Surviving the Carpool Hustle

It is the end of May. Memorial Day weekend is upon us. We have nearly done the impossible: survived spring recruiting while still all liking each other! This year we have two in softball and dance, one in baseball, and three swimming. When we planned for the activities it felt totally doable. Because the first week was before Dad left to recruit. We took turns driving kids to each activity. There was an extra adult to help with staggered pick up times. One person could be making dinner while the other was helping kids get baths.

And then recruiting began. Hubby was gone all week. I was contemplating how the creation of Kids Uber would change lives. (Hear me out: teachers, education students and others with background checks drive in a vehicle with streaming video to deliver and pick up kids from extracurricular activities. I think it could work. But seriously if you are a college kid looking to make money offer your pick up/drop off services! You would be a millionaire after a month!)

But alas, there is no Kids Uber. I am Kids Uber. So I spent the last month trying to figure out how I was going to get three kids to activities that are all 10 minutes away from each other when they all begin at 6pm. It’s like math class word problems have come to life. This is what our children should be doing in school…mapping out the timing and logistics of sports drop off!

Thankfully the number of neighbors, teammates and friends who have offered to drive my kids to practice, or let them chill with another family during THEIR activity when my pick up schedule was running behind, heck, my friend Layla spent her Saturday morning sitting at a softball diamond with my kid just so she wouldn’t be alone for her game. She is a mom of 3. This was not “free-time” this was lovingly sacrificing and helping to raise our “village”.

This need to depend on others is a challenge for me. I’m a pretty independent girl, but it turns out I’m raising 5 dependents…so I need help sometimes! This is maybe the most important reason I teach my kids good manners, so other people won’t hate having my kids around. My rule is “don’t be a punk.” I feel like that encapsulates the general requirements for being carpool worthy. Say thank you. Don’t be obnoxious. Be patient. Say thank you again! The other night my daughter was given a cupcake at the end of softball to celebrate a teammate’s birthday. It was COVERED in blue icing. She finished the whole thing before getting in the van. See? Carpool ready!

Next week we have dance recitals (yes, two separate ones!), softball games, baseball tournament and nightly swim practice. But I’m feeling ready for it all. I’m going to soak up the holiday weekend with my husband. I’m going to enjoy the moments at the pool, on the lake, camping in the mountains, because that peace is going to power us through until the end of the school year. And next week when I’m carting kids around I’m going to smile and appreciate that there’s another parent in town! (Although he’s already warned me he’s working late!)

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