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Walking + The Auto Crap Trap

April 14th, 2013 at 08:58 am

Mr. Money Mustache had a post about the amazing health benefits of walking.

I've got other stuff to blog about, but holy cow was this post timely.

So, we will never win any awards for walking, as the neighborhood we live in initially had a -0- walkability score. So, I hardly doubt we deserve any pat on the back for our walking skills. But I have griped on here before (particularly when kids were little) how I saw little use for strollers. How it bothered us how low expectations parents have for their kids to walk on their own two feet. & now I am pondering how that translates into lifelong habits.

This particularly came up this week because dh was watching other children. We live about 3 blocks from the school (though BM has been moved to another campus with the older kids - they outgrew the first location). Even after driving to pick up BM, dh just walks to pick up LM. It is the path of least resistance. The traffic is totally crazy. & by the time you find a place to walk and park, you might as well just go home and walk. So, the other day LM had arranged a play date and dh picks up this kid. He said, "OMG this kid walked SO SLOW." For reference, this kid is 8. So, anyway, they are just walking home and no rush, so whatever. But, he had to walk him back to school to meet up with the kids' mom. So, this kid is driving dh nuts because he is so slow and whiny about the whole thing.

So, it is what it is. Don't offer to walk him back to school - mom can pick him up next time. Except, he had agreed to babysit some other kids the other night. But when he picked up BM from school (& Was in a rush to get LM picked up immediately after) they had begged dh to just take them home with him for a playdate. Which was no biggie, but by the time he gets all their crap from the mom and everything and they arrange things, he is running really late to pick up LM. Plus, he has no room in his car for a fourth child. So, they drive home and walk to school. He's got a kindergardener with him now. & the kid is about as whiny and slow as the 8yo. & he asked dh to carry him. !!

So, dh has just had enough with these kids. I could maybe kind of sort of cut the Kinder some slack (he is 5), just based on our culture. BUT, then again, the 8yo is whiny and slow because no one made him walk anywhere when he was 5.

In the end, dh made them all walk on their own two feet, and they all survived.

The funny thing is when I came home, totally clueless, I had asked the kids if they wanted to go to the park. Good thing they said no, because it was a bit of a walk. LOL. I could just see their reaction if we started walking to the park - dh should have warned me!!

But again, this is our observations as suburbanites who probably walk infinitely less than we should. Mr. Money Mustaches posts often about how absurd and illogical our car habits are. This just kind of falls into that realm.

I also have one more observation on car culture. We are the weird/unique ones in our neighborhood who walk whenever it's 3 blocks or less. There are reasons people regularly drive one to three blocks (to neighbor's home, to park, to pool). One reason is time. They feel really pressed for time. But the less obvious reason is "crap." There is a really strong correlation between how big your car is, how much you use it, and how much crap you must carry with you everywhere you go. Of course, my first child was born in 2003. It was the height of SUV/monstrosity travel system stroller culture. We just never quite *got it.* We did fine with our small vehicle because we never bought into the crap. {I've actually been noticing that both cars and baby gear are slimming down in recent years. Thank Goodness! Not everyone has to go small, but some of us would like the *choice*}. So I really noticed this when it came to baby crap. Of course, planning to cut our income in half at the time, we were thinking through to what we really needed and what we could live without. Obviously we could live without SUVs. & then what followed was needing baby gear that was small and compact, so that became our focus. As well as simply doing without a lot of unnecessary crap. (& even if we had a large car, we still had a preference for more light and compact stuff - I don't think that would change things for us).

But anyway, I think my neighbor is the epitome of all this. I totally lover her, but she can not walk anywhere. She regularly drives the 1/8 mile or so to our house. The 3 blocks to the park or the pool. Why? Because you can't go to the park without 5 wheeled toys for 2 children. You load up the car. You can't go to the pool without a feast and a pile of toys. Load up the car. & so I think there is a strong correlation between walking and *stuff*. We regularly walk to the park and the pool, and I have no idea why we would need to bring anything we can't carry. It is just so much SIMPLER.

So there you go: The Auto Crap Trap

3 Responses to “Walking + The Auto Crap Trap”

  1. ThriftoRama Says:

    It's really funny you should mention this. We just signed our oldest up for kindergarten. We live about five blocks away, so we walked to sign up and screening.
    One of the other moms, who incidentally lives literally half a block from me, drove. I also noticed another mom in my neighborhood who lives on block closer to the school than me, drives her kids to too. I don't get it! It's a nice walk, with sidewalks, and no hassle with parking if you walk!!!

  2. MonkeyMama Says:

    Thriftorama - Take it from me - if you *ever* have to drive your child to/from school, park across the street or one block away, and walk in. It will save you substantial stress. If your school experience is anything like ours. (& walking from home is totally awesome!)

    There is this small parking lot (park parking) across the street from our kids' school with about 10 spaces. Grades K-3 for eldest I never failed to get a spot when I picked up the kids (if I ever had to pick them up coming from work or something). This year I was surprised when I went to pick up child in a hurry and the spots had filled up. I drove around a wee bit, but it was kind of funny - people have found the awesomeness of parking across the street and skipping
    "idling 1/2 hour in car every single day." (I'd personally have a heart attack; I just can not stand traffic). BUT, there is a clear line. If you have to walk more than one block, better to idle in the traffic mess. Dh and I just don't *get it* on any level. No more parking spots, but I can still walk in one block if I am in a hurry. IT's not a time thing either. It is not faster to sit in line 1/2 hour and to be literally trapped in a traffic jam. We don't get it!!

  3. Swimgirl Says:

    We have a "no walking in the neighborhood" rule. And the neighborhood often grows so we don't have to drive. We live almost exactly one mile from Trader Joe's. We don't really do the major shopping there, but just pick up a few special items. So why not walk? It's not like I'm buy 50 pounds of dog food or anything!

    Schools are ridiculous. It's always been my desire to live within walking or biking distance of the schools (didn't work out this last move...) The traffic is crazy and the people in the cars get even crazier.

    Of course, you've just got to wonder how anyone can survive without a brand new, shiny ginormous SUV for hauling kids the .75 mile to school. Wink

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