Helen's first car, the sanity-saving Focus

Ben Cooper
Written by: Ben Cooper
Posted on: 6 April 2016

To help us on our mission to reunite someone with their first ever car, we’ve asked a few people to share their first car memories with us.

Our third memory comes from Helen Neale who blogs at kiddycharts.com. Helen tells us how her trusty Ford Focus gave her freedom when her first child was born.

I failed my driving test three times in my twenties. After that, I lived in London, so I just gave up. Why bother to learn to drive when you have the tube, right? Wrong.

Learning to drive is one of the most important life skills for making sure you have the independence you need. It wasn’t until I became pregnant that I realised how isolating it would be if I wasn’t able to get into a car with my new baby, and get out and about.

I was eternally grateful that my driving instructor took pity on a seven months pregnant lady, and passed me first time. Thankfully, without putting my growing bump through an emergency stop.

Three weeks after my daughter was born, I took her with me to the local Ford dealership and bought my first car to drive her home in.

Baby in a car seat

Baby in a car seat

It was a Ford Focus, and we still have it ten years later. It’s still making sure that I don’t go stir crazy with the kids.

In the early days of being a mum, it was as much as I could manage to chuck the buggy in the boot and drive to a local park. Getting out of the house when you have a three month old is like packing for a six-month expedition to Everest.

Having my first car meant I could visit friends, get out of town, and shop for the baby, without having to drag everyone and everything around on the local bus network.

My new car wasn’t just good for getting out and about, oh no, it doubled up as an excellent rocker.

My daughter wasn’t a bad sleeper, as new babies go. However, generally newborns don’t sleep that well, so if she fell asleep on some of our little trips, we drove around for a bit longer. One time we even went for a 5am cruise just so she’d drift off.

Then I’d carry her into our home and pop her into the cot very, very gently, so as not to wake her. This gave us the perfect opportunity to take a nap ourselves.

Now with two children in the house, long periods cooped up (especially in the holidays) can lead to constant squabbling. So I still use the Focus to visit friends and family when the kids are on the verge of causing each other an injury.

These days my car journeys involve card games, iSpy and registration spotting competitions, but the kids still fall asleep when I take longer trips. That’s not changed at all.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, thanks Mr Ford for helping me keep it together. Long may it continue.

If you’ve ever thought about reuniting with your first car, enter First car, first love and if your story wins, we’ll track it down.

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