Carpooling is a great idea when you have several kids in your neighborhood who are going to a school outside of the area and where bus transportation is limited. So this year, when my son went to high school, I and three other families decided to give it a try. Simple, right? Each family drives one day each week, and then we rotate Fridays, and better yet, one of the kids is a senior who takes everyone in the morning! Piece of cake? Not so fast…
We soon realized that of the five kids in the carpool, one was on the volleyball team and had practices and games after school. That means two pick-ups in the afternoon, which was not too bad – we figured it out. Then my son started baseball conditioning – still not too much of a problem. He could get a ride home with the volleyball player.
Then disaster struck! The senior we had relied on in the morning got his driving privileges suspended by his parents for poor grades! There were now five kids to transport and only two families had cars big enough to handle the load. So, we could have those two drive in the mornings and the other two in the afternoon, but what if the kids all got out at the same time? In order to keep track of it all, one of the parents, who just happens to be an accountant, created the shared Carpool Google Spreadsheet – just log on, sign up on the days you can drive, and join in on the a logistical nightmare!
Does the senior have to work after school? Are we picking up four or five? Does my son have baseball tonight? What about Volleyball? Do the girls have a game? Oh, and my son lives in two households so we added a line, “Where is Ian?” Then the other two girls start soccer tryouts after school – still no problem, but, they could get cut any day. We check the spreadsheet daily to see who is where and at what time.
And did I mention I have a daughter who also carpools… at a different school!? So as a single working mom, I drive on Fridays for my daughter, Wednesdays for my son, and that’s only if there are four kids. If there’s more I have to trade with someone, not to mention another twist: two of the girls in my daughters carpool want to begin an afterschool activity, and the other two do not. That means two afternoon pickups for my daughter’s carpool as well. Enough to drive a person crazy!!!
Through it all, I am proud to say that so far, we have never been late, nor have we abandoned the kids at school! However, one afternoon two of us showed up, but that’s better that than the alternative! A miracle at best.
And, the eight families involved? We are now all good friends. Is it worth it? I say yes! Our kids are great; they are growing up and learning to juggle responsibilities of school, extracurricular activities, and communicating with their parents about their complicated schedules – all tools that will come in handy in the future. All of us are dedicated to our kids and helping them to grow up as well rounded people!
So, if you’re thinking about joining a carpool… brace yourself!