Murphy’s Laws of Driving With Little Kids

Murphy’s Laws of Driving With Little Kids

It should be illegal to travel with small children in the backseat of a car. The distractions caused by children far outnumber any minor diversions caused by cellphone use, hair brushing or newspaper reading while driving. I cringe when I think back to some of the journeys I took while running on three hours of sleep in the months after each child’s birth. The police should stop wasting time ticketing speeders and phone-talkers. Sleep-deprived mommas are where the real money is.

1. Before you start the car, each child has a favorite toy in hand. As you back away from the house, someone flings a toy across the car, causing you to reach back and pick it up.

2. Before you back out of the driveway, the old DVD player is dusted off and plugged in. Once you’re on the highway a child kicks the DVD player, loosens the plug and makes the red light turn off, causing you to swerve all over the mountain road to try to restart it.

3. There will be vomit involved.

4. If the kids do fall asleep, it will happen fifteen minutes before you arrive at your destination, thus nixing any possibility of a real nap that day.

5. Before the car is in reverse, each child has a snack within reach. As you drive away, one child will drop said snack and needs you to stop the car to retrieve it. Every time you pass a snack to the backseat someone will complain, “Why did she get more Mini Wheats than me?” or “Why did he get his banana first?”

6. At the beginning of your journey each child has a sippy cup in hand. Just as you are merging onto the highway, your toddler flips her cup upside down, gleefully shouting “Shower! Shower!” while drenching herself with milk.

7. Even though you have purposely played only non-toddler music in your car for two years, the day you have a long journey to take is the day you accidentally put in a Raffi CD. Your children will sing Baby Beluga at the top of their lungs on every car trip you take for the next three years.

8. It goes without saying that you will stop for a bathroom break. Always at the most inopportune time and nastiest truck stop restroom.

9. Just when everyone settles down and you relax a little with your coffee, the steady refrain of “ARE WE THERE YET?” starts. You are not even a sixteenth of the way there yet.

10. If your baby starts the trip happily sucking on a pacifier, it will eventually be flung to the muddy, Cheerio-covered floor, causing you to drive with one hand and crane the other arm backwards to hold the pacifier in the wailing child’s mouth.

{These laws apply only to one or two-hour trips to grandma’s house. For longer trips, take a plane.}

About the writer

A reformed perfectionist and former grade one teacher, Anna admits that raising her own two children is more challenging than teaching twenty-five six year olds how to read. Blogging at Murphy Must Have Had Kids is her way of embracing the perfect and not-so-perfect moments of life with little ones. She wanders around Vancouver Island with her very patient husband, spirited 5-year-old son and joyful 18-month-old daughter.


B 8 months ago

Yeah no. Except for the nap one

Jessica 8 months ago

I can relate to all of this!

You forgot screaming, fighting, fit throwing, and wars… That will distract you too.

I also have reached back and bottle fed an infant with one hand while driving. My other kids were sleeping (otherwise they would have been holding the bottle) and we still had two hours left to go. If I would have stopped everyone would have woken up and be awake for the rest of the trip (crying and begging to get out of the car till we got there) and not have gotten an adequate nap in which means they all would have been super crabby the rest of the day!

Michelle 3 years ago

#7 currently applies to me, but the song is “Baby got back”

Sarah 3 years ago

TOTALLY! Especially #5. Every time I turn around to hand something to my kids, I think “this is ok, but cell phones are not? This is much more dangerous!” And I had to threaten loss of said snack if the order of delivery of that snack was questioned outloud. “Why did s/he get it first?” makes me wanna dump their snack out the window. :)

Loukia 3 years ago

Love this, and yes, so, so true! What about the non-stop kicking of the seats, or the siblings fighting in the back seat? And the screaming, crying, yelling…

    murphy must have had kids 3 years ago

    I’m lucky I’ve never had seat-kickers. Of course, now that I’ve said that I will. :)

Kristen Mae 3 years ago

This is too funny. One time when my little boy was two, he found a full water bottle in the back seat, managed to get it open, and dumped its entire contents into the crack of the back seat. Never did figure out where all that water went…

But I wouldn’t ever reach into the backseat unless I’m stopped at a light. 😉

Jeni Kramer 3 years ago

YES to all of these! And the Cheerios on the floor – so many, many Cheerios…

    Scarlet 3 years ago

    My husband tried to ban Cheerios and other snacks from our van. Brave and thoroughly unenforceable words from a man who does not travel half an hour home with them after preschool every day. Here’s your snacks, kids.

      Sandy 3 years ago


Lawry 3 years ago

Not to mention dodging the concussion causing sippy cup hurled at maximum force 5 seconds down the road because said child has already drained the exlarge cup intended to last the whole trip !!! LOL!!

Sandy 3 years ago

So true. Just yesterday on a short drive, I asked my 5 and 7 year old if they wanted us to get into a car accident. I had to, the bickering and asking for stuff from me was getting ridiculous and the noise level was unbelievable.

Sili 3 years ago

So, so, true. Especially the nap part. We took a 6 hour trip over Christmas and this chick never even attempted to go down for a nap. But let us start pulling in somewhere and she’s out like a light.

    murphy must have had kids 3 years ago

    Every time, Sili. Every time.

Life with Kaishon 3 years ago

So darn true.


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