Like most of us, the first couple of cars I drove were my parents’ cars. You learned, tried not to scuff anything, and were used to changing the radio station from the oldies to today’s hits.
My dad is a self-described “car guy.” He loves cars. He loves shopping for cars, researching cars, test-driving cars, looking at cars, talking about cars, and opining about future automobile purchases. If any member of his family is test-driving a car, it’s a personal insult to him if you don’t drive it over to his house so he can take a look. He worked in the auto industry, so it wasn’t just his hobby. It was his livelihood.
Let’s just call him Car Dad.
My husband is not a car guy. For him, the car gets him where he’s going. He wants it to be reliable, affordable, and black. Every car he’s driven since the late nineties has been black.
Let’s just call him Not Car Husband.
Back to those first few cars in my life, I drove what my dad told me to drive. He was the decision-maker and had the checkbook. This suited me just fine.
Later, once I was married to Not Car Husband, I learned that if it got us there, it didn’t matter if it was cool, fast, or classic. I had two small children and a high-pressure career. Not Car Husband making the car decisions suited me just fine.
I didn’t take charge of this aspect of life until well into my thirties. After a lifetime of sitting in the back seat of car shopping, I finally took the wheel. I suppose I’m a late bloomer. So there I was, in the market for a vehicle. I was determined not to lean on Car Dad or Not Car Husband when it came to this big purchase.
Buying my first car, without the input of my Car Dad and my Not Car Husband, saw me driving off the lot in an early Jeep Liberty. The television news business has no snow days, and my first-ever, four-wheel drive got me to work in every weather condition. The Jeep suited my needs and fit my budget. Also, it was cute.
The success of that decision bolstered my confidence in my abilities as a savvy car consumer. I haven’t taken Car Dad or Not Car Husband along for decades. Also, I’m good at it. So much so that when my sons wanted to buy their first few cars, they came to me.
I’m Car Mom!
Car Mom understands a few things. She gets that your favorite color is red. But that’s not the point. Is this a vehicle for quick commutes? Do you need to drive across the state on a regular basis? Do you need good pickup, or are you into pickup trucks? Leather interiors are nice. They also make your backside sweaty. What’s your cash flow like? Do you need good gas mileage or space to haul?
Car Mom diverges from Car Dad in that Car Dad has loved some of his cars so much he’s afraid to drive them lest they get a dreaded scuff. Car Mom recognizes that her sons aren’t too particular when it comes to crumbs. Good to know when they try to upsell that fancy interior.
Car Mom diverges from Not Car Husband in appreciating that cars are cool! While you might not be in love with your car, some bells and whistles can make you ridiculously happy.
Car Mom prioritizes safety over speed. Car Mom won’t be pressured. She’s learned which car dealerships treat you well and which salesmen are condescending. Car Mom has the personal cellphone of the dealership owner. Car Mom wants you to like the car but won’t let you blow your budget.
Car Mom would love you to take her along the next time you go car shopping. Or at least on the test drive. But she won’t be offended if you don’t. Car Mom is cool.
Car Mom likes the radio on the eighties station. No, I said the eighties station, not the oldies station. What? Oh, ha ha. Now let’s get you into a vehicle.