Scents that fight stress: Calm behind the wheel

stress teen driverAh, the joys of teenager-dom. And with those comes the stress of other things, besides raging teen hormones. Such as (cue “Jaws” theme here) driver’s ed. Yes, your teen learning how to drive can easily rank right up there with in the top 10 stress-filled situations.

I bring this up because my son recently attended a driver’s ed class held at one of the local high schools. It was classroom work for a week, and then they schedule six hours of drive time with the instructor in the coming months. This is a godsend, because although some teens might be a breeze in this situation, my son, as much as I love and appreciate him, will not be. So I’m thankful for professional instructors who do this year in and year out, and have a great deal of experience with new teen drivers.

In the meantime however, we can’t keep him from behind the wheel until then, as he does need to have some time in the car for familiarity’s sake. And that’s what has me a bit worried. The least little suggestion I make or bit of advice/correction I offer (no matter how gently or kindly given) is likely to be met very crossly or seen as criticism. So I’m thinking that I need to raid my perfume drawers, bags and boxes to find some anti- stress scents double-quick. Either that or just let my DH handle all the early drive time. In fact, they’re out getting some road experience as I write this. When they get back, I’ll ask DH if he needs any kind of stress relief, ha!

Let’s see what “calmers” come to mind for me: Kai, Le Couvent des Minimes Eau des Mission Cologne, Le Labo Vanille 44, Parfumerie Generale Indochine, Juliette Has a Gun Gentlewoman, or Huitieme Art Sucre d’Ebene.

Wonder how much less stress I’d feel if I wore them all at once? 🙂 Of course, said teen driver would probably refuse to get in the car with me.

What about you — what are your most fortifying stress-fighting scents? Or what hair-raising or rib-tickling teen driver stories do you have to share?

This is interesting too!

27 Comments

  1. Been there, done that. Oldest was similar, didn’t like criticism. Finally had to tell him our job is to instruct and if that feels like criticism to you and you can’t handle it, then don’t drive. And another thing, you won’t be driving our cars until you figure it out. Wasn’t long before he was ready with an entirely new attitude.

    I cannot imagine ANY perfume great enough to handle the stress of being in the car with a new driver. Stiff drink maybe, but not perfume!

    • Amen, Tiara! Good point: If you’re that “prickly” you don’t need to be driving, period! So glad you survived those days with your kids. I don’t drink, but if I did 🙂

  2. I also give a calming vote to anything from Les Couvent des Minimes. I love Eau des Minimes.

    My family also has a teen on the verge of learning to drive. So far that teen isn’t pushing to get behind the wheel, but I can feel it coming. I keep telling myself this is a “necessary life skill”, and having “another competent driver” in the house will be “helpful and efficient”. Quotes added to denote the shrill and hysterical edge my voice takes on when I say these things aloud. 😀

    • Oh, yes, Tiffanie! I am laughing (with that same hysterical edge) as I read your post. You make good points, but it also made me think of this: “Until they get their own vehicle, WHOSE car will they get to drive to where they need to go?” 🙂 DH and I will be banging heads over this. He has the newer car, so it should be my car by default, but I am so attached to my aging Honda (over 12 y.o. and still going strong) that I wince at the thought of anything happening to her. Sigh …
      P.S. Good luck and “driver’s ed, all the way” I say!! 🙂

  3. Hang in there, Ann. Been there, done that. Try not to slam on the imaginary brake on the passenger side!

    • Thanks, Claudia! I can just see me or DH wearing a hole in the middle of the passenger side floorboard, ha! We need one of those special driver’s ed cars with a brake pedal for the passenger.

  4. Be patient Ann, that’s all I can say. I’m in Europe so I went through this when my teenager was a bit older (18) and we usually have 30 hours on the road with the driving instructor, even more if they think it necessary. After she passed the exam, she was a rather good driver for a beginner and I felt very safe when she was driving me in a small car. The stress began when she wanted to borrow my big car every now and then…no perfume could comfort me while I was waiting for her /my car to return home. I’m with Tiara on the strong drink.

    • Thanks, Neva! So glad you had a good driver on your hands, despite the “big car” stress. Wow, 30 hours of drive-time? That is great!

  5. Hey Ann,
    Stories like this make me so glad there are no children here. You parents have the patience of saints. At the first gripe I’d be like: “Teach yourself then douche. No you can’t use my car.”
    No fragrance could keep me calm.
    Portia xx

    • Love it, Portia! Yes, they can be quite the challenge. Would to love to see a bumper sticker that says: “Kids — they’re not for the faint-of-heart,” ha!

