My husband and I have had the (mis)fortune of buying not one but two used cars this month. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to find the answer to “What’s it going to take to get you in this car today?” The whole experience has left me thinking how similar the experience is to parenting an almost 5-year-old. Here are a few of the similarities:
You’re never really prepared for what you’ll experience when you walk in the door. Cars: When searching for a car, I dreaded dealing with the stereotypical used car salesman. I wanted to think that in the age of the internet they didn’t exist anymore but lo and behold, I met plenty of fast-talking guys, who would do anything for a sale. I expected to have to put on my tough negotiator hat, but used car dealers don’t really negotiate anymore. It kind of took some of the fun out of it, if you ask me!
Kids: Every day is a new day with my daughter. Take baths for example. She usually hates them. So last time I turned the lights down low and tossed some glow sticks in there with her. Voila! Instant relaxation for her and it was easy. Just when I think I have a parenting “win” though, the next bath will be a shrieking spectacle, for both of us! Never a dull moment.
They never leave you alone. Cars: The follow-up calls from the salespeople kept coming in even after I let them know that I found a car somewhere else. These guys are persistent with emails, cell phone calls, even calls to my office. Maybe they knew something I didn’t, because 2 weeks later, I was back looking for a car for my husband.
Kids: Sometimes I feel like this:
Everything takes longer than it should. Cars: When we went to pick up my car at the dealership, we spent 2 hours waiting. Just waiting. Paperwork wasn’t ready, license plates weren’t there. Didn’t we make an appointment for a reason?
Kids: Getting ready for a trip to get breakfast usually turns into a trip for lunch instead. Why does it take a tiny person 3 times as long to get dressed as a high-maintenance grown woman? In the course of getting ready in the morning, my girl will find a way to pull out every tiny princess/little pony toy she owns, build a village out of Legos for them and put on a play with a minimum of 3 costume changes. All after I have asked her to put on her sneakers.
It’s always more expensive than you think it’s going to be. Cars: Sure you know the price on the sticker and you’ve checked online for the going rate for said car. There’s got to be room in that price right? You finally agree on a price. Then they hit you with all the fees. Conveyance fee? Check. Security VIN etching? Check (Whatever that is!) Taxes? Check. Registration? Check. Broke now? Check!
Kids: The cost of raising a child these days is about $235,000 according to an article in the Huffington Post. When I hear that number, I don’t necessarily think it’s that bad. Food, housing, clothing, transportation, education and other essentials are all rolled into that number. But when I start looking at all the extras, it makes me a little queasy. Toys, stickers, dance class, jewelry, posters for her room, Justin Bieber CDs, every Disney princess DVD ever made…it starts to add up! How am I supposed to start saving for college for her when I have all this other stuff she “needs”?!
Bigger sale = bigger tale. Cars: Would you believe that both cars my husband and I purchased just so happened to be owned previously by…wait for it…a little old school teacher? What is it about school teachers that have car dealers so excited? It was obvious they were feeding us a line. We knew we were buying the cars anyway, so we let them have their moment.
Kids: Being that she’s almost five, my daughter is learning the art of the fib. For example, the dog is responsible for a lot of things in our house lately, from farts to making a mess in the living room.
Never underestimate the value of a trade. Cars: We traded in our old car for a newer one and asked for a little extra money than they originally offered. It never hurts to ask, especially if you’ve done your research.
Kids: I am always ready to make a deal or a trade in order to get the behavior I want from my daughter. It started a while ago when we traded her bedtime stories for the bedtime trifecta: PJs, Potty, and Tooth brushing. Now that she’s older, she’s starting to understand that making a deal can work in her own best interest too. If I want her to turn off the TV, I’ll trade a game of candy land. Works for both of us. (Well, until the twentieth game, then she’s definitely made out better than I have!)
The number one way buying a used car and being a mom are the same? At the end of the day, I could really use a shower! At least with my daughter I can seal the deal with a hug and a kiss. Or was that the car salesman? No wonder why he looked at me funny…