Mom’s Taxi Truth: I Could Have Been Someplace Fun by Now

What is more discouraging than pulling out of your garage, sitting behind the wheel all afternoon and part of the evening only to arrive… back where you started, in your garage? You’ve been behind the wheel shuttling kids and equipment for hours and all the scenery you saw was the same stuff you saw yesterday. Heck, you didn’t even get a bathroom break or a Big Gulp.

From the carpool line at 3 p.m., through practice pick up at 5, to another drop off at the gym or music lesson and another pick up at the ball field, pause if you dare to consider how a four or five-hour journey by all rights should have gotten you to:

1. The Mountains – to a chalet with a crackling fire and a mug of hot chocolate

2. New Orleans –  for a bowl of gumbo in an ivy-covered courtyard, jazz wafting in the background

3. Memphis – to gnaw some barbeque ribs with blues in the background

4. THE BEACH. THE BEACH. THE BEACH. Sunset. Waves. Shrimp.

But no, you aren’t excitedly checking into a beach condo or pulling up to a hotel entrance. You are just back at your house, where the laundry has had time to start souring in the washer and people are about to start asking what’s for dinner. If you are lucky you have something waiting in the crock pot (but not on the high setting because it would surely be cooked to strings after being left this long).

It’s not like carpool time is rejuvenating. While you’re by yourself, you’re ruminating about your schedule and whether you should stop for milk on the last leg of your trip. When the kids hop in, it’s basically a hostage situation that is in your favor. Now is your time to drill on preparations for upcoming tests, seek an explanation for the last grade, encourage discussion of their social situations so you can impart your sage advice or at least have something else to quietly worry about.

Of course, we are to blame for letting this schedule get out of hand. But what are we to do? Most of us want our kids to be able to participate in activities, to develop their skills, to excel or at least enjoy the effort. Each additional kid or activity increases the complexity significantly. UPS may brag about its logistics, but we’ve been working out  transport dilemmas ever since kid #1′s first soccer game.

No matter how well considered, you  can’t  know what you’re getting into when you start the season.You may have practice at the school but the actual games will be all over town. You may have lessons near the house but the recital and two rehearsals will be at a venue 15 miles away. And here’s the greatest irony: If your kid is involved in a competitive pursuit, he/she may get to participate in a championship series that will almost certainly conflict with your real, much anticipated family vacation at the beach.

Ladies, start your engines.