  6. I’m going through it now too! He did great on the classroom portion, also had 6 hours with the instructor, and made 100% on his written permit exam. My father volunteered to help him work on the required hours behind the wheel – which lead to son’s first accident six days after getting his learner’s permit. No other cars were involved, neither of them was seriously injured, although the junker car “learner’s car” is truly junk now since the frame was bent.

    Teenage son is now hyperaware and careful which may be a long term blessing. I wear tea scents when we drive together so I can Zen out :^)

    • Congrats to your son on the 100 on the test, but sorry to hear about the accident. But thankfully no one was seriously hurt, and as you say, it did give your son an eye-opening experience that will make him a far better driver. Good luck!

  7. I don’t have children, let alone children of driving age, so I can’t comment on that. Shalimar or Jicky can be comforting in a lot of situations. Chanel no 19, any concentration you like, can give comfort and a boost of confidence in a lot of situations.

    • Good choices there, eldarwen! Chanel and Guerlain can always be counted on to have several good calming scents in their stables.

  8. Thankfully, my son’s learning to drive experience is in the past, but it sounds remarkably similar to what y’all are going through… Perhaps a brisk and bracing cologne?

    • Lucky you, dear! Am looking forward to this being over and having a good, conscientious young driver. He’s off to a good start so far, DH says.

  9. Ha ha – I made DH help out quite a bit in the beginning – but we survived three boys learning to drive. We used our old Honda Accord w/stickshift as the teaching car, a few dents and dings along the way. My best advice is having a “driving contract” with your child – re driving is a privilege not a right, etc. We made our expectations clear about who could drive, how many could be driven, what kind of repercussions there would be for a driver who made bad decisions, what would happen if there was a dent/ding, and that not calling us if help was needed was by far the worst decision that could be made!

    My funny story is about me though – I learned to drive in a very small town and had to go to the next larger town over to take my driving test and was quite nervous – a police officer gave the test. I didn’t notice that the officer had his window down when I parallel parked, and I accidentally parked next to a sprinkler that got him quite wet. But I still passed my test!

  10. Oh and I was probably wearing Je Reviens, back in the day when I took my test, not what I’d call a calm or bracing scent! I probably wore some type of Eau de Cologne while teaching my kids – not a powerhouse so not distracting, but just bracing enough for me!

    • Wow, Spring_Pansy — three boys? My hat is off to you and your DH! Love your suggestion about the driving contract; will definitely have to try something like that. And thanks for sharing the sprinkler story — too funny!!

  11. I am no help. My son is 4, and I can’t even imagine the terror of teen driving. Maybe Google will have perfected the self-driving car by the time he’s of age? Meanwhile, En Passant, perhaps? Lilac and fresh bread sound very comforting when junior’s at the wheel. Be strong.

    • Yes, yes, Heidi — the self-driving car sounds like a godsend! And En Passant does seem like the perfect scent; maybe I’ll wear it when we go out on the road again. Thanks!

  12. Dior Pure Poison and Hermes L’Ambre des Merveilles are comforting to me. Went through the driver’s stuff with my daughter. I agree with Tiara. We told her we needed to be able to correct her, in order for her to become a good driver. If she snapped at us or yelled at us we ended the session. She needed at least 50 hours of driving practice to be able to take her road test. She didn’t drive either of our cars until she had the 6 hours in with the pro driving instructor. I let DH handle the first few sessions with her as he is extremely calm, no matter what. She was such a good, careful driver for two years. Then she went to university in Texas and now she drives like a speeding mad woman. When we need to drive a shared distance I insist we take her car because I can’t stand the thought of her driving my car.

    • Tatiana, everything sounded good until she hit Texas. Maybe the Lone Star State does that to people? I agree with you, though, on having her drive her car — you’ve got to look out for your wheels, right?

  13. Hi, Ann! Been reading you but haven’t posted lately. Already been there done that with the driving. Take a deep breath! And try not to gasp during the training drives. My mother did that to me, and it unnerved me! I think when mine were learning I was wearing White Linen, so I will assume it was calming. Good luck! ?

    • Hi, Pam! So glad you posted — hadn’t seen you in a while and hoped all was well. Thanks, I do fear I’ll do more than gasp,though — more like scream — so I’ll have to be very careful. Maybe I’ll need to wear a muzzle, ha!

  14. I’m no help, as my two driver-age kids (19 and 22) do not in fact have licenses 🙂 The second one didn’t even bother trying. It works out okay while/if they live in a place like DC with public transport. First kid was a terrible driver and gave up trying.

    • I hear, you, dear! Some kids just aren’t interested and they manage to get around fine without a license. It’ll be interesting to see if your younger ones end up feeling the same way. But waaay out here in the ‘burbs, getting that license really is almost a mandatory rite of passage, ha!

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