Mums who can't or won't drive-is it a big deal?

(164 Posts)
ianleeder Sun 09-Feb-14 19:53:15

I'm starting this thread as I get a lot of comments and remarks on why don't i drive. I pass my driving test 10 years ago and I don't drive as I'm not a confident driver, my road direction is terrible, I get anxious and nervous behind the wheel. I have 2 young kids (3 and 5) and I'm scared of accident and anyone getting hurt. My driving lessons were in London so when I passed, driving in London was a nightmare. I use public transport a lot as I work and live in London so didn't need to drive. Now I have kids and live out of London, most mums expect me to drive everywhere. I walk, use the bus and train with my kids now. I don't see not being able to drive a problem, in fact I feel relaxed and less anxious when I don't drive. I get a lot of criticism, yes I know not being able to drive is quite restricted in where I can go, my husband drive so he does the long distance and I walk everywhere locally with the kids. I have taken refresher courses in the past but it doesn't make any difference- I'm not a good driver.

MothratheMighty Sun 09-Feb-14 19:56:44

if you don't want to, and can manage without then that's fine.
My OH doesn't drive, and it's never been a problem for us.

Madonnaquintessential Sun 09-Feb-14 19:57:08

I am hopeless ! I don't drive and its fine, I live in a small town and walk everywhere with my dd smile
The only down side is having to rely on dh to drive me to see my fam who live far away- this can be a pain as we have to work my visit round his hols (there is no way i would get a train for a 5 hour jouney with my dd- literally the though fills me with horror!!)

clangermum Sun 09-Feb-14 19:57:39

I don't see it as a problem. The only reason they could reasonably criticise is if you were expecting other mums to give you lifts all the time, and it doesn't sound as though you are. You're setting a good example by walking and using public transport. It's not as though they never go in a car! I wouldn't sweat it.

Madonnaquintessential Sun 09-Feb-14 19:58:09

*thought
... She doesn't nap unless in her cot you see.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 09-Feb-14 19:58:37

Are you really receiving a lot of criticism or are you just perceiving it that way? What sort of comments are you getting?

crashbangboom Sun 09-Feb-14 19:59:21

Only really makes me annoyed when non drivers moan about timings/place for activities organised. These are the same people who never organise stuff either. My view is either organise it yourself to suit your travel needs or don't moan!

Where we live you need to drive as public transport is shocking.

An advanced drivers course may help or CBT. Both are on my to do list as I hate driving but regularly have to do 100 miles + a day

Yama Netherlands Sun 09-Feb-14 20:00:46

I passed my test a few years ago, drove about 6 times and haven't since.

One day I will buy an automatic and learn how to drive it. However, right now as my commute costs me less than £10 per week I really cannot justify buying it, taxing it and insuring it all before I pay for petrol. Phew.

Hassled Sun 09-Feb-14 20:00:53

I've got through 20+ years of parenting without driving.

It's easily doable if you live in a city (I always have). I can't see how I'd have coped out in the sticks. I walk, I cycle, I use public transport, I taxi. I go out of my way never to be a lift-scrounger. There have been a few times I've thought "if only" but really, not many.

defineme Sun 09-Feb-14 20:03:03

It entirely depends where you live and what's accessible -I can/do drive but didn't when I had 3 under 3 because we couldn't afford to run 2 cars at the time. The area I live in is flat and I can walk to the dr/swimming pool/park/school/preschool/playgroups/supermarket etc. However, I don't know what I would have done if they hadn't slept in the pushchair as I walked to farther away places during nap times! I did get the train for days out and they considered that part of the day out.
However, when I got a car I did find I was more spontaneous and proper countryside was much more accessible-but that's hardly a big reason.

Finbarfinbo Sun 09-Feb-14 20:06:10

Same story here. Passed test 10 years ago, not a confident driver, never ever drive now. I use public transport and am happy to do so. DH drives, I don't feel the need.
Other people have huge problems with this. I never ask for lifts from people or refuse to go places because of travel restrictions, we have good bus services, and I am happy to walk for miles as are the DC , but still people criticise my decision not to drive.

ThatBloodyWoman Sun 09-Feb-14 20:09:56

I don't drive and we don't live in a town.

It's always been fine and the dc's are good walkers (have to be).

However,I am anticipating that it may become more problematic when they get into their teens, so I may have to make myself get back behind the steering wheel ago.

At least I won't have to do a driving test as I passed donkeys years ago - just never felt happy putting it into practise.

