“I don’t know how you guys do it.”
The “it” would be owning one car. (A minivan to be precise.) We are a six-person family, going lots of different places, and we have one vehicle to get us from place to place.
I love it.
For Jana and I, for the entirety of our history we have had only one car between us. We are use to it being the norm. We plan our schedules accordingly because of it. The first two and a half years we lived in Omaha, we worked at separate places. I would often drop her off in the morning, and then pick her up in the afternoon. Would it have been easier to have two cars and not deal with some of the extra driving and traffic? Of course, but would it be worth it? No. There is the additional expenses with having a second car (fuel, maintenance, insurance), plus the cost of the car as well. It would have soaked up a lot of our income, money we were trying to use wisely as we prepared to be home owners.
At times, it struck me as odd there was a bit of an expectation to have a second car. I didn’t worry about perception with owning only one car. The benefits didn’t outweigh the cost of a second car.
When my family was given our current van, I sold our car without thinking twice about it. The car was over twenty years old, so some would understand getting rid of it. But not replacing it? Again, the benefit wasn’t there for us.
When Liam was born…then Duncan…then Gideon…then Charlie, Jana and I never considered getting a second car. If anything, I started embracing being a one car family more. The driver for this was experiencing the additional time with my family. It is an awesome benefit of being a one car family.
Doctor appointments, play dates, zoo trips, work meetings, church events, family errands, whatever it may be where we both need to drive, we schedule and plan so it works best for our family. Jana and the boys will drop me off at work in the morning when they need the van for something. It’s extra time with them not only in the minivan, but also in the morning as we get ready to go. Our schedules overlap more.
They will pick me up later in the day, and we have more time together. It’s an additional thirty minutes, on average, each day this happens. Thirty minutes of conversation and interaction with my boys who are at an age where they thirst for it. At a minimum, that’s an hour a week of extra time with my family. Over time, those hours add up.
So we continue to be a one car family. When the boys reach high school our reality may change, but there is no need to rush into that today. Today, it’s a pickup, drop off, and a spur of the moment lunch since we are all together in the minivan.
How do we do it? Well, I’ve laid out some of the reasons here. Why we do it is more important, though. Today, I would figure how to do it in some fashion because the benefit of the why is of such importance.