I started driving a few years ago and it has been a blessing. I drive a small automatic car and my husband has an XUV for his use. The small automatic car is brand new. I use my car mostly to run house errands and dropping kids to their activity classes etc. My kids recently told me ‘all the mumma’s drive a small car and papa’s drive the big car!’. As a mother and a woman, it came as a shock to me. My kids stated the obvious. They understood something which they are used to seeing. I told them this is not true. Everyone can drive what they want to and it’s about personal choice. Pat came a second question “Mom, then why don’t you drive the big car?”. I didn’t have an answer besides saying I will learn soon. This was not looking good for my gender-neutral Parenting philosophy.
This conversation made me think. It’s so common for wives to accept and suggest buying a smaller car or taking the old car. It’s like so ingrained in our thought process unknowingly that we don’t even notice. All the advertisements for scooties are for women drivers and all the big fancy cars have male celebrities endorsing it. Gender stereotype grooming happens to us indirectly every day. Why don’t we ask for the big new car with state of the art features? The wife and kids deserve a good quality car, don’t they? Why are the woman’s views restricted to the choice of colour and brand? Why I never asked for the ‘Big New Car’? Is it that my average driving skills make me unsuitable for a brand new car? Maybe the chances of me getting that accidental bump and dent are much higher. I realized that even though I drive really well, the idea of driving the ‘Big Car’ does make me second guess my driving skills. No one told me I could not drive the big car but I seem to blindly follow what I see around me.
The mommy friends I have mostly drive an old small car or the second car. There are some refreshing exceptions and they certainly stand out. Maybe it’s because I picked up driving a bit late in life and managing a small car seemed more practical.
I started driving a few years ago because of my husband. He really encouraged me to take it up and taught me to be fearless in Delhi traffic. Being able to drive has given me a sense of freedom and independence. I no longer worry about returning home late in a cab because I drive now.
So I went to my husband declaring I will be driving the ‘Big Car’ because it’s just unfair. To my surprise, he was really happy. He told me it would be of great help because it’s easier to find parking at his office for the small car.
So this weekend we all dressed up and walked to the ‘Big Car’. My husband handed me the keys and my three year old said, “but it’s Papa’s car!”. Just like Jake Sully in the movie Avatar, I smiled, closed my eyes, held the steering wheel tightly trying to bond with the car beast and started the engine.
Ladies, I took my first ride on The ‘Big Car’, my Toruk Makto'( the big Dragon in Avatar movie). I need a lot of practice but I am determined to master it. Kids teach us many things unknowingly so let’s hear them carefully and overcome our hesitations and do something we never thought we would. We are not perfect so we must unlearn to get better.
So don’t think that you are a home maker so you don’t deserve that shining new car. YOU ABSOLUTELY DO! Driving is a skill and it’s about practice and not gender. So take out that ‘Big Car’ this weekend and show the kids.. ‘Mumma drives the Big Car’!