View from the Backseat

sunset rideI was in the checkout line at Publix the other day and overheard the 20-something’s phone conversation in front of me. She was chatting away at how “terrible the service was,” at what I presumed to be her favorite Friday night spot, to grab margaritas and cheese dip with friends. She was saying they “waited 30 minutes for their drinks to come…”

It was awful.

I laughed just loud enough for her to hear, but then quickly looked to my toddler who was joyfully swinging her legs in the shopping cart while poking her sister, who was in the baby carrier behind her, in the eye. With no reaction from the girl in front of me, she had no idea that I was laughing at the thought of only waiting 30 mouth-watering minutes for a drink.

What about nine months, sister! A long margarita-cheese-dip-free nine months.

On the belt were her bag of Doritos, a 6-pack of Corona, and the largest bottle of six dollar white zinfandel from aisle 19. Her Saturday plans were different than mine. She was headed to a friend’s rooftop pool to drink and hang out while a DJ’s music played over loud speakers. That night after showering and getting ready for over two hours with her roomies, she’ll probably go to a house to pre-party before heading to the local Buckhead bars. I also assume they’ll all pile in a car, her in the backseat smooshed between two or three of her besties, with the radio blaring, wind in her hair, and no worry except who was covering the bar tab that night.

My view from the backseat looks different.

It was Friday and Valentine’s Day – which usually means crowded fancy restaurants, over-priced prix-fixe menus, and candlelight. Instead, it was 5 o’clock (restaurant “family hour”) and we were headed to eat Mexican food.

I was in the backseat squished between two car seats, my husband behind the wheel. The week old newborn screaming because she was still confused about this crazy big world and the toddler singing her ABC’s at the top of her lungs. They were competing to see who could be the loudest. The windows were down hoping the road noise would calm the baby and the wind was blowing in my hair. My husband glanced in the rear-view mirror lovingly as we pulled into the parking lot, knowing my choice of Mexican food was the easiest Valentine’s Day present he could give me. And that’s when I heard it. Gagging noises coming from my toddler. As any mom would do, with cat-like reflexes I caught what vomit had not already landed on her chest in my hand. Unfazed by the chaotic scene I cleaned her up with wipes and we made our way in. And as a mom of two you’re allowed to do that. Wipe it up and move on because nothing stops you from a margarita and cheese dip. Nothing.

It was mouth-watering goodness. Totally worth the nine-month wait and the perfect way to spend dinner with my three Valentines.

As for the 20 something-year-old girl – I was her once, giving pity to that mom of two in the grocery checkout line. Little did I know that my view from the backseat several years later would be just as good. Toddler puke and all.

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Born in Florida, Jana moved to the Atlanta area in second grade. After graduating high school in 2002, she made her way to Auburn University where she studied art. On a trip to cheer on the Tigers at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, she met and fell in love with her husband. Although they cheer for rival SEC teams (he attended UGA), they love Fall and football season. After marrying in 2010, they made a home in the city and currently reside in the heart of Buckhead. As a stay at home mom with two little girls, Jana dubs herself a “naptime artist” and busts out some of her best work while they are asleep (find her work on Instagram @JanaFlemingART and at In addition to her love of art, Jana loves to travel, bake, is a Real Housewives junkie, a lover of nail polish, and a self-proclaimed “foodie” that loves to gather with family and friends.


  1. Jana, you might be my new mommy BFF because nothing, and I mean nothing will stop me from a margarita and cheese dip either. Even toddler puke. Speaking of toddler puke, I cleaned up some of my own yesterday while holding a glass of champagne. Because Motherhood.

  2. Jana, this is awesome and so true! As a mom of one I can’t even imagine how the view changes when you add another tiny human. 🙂 Kudos to you for still getting your margarita!

  3. As I was reading I was thinking about how many times I caught puke & just moved right along with my plans. Before motherhood, I would’ve never thought that was an actual “thing” that I would do. A little puke isn’t stopping me from margaritas!

    (and now I want a margarita)

  4. Jana, too funny and what great perspective. With our dairy allergy baby, I’m still waiting on that queso with him 11 months out and counting and I can hardly wait. It sounds like a future AAMB group date!

  5. Love it! As a new mom to a (now) almost 3 month old, I craved going out to eat since it’s something my husband & I greatly enjoyed pre-baby. But I found I was nervous the first few times not knowing how the baby would act or if there was something I’d have to deal with. I’ve already learned that you just have to go with the flow as a new mom & still get out there and enjoy things for yourself!

  6. This was a fun post! No way would I ever want to go back to my early 20’s, but…I would love to visit 28 and 29 from time to time! Engaged, no kids, and nothing to do but spend our extra hours and money on enjoying ourselves. Oh well, I guess that’s what retirement will be for, right?!?!

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