Letter to My Kids – Please Keep the Family Car Clean

new family rules

picking up around the house

Dear Kids,

Good morning. As I was running errands yesterday I noticed issues with the cleanliness of the family car: There was an odor from the back of the car that was so bad I pulled over to investigate.

One hour and odd looks from other drivers later, I discovered a half-eaten squeeze yogurt shoved between the back seats spotted with green mold. I also found a left shoe without a mate, one pair of mismatched socks, 13 food wrappers, 17 goldfish crackers without heads, five water bottles, and a deflated basketball. All of these items have a place to live and that is not in our family car.

In light of the above findings, I propose a new policy for keeping our family car clean and odor free. Here it is:

1. Before leaving the car, collect all garbage and throw it away.

2. Sports equipment, toys, earphones, sippy cups and other non-garbage items are to be taken out of the car when not in use and placed in their proper spots in the house or garage.

3. New Rule: There will be no more eating in the car. A mom can only handle so many odors, crumbs, and food wrappers in her car. Mom’s car should not be one stop short of a land fill!

4. Another New Rule: Drawing things on steamed-up windows is no longer allowed. People in other cars have begun to stare at our car windows at stop lights. This includes writings such as, “Help! My brother is breathing on me” or “I’m strapped in and can’t get out!”

I hope you will follow these new family car policies which I have put in place for everyone’s comfort .



Dear Mom,

Thank you for writing us regarding your concern over the cleanliness of the family car. We smelled something too; but thought it was kind of cool.

We talked about the half-eaten yogurt wrapper, but neither of us remembers eating it; so it must have been someone in the carpool. Brad, however, would love to have the wrapper to study the bacteria growth for his Science Fair project.

We’re both stumped over the items you found as you were searching for the unseen odor. However, we did recall biting off the goldfish heads because we were bored on the family drive last week. But we can’t seem to understand why they ended up on the floor as we remember putting them in our water bottles to see if they could swim without their heads.

After discussing the four policies, we are protesting numbers three and four. First, we enjoy dining in the car. The car manufacturers make it easy to hold our snacks and drinks with the cup holders by our seats. If the car makers feel it’s okay to eat and drink, shouldn’t we utilize every feature of the car? You and Dad would be getting your money’s worth from your car purchase. Second, we are concerned our nutritional needs will not be met if eating in the car is not allowed, since we consider the car our second home.

Speaking about the car being our second home, the art work we draw on the windows makes the car our own space, just like our rooms at home. Dad taught us that if we breathe on the window, the words appear again. You might want to breathe on your driver’s side window, because Dad left you message. We think you’ll like it.

We believe, based on our feedback, that some of the policies need to be rewritten.

Thank you Mom,

The Kids: Wil and Brad


Dear Kids,

Thank you for your response. I hear your protests and have taken them into consideration for a win-win solution for everyone. Therefore, the new policy is:

1. Fifty cents will be deducted from your weekly allowance for every item (food or other) that I have to pick up in the car. This will solve the issue of your concern over me and your Father getting our money’s worth from the car purchase.

2. Family car-cleaning work parties will take place every Saturday morning after pancakes. Towels, window cleaner, garbage bags, and vacuums will be available for your pleasure. Therefore you can still dine in the car and write messages, but every day Saturday morning they will be cleaned up.

Thank you so much! Go breathe on your windows in the car; I left you a message…



About Tracy Heins 143 Articles
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