Sunday, January 29, 2012

Do You Remember the Carpool?

It always went something like this when I was in school: "Mom, B and I are going to hang out at D's house Saturday. B's mom can take us if you can pick us up."

Why does it not happen this way anymore??? Does it happen in your little world, but not mine?

After a year of driving Amanda to her twice-monthly junior high girls' Bible study and then returning an hour and a half later to pick her up, a month or so ago, I said to a friend, "Your daughter goes to Bible study, right? Would you mind taking Amanda on your way, and I'll bring your daughter home after?"


Because of this amazing deal, I am sitting home writing this blog post, not dropping Amanda off. It's only 10 minutes away (if that), so it's not  a huge deal, but my friend drove right past our neighborhood on the way to drop her daughter off. I have to pass our neighborhood to take her daughter home, but it's only a few minutes up the road and not an inconvenience at all.

Why are we this way? This generation of parents just once removed from our own for whom this was normal? I have contemporaries whose parents loved them very much, I'm quite sure, but who were only allowed to sign up for extra-curriculars if they could catch a ride. Shocking, no? No, not really. This particular friend had 5 or 6 or 7 siblings, and if a parent shuttled them each around to every activity, they would never get out of the car.

I actually have some theories as to why we don't team up like this anymore. Let me know if you see yourself or your crowd in one of these. Or perhaps there's another reason. Or maybe this is all just me and everyone else is carpooling around (Nope -- it's not just me. The absurdity of it all hits me every time I would see 10 or 12 cars waiting for their tweens and teens outside of the house where the Bible study meets. Also, seeing the cars lined up to pick up their children after school or after an event. and seeing one child get in. Don't even get me started on school pickups. . . . ).

  1. Our children are so dear and precious to us that we can't stand being away for them for any longer than we have to. Also we don't really trust someone else with our children.
  2. Our kids are so used to being the center of attention that it doesn't occur to them that us driving them around might be an inconvenience and that they could ease it by arranging transportation. Yes, we're parents, and I don't mind doing it, but it IS inconvenient.
  3. We want everyone to think we are all Supermoms. Ask for help? No can do. I can do it all myself.
  4. We are more insulated than our parents were, so we don't consider asking. Then we might owe someone, and they might ask us for something.
Agree? Disagree? Have something to add? I want to know. This has been on my mind a while.


morninglight mama said...

On a related note, at JAM's school there are after school events that kids can sign up for ONLY if they can guarantee that their parent will be able to pick them up at 5 pm. It's so frustrating-- he's in 6th grade, he can ride his bike home by himself!!

I think we could definitely come together a bit more, and good for you for taking a step in that direction! :)

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Hm. We do not do a lot of carpooling, but I think that's mostly because we live in the opposite direction from most people we do things with (school, church, etc.) — and we're a little bit in the middle of nowhere. I do like your thoughts though… And yes, my husband was always involved in sports and activities, but had to get his own ride. I wasn't involved in as much, but my parents had to run their ice cream store and (again), we lived out in the country, not near anyone else who was going the same way we were!

That said, for class group projects, we tend do split the drop off / pick up duties. And I have two good friends at L's preschool and we can always say to each other — "Hey, can you pick up my kid and I'll get him from your house later? I have an appointment."

Good thoughts.

Nancy said...

We do some carpooling, like for Scouts there are parents who cannot take their kids to the after-school meetings because they work. Although that gets complicated, because leaders are not allowed to be alone with kids that aren't their own, so my husband cannot take any other kid in his car unless there's another adult. I get it's for safety but it can be inconvenient. There are multiple registered leaders in our den so the number of adults who can take other kids is very small.

But there are definitely other times we could carpool, like for sports practices, but most of the time don't. I do think we are more insular than our parents were, though I don't know that it's because we don't want to owe someone.

Good thoughts for sure.