Being a one-car family doesn’t work for everyone.
Adults who work on opposites ends of a city or town don’t have the time — or gas money — to make the round trip every day. Also, if you have over four kids, sometimes the logistics just don’t work out, and upgrading to two cars becomes a necessity, not a choice.
But for some, the choice to scale down to one car, and embrace being a one-car family, can have unexpected benefits.
Recently, a friend of mine, a two-car-owning, two-kid-having friend of mine, had to put one of her family’s vehicles in the shop for an extended period of time—it turns out that changing your oil isn’t optional—and she felt very put out at first.
She had to deal with the loss of freedom that comes with hopping in the car and heading to the store whenever she’d like and she felt a little stranded if someone else had the car, but slowly and surely, she began to see that the good far outweighed the bad.
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Driving together as a family really does bring you closer together in a way that improves your state as a family and as a couple.
The Unexpected Benefits for a One-Car Family
The first morning my friend and her hubby commuted to work together as a one-car family, they got up at the same time, shared the work of getting the kids ready, and sat down to a quick breakfast together. She couldn’t remember the last time they had that sort of connection on a weekday. She and her husband both felt a little weight taken off their shoulders that morning.
They also started listening to audiobooks and podcasts together, at her suggestion. This gave them something to look forward to on the drive to and from work. It was a special thing, albeit a small thing, that they got to share between themselves.
When they would pick the kids up, sometimes the family would make impromptu stops at fun places like putt-putt, the local ice cream shop or the movies, things they wouldn’t have dreamed of doing without the other in the car. While these things may seem small to us, my friend says that it opened her family up to a new kind of closeness, where it was more than proximity — it was true enjoyment of each other’s company.
They eventually got their second car back, and they still have it, but part of me suspects that my friend may never get the oil changed on that car again.