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The (Other) Secret Place Moms Go to Hide

hiding in cars
Image source: Ellen Seidman

On a recent Sunday evening, I got home from running an errand but didn’t feel like going into our house. It had been a particularly hectic day and I really needed some time to myself. Also, I wasn’t ready to face the weekend’s accumulated clutter. And so, I sat in our driveway for a good 20 minutes, listening to a podcast, chugging from my water bottle, and relaxing.

Then I visited my local moms’ group on Facebook.

“Ever come home and sit in your car in the driveway just for a few minutes of peace? Hello from my minivan!” I asked.

I guess some may consider it sad that hanging out in a parked minivan qualifies as a good time, but those people probably don’t have kids.
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It turned out that many moms had the exact same hiding spot. These women rallied around my admission and shared that they, too, hide in their cars:

“In the driveway, in the Target parking lot, at Whole Foods … ,” responded one mom.

“Yes, every day — I call it my driveway office,” said another.

“Best ‘me time’ ever!” summed up one, expressing the sentiments of us all.

Some moms wisely chose to park down the street from their homes, lest their family spy them in the driveway. A few said they hung out in the parking lot of their children’s school before pick up. One woman chose to catch up on sleep. “Today I actually slept in my car in a parking lot, surrounded by shoppers,” she reported. “It was bliss.”

All of this discussion gave me an excellent idea: Certain stores already have parking spots for pregnant ladies. Wouldn’t it be awesome if they had dedicated mom sleeping spots, too? They could be an incredible safe haven for us exhausted moms.

While my family has yet to discover my habit, other moms have not been as lucky.

“I am often asked, ‘What were you doing in the driveway for so long?’ Sometimes, they come get me,” sighed one mom. At which point another suggested, “Let’s just pull into each other’s driveways! I get texts from home when I’m in the driveway!”

My driveway is my oasis; my own bit of heaven.
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I guess some may consider it sad that hanging out in a parked minivan qualifies as a good time, but those people probably don’t have kids.

Worse, given that idling is bad for the environment and illegal in many places, sometimes you shut off the engine and find yourself freezing or sweating like a pig. Still, I consider these times a win. My driveway is my oasis; my own bit of heaven. Heck, my home “away” from home!

It’s true that going to a coffee shop and reading a book would be more exciting, but that involves time I typically don’t have. An impromptu driveway escape is totally doable with no planning necessary. It’s also true that feasibly, I could find a quiet spot inside the house, but my children would inevitably locate me to ask important questions such as, “Where is the bag of rubber bands?” or “Ben put his trains in the kitchen sink while Daddy was looking at his phone and then he let the water run and now the whole floor is wet!”

Sigh.

When I’m hanging out in the driveway, my kids have to fend for themselves. Come to think of it, I’m teaching them independence. Win-win!

The bottom line here is true of all things motherhood: Whatever works to get you through the day is fair game. We moms deserve chill time … however we can find it.

As one fellow driveway dweller put it, “I don’t even get privacy to use the bathroom, so I’m taking these five minutes for myself.”

Ultimately, it’s far better for my family if I walk in the door calm, as opposed to a frazzled lunatic who yells, “THERE ARE SO MANY SHOES PILED UP BY THE DOOR I COULD BARELY OPEN IT!” (Not that I know any mom who’s done that …)

I realize I’ve basically outed myself here, so nobody tell my husband and kids. And if you happen to spot me sitting in my driveway or in front of your house, don’t worry. I’m all right. In fact, I’m great.

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