Only1scoop Sun 09-Feb-14 20:10:14

I've always driven since 17. After having baby at 37 I got nervous about being on the road....especially the motorway. I didn't have any choice ....I love my job....wanted to return part time which meant having to drive. It took a couple of months for me to stop feeling nervous.
My mum passed her test in her early twenties apparently. Lost her nerve driving after having my older brother. She never drove again. Never even made the effort....long journeys for hold ....school clubs....weekend treats....always left to dad to drive who always worked full time. Sometimes the other mums would run us to hockey/activities etc. I always wished my mum had given it another go.
Perhaps you aren't a rubbish driver at all....

ianleeder Sun 09-Feb-14 20:10:55

Thank you. When the mums get together and organise play dates that are far. Comments were: "oh wait, u don't drive do you!" I feel like a burden and need a lift every time. I cancel or just don't go to any other events that are far . I would love to be driving but reality is, I'm a terrible driver. Money is a issue so I can't be spending money on advance courses now. My mother in law sees me once or twice a year. Her first comments are: you've been driving much?. I say: no. She said: you should, as you have more freedom and it's silly having a license and not being able to drive. Tbh. This winds me a lot.

noblegiraffe Sun 09-Feb-14 20:11:31

I drive, my DH isn't a confident driver so only does it if completely necessary, like I'm ill and DS needs dropping off at the childminder.

I don't mind most of the time, but occasionally it is really annoying. Like I want some time at home to myself but he can't actually take the kids out for longer than an hour or so walk (buses are crap). I also have to do all the long drives and as I also have to get up in the night for the baby (breastfeeding) this is not ideal. It would also be lovely occasionally to sit in the passenger seat and nod off, but I'm always the one flogging my guts out on the motorway while the rest of the family snoozes and I can't even listen to the radio.

Only1scoop Sun 09-Feb-14 20:13:17

Everyone would be a 'terrible driver' if they rarely got behind the wheel....maybe just some practise with a really patient passenger would help.

AfricanExport Sun 09-Feb-14 20:14:26

As much as i don't care whether people choose to drive or not, I am starting to get really annoyed by parents who refuse to drive and expect other parents to do all the running around for their children (not saying this is the case for the OP but her kids are still young). I realise, of course, I also don't really have to do the driving around I could just tell dd that she can't see her friends anymore... I think that's a bit unfair. Even my dd, who thought I was terribly unreasonable about being taxi driver now sees my point of view.

The best excuse I've heard is. .. My father can't fetch me because he doesn't know the area... really?. I've moved 6000 miles and I manage to 'know' the area a mile around my home. How hard is it? Its 10 minutes down the road with 2 turns.

Floggingmolly Sun 09-Feb-14 20:16:10

Why would it be a problem for anyone else (unless you're constantly scrounging lifts, that is)? I very rarely drive, absolutely hate it, but I'm lucky enough to live within walking distance of a tube station so it only effects both me and the kids, usually.
Nobody else's opinion matters, really.

Kefybaby Sun 09-Feb-14 20:16:21

I was the same as you. It was fine but more than anything I felt frustrated with myself that I had this phobia. In the end I bought an automatic car, had some extra lessons and started driving 17 years after I passed my test! I still do not go far or drive on the motorway but it is quite handy every now and then. I feel better for it but I would have also managed fine on buses etc.

TheOldestCat Sun 09-Feb-14 20:18:51

DH doesn't drive and while it was fine when we lived in London, it's not now we don't. It's a giant pain in the arse and just means more stuff for me to do.

But OP, it doesn't bother me in the slightest about friends not driving and I always offer lifts when I can to those who can't.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 09-Feb-14 20:19:52

OP, I don't drive either and also used to get stupid comments.
I have never believed myself to fit to drive my dc about so I didn't do it.
I really wouldn't worry tbh.
So many people have said oh I can't do x,y,or z that are important manoeuvres to be able to make. They drive their dc around in a really unsafe manner.
I know who I'd rather be.

I know your MIL's comments really wind you up but I suspect it's because deep down, you know she's right.

My sister was the same years ago. She had a few refresher lessons with an instructor then just lots of practice with her dh. To be a confident driver you need to do it daily really. At least you haven't got the pressure of passing the test. I would give it a go again, I really would. Build up your time behind the wheel bit by bit.

Sillylass79 Sun 09-Feb-14 20:21:51

I don't drive. I find it slightly irritating that people go on so much about it and fuss over lifts etc when I don't expect them. I hope I will drive one day but I have struggled with tests and have OCD which feeds off stress in that sort of situation. It's the only area of my life left where I feel hampered by my OCD but it is more important to be well and driving is a significant area of anxiety for many with OCD so I try to be gentle to myself about it.

muminthecity Sun 09-Feb-14 20:22:04

As others have said, it depends on where you live. I don't drive but I live in the city and have easy access to buses, trains, tubes and trams so get around easily. I like walking as well, as does DD and we will happily walk 4-5 miles at the weekends.

I work at DD's school which is a 10 minute walk from home, so there would be no point in owning a car at the moment anyway.

Are you bothered by not driving, or just by other people's opinions on it? If the latter then ignore as much as possible, or just tell them that you're happy as you are.

nkf Sun 09-Feb-14 20:22:26

I think if you don't drive, you have to be very organised and not be a pain and always expect lifts.

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