Murphy’s Laws of Driving With Little Kids

by Anna
Originally Published: 

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.}

This article was originally published on