My husband and I have been married for going on four years, and we’ve been a one car family from the beginning. There are some drawbacks to sharing a vehicle, but just in the past few months I’ve been thinking a lot about the benefits. While this style of living doesn’t work for a lot of families due to work hours, activities, etc., we’ve found it to be a blessing, and here’s why…
- It’s cheaper!
This is probably the most obvious reason for families to downsize; skipping a second car payment, insurance costs, and maintenance fees makes sense for anyone trying to pay off a home, buy groceries for a bunch of hungry boys, or just put more aside into the savings account. (On a side note, we’ve never had car payments as we’ve always saved up and paid cash for used vehicles… it’s not always feasible for everyone, but a huge blessings when you can avoid car debt.)
- There’s no place like home
I’m a stay at home mom, which means I’m not employed, but it also means that most of the time… I stay home! And that’s not a bad thing! The more I do this mom job, especially now that I have a 2.5 year old and a 5 month old, the more I treasure our home as our safe place, our haven, our natural habitat. At home, I can control the routine and train little ones how to obey and act rightly (before expecting them to do it in an unfamiliar environment, overstimulated and low on sleep). At home, I can keep a closer eye on my children and be more present to love, protect, and teach them. At home is where little people need to be more often than not, and as a mommy who can also become drained and impatient, it’s where I need to be too. Seasons do change, but especially for the season I’m in right now, there’s no place like home.
- We grow in hospitality
Staying home more during the day doesn’t mean we isolate ourselves and live like hermits. It just means we have to become more creative and do things out of our home. This challenges me to grow in hospitality. I feel like it’s helped us bring more of the focus back around to ministry, opening up our home, and giving to others. We enjoy having families over for dinner fellowship, a neighbor for lunch, a fellow mom with littles over for coffee and play time. And as an added bonus, the boys are in their own element and it’s easier to stick to our routine and house rules.
- Closer community
There’s always that moment when I should have planned better (I forgot that one ingredient for dinner tonight!), or an emergency happens… or maybe, I just really want to get out and there’s no way for me to have the car. That’s when I have to swallow my pride and ask for help. Asking a neighbor to take us somewhere in an emergency, or a friend to grab some groceries, or a girlfriend to pick me up on the way to a social gathering… it requires communication and planning and a more vulnerable, less self-reliant attitude, but isn’t that what Christian community is all about anyway?
- Better time management
Since going out during the day is a bigger deal with one car (especially with two littles in tow), and require more coordination and planning, you better believe the outing is going to be worth it! And even if I drop my husband off at work, or try to run out while he’s working from home for a few hours, it means I have less time to meander. I’m required to be more efficient (i.e. plan my route better, get in and get out faster), use my time more wisely, and make sure my outings are really worth the extra effort.
If you have more than one car and that’s what works for your family, great! And we all need to get out of the house from time to time. The Christian life is not the hermit life. However, if you have one car now or choose to downsize, you may find a few extra blessings as a result.