They say a change is as good as a rest. But when it comes to who is behind the wheel for that all-important, long-distance weekend away, I’m not convinced about the truth of the statement.
My husband has been automatically getting behind the steering wheel for years. It’s a habit we’ve fallen into, one of those pink/blue things which have just happened without either of us noticing.
Just like packing the boot. He always does it and I stand back and try to keep my poker face, just as he did when I revealed the new colour scheme for the spare room.
When we went away last weekend, I decided we needed both a break and a change. As I was picking him up from work, the children haphazardly piled into the back and already arguing after only five miles, I simply refused to get out of the driving seat.
He stood, confused, not sure how to open the passenger door.
Finally, when it was apparent I wasn’t moving, he got up the gumption to worm his way in between essential items such as bags of sandwiches, emergency bottles of water, a coffee flask and my overflowing handbag.
I went on my way smiling cheerily and reminding him, as I was in the literal driving seat, it was my choice of music. Cheerio Radio Five, hello Best of Duran Duran.
I don’t think men understand the responsibilities of being the only accessible adult passenger in a car loaded and primed with sibling rivalry.
It’s not only the sorting out of the squabbles, or the dishing out of the wet wipes and sandwiches, negotiating the mine field of crisp flavours, distributing equitable amounts of grapes, having to have a spring-loaded arm for rubbish retrieval (and then unload a rubbish bag as a handy sick receptacle).
It’s also the providing of emergency plasters for that freak accident with the belt buckle.
This list is a simple taster. There’s supplying the stationery and chairing a UN summit while navigating and pouring hot coffee for driver refreshment.
I lasted 152 miles before handing over the wheel. In the end, his tactical fudge distribution was just not quick enough.