Do You Need a New Car?
My husband and I bought a family car long before we decided to start trying to have a baby. It wasn’t a minivan or anything, but the PT Cruiser was much more family-friendly than the Eclipse that my husband drove to and from work.
When my daughter came along we were glad we had the family car because although her rear-facing car seat fit in the Eclipse it was a very tight squeeze. Pretty soon my husband started hinting that it may be time to trade in the small car so we could have two cars that comfortably fit all three of us. I resisted for a few reasons, but mainly because the car was paid off and I really wasn’t looking to deal with a new baby in addition to a car payment. I managed to stave off my husband’s desire for a new car for quite some time, especially when we realized (much to my delight) that once my daughter was forward-facing we all fit into the smaller car quite nicely.
Then came the second baby. My husband started talking about a new car again, because we knew that all four of us would have problems squeezing into the Eclipse and the PT Cruiser seemed to have a new and interesting problem arise every time I took it in for a routine oil change. Still, I resisted, part way because I didn’t want a car payment and also because I knew that we weren’t quite finished with demolishing the insides of the family car.
I’m a pretty clean person. I’m usually able to keep things somewhat orderly, so at first it really made me crazy that I wasn’t able to keep the inside of the car clean. Cheerios, splatters of juice and little pieces of toys that had broken were scattered all over the car. Infants make small messes in cars, but once the kids start snacking, look out!
I know what you’re thinking. “I just won’t allow my kids to eat or drink in the car.” Well, good luck with that. Sometimes the only thing that will calm a screaming toddler down is a well-timed bag of crackers or a juice box, so it wasn’t long before I relented and let my kids snack in the car.
So, going back to the question of if you should buy a new family car when you’re pregnant or when you have a new baby, I advise you to wait until your kids are just a little bit older. As long as your car is safe and seats all of you, there really is no reason to rush out and get a bigger car. Besides, chances are that whatever car you buy is going to get trashed. Trust me. When we did finally trade in the PT Cruiser, I was actually mortified to hand over the keys because I knew that the person at the dealership who was tasked to detail the inside of the car would be cursing the day I drove on to the lot.
As for the Eclipse, we sold that to a teenager who lives down the road from us. Every so often I see him drive by and I really do miss zooming around in that small car. Then again, at least my new car doesn’t reek of juice.