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Put The Brakes on Breaking Car Pool Rules

Carpool drives this mom crazy.

My kids love winter. They like the cold. They like the snow. And they love the snow days. Me? I’ll trade very winter day for one sitting on a beach, my toes digging into the warm sand, the sound of the surf lulling me into a long, lovely nap.

It’s not just the balmy weather I miss come December; I miss walking my daughter to school. We could make the trek to school through the bitter cold, slushy, sloppy weather I suppose. But my daughter’s backpack frequently weighs as much as she does and many of our neighborhood walkways go unshoveled.

So, winter finds me struggling with the scourge of my motherly existence: the carpool. I hate carpool. Oh, I see the benefit. It’s wonderful to be able to drop my daughter, warm and dry, at the school door.

In theory, carpool is a boon; in practice, it’s a bust. A successful carpool depends on everyone following the rules and most people do. But, just as it only takes one tap to topple all the dominos, it only takes one rule-breaking carpooler to have traffic backed up for blocks.

I guess if the backup-causing rule-breaking only happened once in a while, I could put up with it. But every single time I’ve been in carpool, someone thinks the “NO left turn” sign at the exit doesn’t apply to them. The sign is big. The “NO” is even bigger. But it happens every time. The rest of us rule-following sheep wait while the scofflaw waits to turn left.

I wish I could say I keep my cool through the pool, but I don’t. Carpool brings out the worst in me. Many is the time I’ve idled behind some minivan knowing, in my heart of hearts, that the mom is about to stop the car, get out and hug her kid goodbye. And every time, I will her not to. “Don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop!” I shout. She stops. “Don’t get out! No getting out! Stay in the car!” I beg. She gets out of the car. “Don’t hug,” I plead. “No hugging. There is no hugging in carpool!” But she hugs.

Of course, I don’t say these things to the actual perpetrators. My daughter is the soul witness to my harangues. Still, I’d rather she saw her mother in a more mellow mood. So, as long as possible, we’ll be bundling up and walking to school. It’s better for the environment, better for our hearts and better for my disposition.

Cass December 06, 2011 at 09:07 PM
Why don't you just hug them in the car. My daughter gives me a big bear hug around my neck bye and she's off. No need to get out of the car.
Jill December 06, 2011 at 09:21 PM
I do understand the frustration, and if it's a repeat offender that is always doing it, than certainly they need to figure out another routine for their morning. I just know that kids are finicky, as we all know, and they might be fine jumping out of the car one day and another, they are upset and don't want to leave. On those days it may take a little extra effort on the parent's part to get them out the door and a little extra patience from everyone else. We don't know what the situation is for the person in front of us, or what kind of day/week/year they are having that might be effecting them that day.
Janice Lindegard December 06, 2011 at 09:23 PM
I've been a carpool/drop off employee and am an educator. Obviously, I'm a parent, too. I've heard it called "carpool" and I've heard it called "drop off/pick up." At the school where one of my duties was getting the kids in the cars, we called it "carpool." Regardless of what we call it, I believe we owe it to each other to follow the rules. My daughter and I hug and kiss at home.
Janice Lindegard December 06, 2011 at 09:26 PM
That's what I'm saying! If hugs and getting out of the car are allowed, then hug away!
Janice Lindegard December 06, 2011 at 09:29 PM
No rules against car hugs at my daughter's school. I give her an "I love you" shout out as she's getting out of the car. She really hates being late, so skips the hug in favor of being the first one in her class.

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