I’m Determined To Keep My New Car A ‘No Eating’ Zone

new carSort of exciting news, my friends! We just bought a new SUV thingy. I had held back on this for many, many months, since, while I like SUVs, I don’t necessarily think all SUV drivers are the best drivers (and I don’t think I will be one either.)

I had to give in. My fiancé and I and our four children (especially the baby with the huge car seat) have not been able to take one car anywhere. When we visit parents or friends, or drive to my cottage, or just want to go for dinner, we always have to take two cars. I didn’t mind this, since I like quietness, but I finally gave into my fiancé’s pleas.

“We can’t even go as a family anywhere together!”

And I will agree with the car seat and growing children, all who have long legs, no one was comfortable in either of our cars.

Children are messy though. When I bought my car a few years ago I was thrilled. It was black on black, shiny, and I had an electronic woman’ voice who talked to me like a friend (after I plugged in directions.) But, best of all, it SMELLED LIKE NEW CAR.

Who doesn’t get off of the smell of new car? Next to the smell of the shampoo my hairdresser uses, there’s no better smell. My mother-in-law got a new car more than a year ago, and hers still smells like “new car.”

When I first got my new car, I made a rule that it was to be a “NO EATING CAR” meaning my daughter was not allowed to eat in the car. That lasted about a week, until we went to my parents’ house and they handed her a cookie as we drove off. It just went down hill from there.

Before I could say, “Super size fries!” she was eating McDonald’s in the back seat when I’d take her through drive-thru. She was eating banana bread from Starbucks, which trust me, is worse than eating French fries. She was even eating ice cream cones.

So, my “new car” smell lasted about six months, maybe, before the stench of not “new car” took over. I would find French fries on the floor and in between the seats, crumbles of banana bread everywhere, and, of course, give a kid a juice box in a car (or at least my daughter) and forget about it — it will spill. Then there were her schoolbooks, her dance clothes, her art work, her toys, markers —  the entire back seat looked like we were actually living in it.

It got to the point that I thought, “Oh my god. RATS are living in this car. I swear, I think I heard something scurrying around!”

You can reach this post's author, Rebecca Eckler, on twitter.
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    • Blueathena623

      Rebecca, this is a really great article. Even before kids my car was (ok, is) basically a tenement on wheels. Every once in a while I’ll totally clean up and convince myself that this time, THIS TIME I will never let it get dirty again. I’ll let you know if that ever happens.

      • CMJ

        “tenement on wheels” !!!! AMAZING.

    • Tea

      OCD Husband Says: Vacuum frequently and stain-guard that sucker, frequent vacuuming will also help the upholstery (especially the carpet!) last longer. Also, if you have leather seats, get some leather lotion and they won’t crack or split, because that’s a bear to replace. Also, canned air all the crevices every now and then.

      My husband works in the automotive field, and can identify what kind of person drives a car by smell alone. He even has identified the smell of “family car” as being stale french fries, cola spices and syrup. He can also ID “College student”, ” Hippy”, ” Businessman”, ” Activist,” “Hoarder” and ” Only-goes-out-on-sunday.” Our car smells like vanilla and cleaning products because he is a little OCD about it after spending way too much time in other people’s cars, he’s gone a bit neurotic.

      I can’t judge, I’m pretty much banned from eating or drinking anything in the car that does not have a lid, because I might stain something. That, and eating in a Miata is a contortion act. But it’s torture to have to sit there with food in your lap and stare at it all the way home.

    • http://www.facebook.com/houde.veronique Véronique Houde

      LOL my boyfriend is anal about the car being clean, but believe it or not, most of the trash and stains in it are made by him ;). Obviously he blames me for the food stains on the passenger seat because I am the one who bought him the pierogies (note I did not force him to eat them in the car), but I do get a sense of satisfaction from knowing that I’m not responsible for the mess. He can pay for the expensive car cleaning!

    • CrazyFor Kate

      This made me chuckle. Work all you want to keep something of your life in good condition, kids will always find a way to mess it up.

    • EmmaFromÉire

      My number one gripe is the SMELL!! Whether it be crisps or the occasional sneaky drivethrough, it always ends up smelling horrendous. And the crumbs. I could wax lyrical about how much I hate stray crumbs!

      My aunt’s children spilt a bottle of milk on the backseat once. They’d been drinking their bottles in their carseats and dropped them aside when they fell asleep, and the milk leaked, drying into the upholstery before she could do anything about it. I think that smell will haunt me forever.

    • Kel

      I had that rule, and enforced it. Then one of my kids threw up in the car. You can’t win.