I’m going. But give me the country or a highway and I’m there. I do like being a passenger though, and am an awesome navigator! Which is good as hubby is HOPELESS!

    • Allison Tait

      See – myth busted right there!

  3. Helen K

    I reckon I’m an excellent driver (and certainly a far better parallel parker than my husband), however my husband is not a good passenger – at least, not when I am driving. He notably flinches because he thinks I am riding the clutch, not changing gears at the right revs or being too impatient (there are a lot of very dawdling drivers out there, I find). He becomes protective of our (his? Disputed points) cars, seemingly more so than the passengers and so it is not worth the anguish of having the lectures -I generally let him drive unless a long drive then we share. Having said that, I also am critical of his driving – particularly gear changing – and when we are driving separately, such as picking up one of the cars and then heading home, it can get a bit competitive. I don’t think that is probably good role modelling for our kids either! ( although we’re always careful re speeding – hate getting a fine)

    • Allison Tait

      The ‘passenger’ driving things drives me crazy too. I don’t do it. But some other people I could mention do…

      • Helen K

        Yes, it is annoying … I better stop doing it too

  4. Maxabella

    Well, we have the opposite role modelling going on here. Uncle Bart enjoys driving about as much as Aunty Alli. It is what it is. You could mention to Mr6 that being married means you DO get to take a friend wherever you go. x

    • Allison Tait

      I tried that line. But I am not Luke or Ben or any of the other members of the bromance pack, so it counts for nought.

  5. Allison Rushby

    I tend to drive because we take my car long distance (as it’s leased, so the petrol is all paid for). Also helps that my car is fabulous, so I want to drive it. Can’t bear driving husband’s car which is… a car.

    • Allison Tait

      At least yours doesn’t break down anymore…

  6. lily malone

    I married a truck driver… so it kind of feels natural that when Fam Malone jump in the car, Hubby will take the wheel. I don’t mind at all.
    I actually hate driving with Hubby as the passenger, because he seems to spend most of the time trying to use an imaginary brake from the passenger seat, and kind of checking my speed out of the corner of his eye when he thinks I don’t notice.
    I’m quite happy driving on my own, and much prefer driving distances, to driving in traffic. I also am a ‘choose the path of least resistance’ driver, which means in the city, I will drive around the block rather than reverse (parallel) park.
    Unfortunately, I agree with the premise of your article though – there are many days where my sons will be in the back and if it’s me at the wheel, they comment about “Are you the driver today, mum?” Like I’m in the wrong place.
    Interesting post Alison – thank you! (Or not, in a way…) 😉

    • Allison Tait

      I know. I hate myself for bringing it up!

  7. Emily

    Hubby does most of our driving (beer-drinking occasions being the main exception). He actually enjoys driving, while I don’t like it at all. I’m also far more tired than him at this stage of our lives (bub #2 still wakes at least once at night), and I’m not ashamed to admit he’s a far better driver than me. I’d generally rather have him behind the wheel than me, especially when we’re driving in the country at night dodging roos.

  8. Lucy

    I do drive, a lot. All local. I CAN drive – big English motorways etc etc. But I have never loved it. And I empathise with your trepidation.

    My Mum only ever drove locally – never on motorways or on big drives.

    But she gardened and threw sledghammers through walls during renovations and a whole load of other things.

    I reckon you’re a model parent, regardless.

    • Allison Tait

      Fab. I do sledgehammers and all other manner of useful things. I feel better now.

  9. Amanda Kendle

    Eeeek. It is precisely the same in our household for the same reasons. Never occurred to me that Mr3 will think this is normal. Must amend before it’s too late.

    • Allison Tait

      He’ll be fine. He can join Mr6 in the caravan.

  10. Kelly Exeter

    I do not drive either. I hate driving and Ant hates being driven by me. See – match made in heaven 🙂

    The result of this however is that Jaden knows ‘mummy only drives when Daddy has had more than 2 beers’. How’s THAT for modelling behaviour?!

    • Allison Tait

      I think you are showing him that everyone needs a Plan B.

  11. John James

    You’ll have to introduce Mr 6 to me – I’ve haven’t driven a car for over 20 years because I’m such a driving sook… 😉

    I just don’t trust myself behind the wheel… cars are lethal weapons, and you need to have your wits about you if you are going use one of those things… I’m just not like that… so, I leave the driving to others…

    I still have a license though… I use it for ID…

    • Allison Tait

      I will let Mr6 know! 🙂

Pin It on Pinterest