This afternoon the children and I got ourselves packed and organised, dropped off Dwarf Hamsters and Giant African Land Snails at my long-suffering mum’s house, and set off in the car for a 55 mile trip to visit my partner and his family for a few days.
It’s a trip I make quite often, as you can imagine, with and without the children. I love driving on my own, with the ipod playing the Saw Doctors at full volume, singing along at the top of my voice (and invariably having a croaky voice by the time I arrive!).
Thankfully, I also love driving with the children in the car. It used to be more of a chore when they were much younger, trying to cope with their needs as well as drive (being still married at that point meant that at least the non driver could cope with the children while the other one concentrated on the road). Now however, at 13, 11 and 7, they are fabulous company.
On the journey today we have sung along en masse to various songs on my ipod, all selected by One, the DJ for the journey. We made up new words to some of the songs and did some classic Wayne’s World headbanging to Bohemian Rhapsody. And we talked.
Some of our best conversations happen in the car. We talked about family stuff, not to be gone into here but I think we all came to a little more understanding of each others’ point of view. And we had a very long and interesting conversation about the media’s portrayal of people, but women in particular, as needing to be thin to be worth anything. We talked at length about photoshopping, diets, make up, self image and advertising. And I was very pleased to hear that the children already share my thoughts on the matter without me having to lecture them.
I don’t cover up at home. I mean, I am not a naturist (I am far too nesh for that!), but when I get up to go to the bathroom in the morning I don’t bother putting any clothes on first and am perfectly happy for the children to see me au naturelle so to speak. And one of the reasons for that is so they get to see what a normal average woman really looks like. Without the dubious benefits of photoshop. I encouraged them all to look around, next time they are in town or another busy place, to take note of the different shapes and sizes of the real people all around them, and then compare them to the images they see in the media and on television.
I love these conversations. They happen so naturally and we all learn so much from each other. Driving with my children is not a chore, it is a privilege and I love it.
And let’s face it, a set of three children who can join in with all the words to Bohemian Rhapsody, harmonise along with Queen and headbang with the best of them, is a set of children worth having, isn’t it? I am so, so lucky!