Let's be honest: We all crave car rides without the kiddos yelling in the back seat. Here are a few things probably going through your mind in those moments of peace.

By Samantha Gutstadt

You know that moment: You've just dropped your kid(s) off somewhere and the dull ringing in your ears is starting to subside, the dust is settling, and the car feels eerily quiet. You look around, take in your surroundings, and realize you are alone in the car—finally!

Here are just a few things that go through my head when I find myself solo in the place where I usually spend most of my time outside of my actual house. And I know I'm not the only one, right?

Yes! I am actually alone

When I drop my kids off at school, I just take it all in. It's like an outdoor classical music concert on a warm starry night. The quiet and peace sets in. Cheddar duckies and juice boxes strewn around me, crumbs languishing where they may, like the end of a battle. I sit in that driver's seat, close my eyes, and take a few moments for gratitude. Then I realize I gotta get things done before pickup...off I go!

Wow, I need Botox

What is it about natural car light that brings out every single imperfection, line, and blemish? My car selfies are amazing, but why when I look in the mirror does it not tell the same story? As soon as I'm alone in my car, I pull that mirror down to see if I remembered to put on mascara and it's then that all self doubt creeps in. I pull out my phone and use a filter to take a pic and reassure myself I still totally look 27. Umm..cause I am.

I can listen to all the inappropriate music I want to

When those cuties exit my vehicle, off goes Kidz Bop and Raffi. On goes my favorite hip hop playlist. That's right. A little Cardi B and Drake. A little dance party in my car and I rap along with Lil Nas X, all explicit words included. My alter ego takes over. I wish I had a rapper name, I don't (yet!). But I am working up my courage to make my music video. Oh ya…

Where should I go?

Alright, kiddos are no longer on board, I put my music on, now where shall Mama venture to? If I'm not rushing to a meeting or shoot, I'm suddenly left with this void of time, a strange reality. I can go eat (yup, forgot to do that this morning), I can get a manicure, I can aimlessly wander our local main street, maybe grab a croissant...what? Does it matter. Nope. It feels like pure luxurious joy.

Who should I call?

How many times has my bestie called me while the kids are in the car screaming at each other? Last time, one was trying to hit the other with a foam sword (how the heck did that get there?!). I pick up only to be able to hear syllables I can hardly make out in between the chaos and cries.

As soon as those little dudes are out, excitement fills me as I run through a mental rolodex. I can call Alexa to talk about shoes and which ones we are loving right now, or Kate to vent about the fight I just had with my hubby (and I can use inappropriate language, bonus!). I can try my agent since every time he calls, I'm in the car with my kids, or I can dial my mom to talk about…my boys. Ya…it all comes full circle. I do love talking about those cutie pies—when they aren't around, obvs.

Starbucks drive-through, here I come

Just cause I don't have two kids in tow, doesn't mean I want to actually get out of my car for a coffee. It just means the drive-through experience is less painful cause my kids aren't asking when we'll be home, and I can get through the order without turning around to tell my kids the barista can't hear Mommy. Now, let's find the nearest one…

What does every day and every single minute of said day look like this week?

The car is where I do my best thinking. When the kids are out of it and it's just the open road and me (OK who are we kidding, I live in L.A.), I can sift through my mental to-do list. I see my calendar splayed before me, like a math genius, sorting it all visually. This is where the magic happens.

Wow, that guy in the Toyota Prius is totally hot

You are stopped at a light and those car seats are pretty hard to see through those back tinted windows you had installed to protect those cutie pies from the sun's harsh rays. A car pulls up and Adam Levine's twin brother looks over at you and half smiles. You know that feeling. Enjoy it, soak it up, Mama. You still got it! I definitely overexaggerate the encounter when I see my hubby later on—probably adding in a "You are gorgeous" but...whatever. He was totally thinking it.

How many stops can I make before my alone time is over?

Running errands with kids in tow sucks. Can we just unite on that? I can maybe stop at 1.5 places before it's over. When I'm alone in the car, I do a mental checklist of every single errand I have to run, any possible place I need to stop, and how many times I can pee while doing so before my boys get back into my car. Drugstore, Whole Foods, dry cleaners, pee at local bakery while also grabbing a baguette (bonus points for saving time there!). I'm a mom on a mission. Before I pick my little dudes up I feel a sense of accomplishment, I basically just ran a mom marathon.

I can't wait to see my kiddos!

It's true. Before I'm about to pick up my boys, that anticipation runs high. I imagine their sweet little faces, and the huge hugs I get as soon as they see me. The sweet "Mama" and kisses. I nuzzle their adorable faces as I strap them into their car seats and ask them which song they want to hear. Rapper Mama is gone, but as I stare back in my rearview mirror at those adorable faces, before it all breaks loose, I smile and get our car on the road. Man, I missed them.

Samantha Gutstadt, mom to two little boys, has created several comedy series including one on Parents.com called Before/After and was recently featured in Forbes as one of L.A.’s Mom Influencers to watch. Follow her on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter

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