Working Mum Life… can we muddle through with one car?

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We made the bold leap to having one family car back in 2012, when our daughter was less than a year old and we had realised 50% of our vehicle assets were sitting stationary on our driveway most of the time.

There were some pretty specific elements of our scenario that enabled the decision of course. Dad Muddling Through’s ability to walk to the train station to catch his commuter train, our desire to upgrade to a decent family car, and the rapidly declining status of our social life.

Devastated though I was to say goodbye to my pride and joy, Bluebell the VW Beetle, we had traded her in and made do with one light blue Corsa which was struggling to cope with the ever increasing boot requirements.

So with plans to increase our family by at least another one human, I accepted one of my babies had to go, for the greater good.

We managed really well with Dan the Qashquai for several years and I gushed about how fantastic the decision to become a one car family had become.

We had halved our car tax, MOT, service and fuel costs, reduced our carbon footprint and done a small bit for the planet and our bank balance.

The times we struggled were so non existent that it never occurred to us we might need to change things up any time soon, and so, last year when Dan the Qashqai suffered a bank breaking fault, we bit the bullet and upgraded him to a newer model, Kevin.

Returning to work in 2019, it was never more important to have a solid reliable family car. As I travel 45 minutes across Kent each day, via the childminders and several motorways and country lanes, car reliability has been at the forefront.

But, something has changed.

All of a sudden, Kevin alone is struggling to keep us flexible and responsive. And no amount of flexible working or careful planning can predict that the childminders kid will be sick the day of the PTA Disco. Or that the kids will have two parties on two sides of town at the same time. Or that DMT could do the school run if I needed to work late, but it’s a long walk and it’s raining cats and dogs…

I guess the frequency of ‘those’ moments has caught us by surprise.

We came close last year, so so close to signing on the line for a second car. We looked into leasing and hire purchase, second hand bangers and middle of the range run arounds. We thought about car hire and electric cars, buying from a friend and corporate car purchase policies. Dad Muddling Through had some decent work perks which could have bagged us a deal, and online options to make great savings on fuel through business accounts here but still the numbers weren’t adding up. As luck would have it fate sent us a little helping hand and logistically we worked out another way to get Tigs to an 8am club she had been waiting to join for years. That was a fleeting moments challenge, one of many drivers to the car conversation.

Ultimately, that was a wake up call to realise perhaps the outlay vs the benefit for us is still leaning towards persevering with one car. We have made it through a dark, cold winter of the occasional walking pick up in the rain, and lived to tell the tale.

We have begged, stolen and borrowed favours when needed and we have always, somehow, managed to find a way.

So for now at least, with no idea on the duration of stay, the second car conversation is parked.


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