I may be a girl, but I know my cars. And it’s time to detail this one.

I’m going to a yoga retreat today. I have to go on retreat because it’s the only time I can avoid being jumped on while I practice yoga.

It’s bad karma to go on a yoga retreat with a car filled with slime, dead juice boxes, and recycled bags blowing around in the back. A cluttered car reflects a cluttered mind and soul. Yoga retreats are all about cleansing the soul.

I like road trips, especially if I can pretend I have a sunroof and a sporty stick shift. I’ll imagine zipping down the Mass Pike in style. I’ll hardly even notice I’ve traded in leather seats, a sunroof, and an amazing sound system for a Mommobile filled with hay residue from the last trip to the farm.

I’ll feel better once I detail it.

Pay $100 for someone to detail a car? Never! Girls can detail cars, too. Moms even!

I start by staring down the pine drippings. They’re still stuck. Probably ruined the clearcoat by now. One by one, I tackle them. I stop after a while: #aintnobodygottimeforthat wins out. Note to self: Never park car under a pine tree.

It’s okay–I won’t see the pine while I’m driving. I’ll be at peace if I can just defeat the interior. I park my car in the middle of the driveway, sweep the pine needles away and take out the Dyson when my husband’s not looking. The Dyson’s my go-to car detailing machine. Last time, he said “You should really use the shop vac for that.” The shop vac reminds me of things like floods, big spills, and disasters–not positive thinking. Besides, the giant hose doesn’t get out the boy scuz. I need to feel like a human for just one moment. I need a clean car. I make sure the Dyson’s on a clean part of the driveway so I can suck away.

I start by emptying the car. Out comes a half-ton of garbage Declan hid in cracks and pockets. Jelly beans saved for later, a dried cranberry or two, and part of his college savings.

Getting rid of this garbage will probably increase my gas mileage by a good 5mph. That’s a win for the environment as well as inner peace.  It seems the older the boy gets, the more crap I get in my car. Detailing the car used to mean I got out the leather cleaner, and buffed the seats on a weekend and reveled in the clean smell. Now, it takes me a week just to unload his moldy fruit.

Being a mom’s not easy. They said it meant sacrifices. But giving up nice cars? That’s rough. I thought the suffering would end with the “mom swimsuit” we’re forced into after delivery. I don’t swim much, I never traded it back in for the bikini. Besides, can moms wear bikinis?

Or have sporty cars?

I’ve completely emptied Forester Gump, the Mommobile. I’ve thrown out gym tags, carousel coupons, and just plain trash. I decided I don’t need fifty-seven reusable bags. I’ve cleaned the fabric under the Declan portion of the cloth seat I was trying–unsuccessfully–to preserve, and sprayed down his “Mom, why do I need a booster chair still” booster. (“Because the federal government makes the rules, kid. Not your parents.”)

I’ve vacuumed every little crack, but still it’s not “detailed.” There are spots, stains, and crudmarks deep in the recesses of the car. Even a German engineer couldn’t access them. I try again. This would never do in pre-mom days. This car would be clean. Does this mean I’ve been downgraded to a different station in life?


I continue to work for a little while longer, deciding it’s not going to get any better than it is now. It feels sorta clean…at least the coffee cup holder is, anyway, and that’s the most important part. I won’t look at the kid area while I cruise. I’ll do that next week when we’re back in the normal school routine, heading to soccer or shopping, talking about the things that matter in life, like video games and candy.

I inspect the Mommobile. I’m old and tired… It’s clean enough. It’s filled with gas.

It’s now ready to take me toward enlightenment.