We’ve definitely spent a lot of time at home this year. If you remember, Zack was in a scary car accident in January which left us AMAZED at the protection of God. Even though his car went under a semi truck while traveling on the freeway, Zack walked away with just a small cut on his forehead. However, his car was so damaged that we had to leave it at the scrap yard. Since it was winter we decided to not purchase a second car just yet, but now that we’re about two weeks away from having our fourth baby we are mid-process of saving for another car. We easily have six weeks before I’ll be going anywhere during the day with ALL of my little ones, but I know that time will go by fast so we’ve already begun saving.
So while we have been a one-car family for the entire year (which Zack takes to work 99% of the time), it’s based on reactions received that I know this concept is unbearable to many! I wanted to share a little more about how we are making it work in case your family needs the extra encouragement as you find yourself in a similar situation ;)
My first thought, once my heart settled down a little from his January accident, was to think about all the positives with where we live. Here are a few: we live in an adorable neighborhood with sidewalks, a fenced-in back yard, and many friends who live nearby / are able to visit US for play dates and coffee. During the warmer weather months, we have two parks we can easily walk to, not to mention an ice-cream shop. We also have a finished basement for playing, outdoor games, craft supplies, and a house full of books.
I decided to put all of these positives to the test and keep my focus on all the fun (and learning) we can experience right here at home (or in our neighborhood) to encourage our family WE CAN THRIVE as a one-car family.
During the winter we played outside as often as we could (which was way more frequent than I had anticipated), so that when we were inside we were able to focus on “inside only” activities. I also moved our furniture around a lot during the winter months ;)
Once winter had nearly passed I began homeschooling Maxwell (and including Natalie as often as possible). This gave us even more fun to focus on as we could try new activities based on what I was teaching. I tried to take all our past experiences living in Minneapolis and Los Angeles, both of which taught us so much about transportation possibilities and creative living.
It feels really good to take all of our experiences and ask myself, “what did I learn from that season, and how can I apply this to my current season?”
Almost every day we would bundle up and go on a walk, again because of our past experiences living in other cities with much different weather compared to Michigan. During this time I also purchased a few new craft supplies for us all to enjoy! Spending just ten bucks brought us a lot of new crafting ideas. It encourages me to remember it doesn’t take a lot of money to have a really great time with my children. I also spent a few days organizing the kids toys and book collections, clothing, and rotated what wasn’t being used with other items held in storage. Oh, all the new possibilities this brought!
Now it is late spring, and summer is just a few weeks away, our “stay at home” options are growing once again. (Hang in there, mama!) Again, time to think about all the positives about where we live: we have a really nice backyard swing set for the kids, a patio table to use for more than just serving meals: crafting, learning, mud pie making. And we recently planted flowers outside, which has been like WOWZA, LOOK AT ALL THE EXTRA COLOR, I LOVE HAVING FLOWERS PLANTED IN OUR YARD! Ha.
This is not to say it’s been hard some days to be without a second car, but I don’t think it’s been any worse than being stuck at home because of bad weather, a sick child, or some other unpreventable reason.
It has been extremely helpful to remember our WHY for not having a second car. If you are in a similar situation, review your WHY. Also make a short list of uncommon activities you can share with your kiddos to make the day a little more fun or rewarding. And then lastly, this is not a forever thing for us. It’s a short-term choice with a great long-term goal in mind (continuing to stay out of debt).
Even if your family lives in a more rural area I’m positive there are special activities you can create for your children to make the time pass until you’re able to purchase another car. If you’ve been wanting to spruce up an area of of your yard, this could be a great time to make it happen! Maybe you create an outside snowball fort for the winter or transform part of your garage to a cold-weather hideout? Maybe you invest in a raised bed vegetable garden and assign responsibilities to everyone who’s able to help? Maybe you are intentional about organizing Saturday morning library visits (when you’ll have your car) based around a child’s specific interests or school lessons being taught? Maybe host a morning book club and hire a mommy’s helper to look after your kids? You can serve lunch to your guests before everyone leaves for nap time.
This has been an exciting challenge for our family! And if you find yourself in a similar situation I hope you feel the same way, too! Do not be discouraged, mama!