My phone just dinged, again, with another text from my carpool group. I love my carpool group. If it weren’t for them, with my two kids in two different schools on opposite ends of town, neither of which has bussing, I would be in the car three hours every day just getting my kids to and from school. Add in an after-school activity four days out of the week, and that would be four hours in the car for those days.
If not for my carpool, I’d spend 19 hours in the car every week just being a mom taxi for my children. That is, quite literally, a part-time job. And I only have two children. I try to imagine managing this with 3 or 4 children, and it gives me actual heart palpitations. Bless all of you mamas of many. I bow to you.
My carpool saves me from all those hours in the car (I LOVE YOU GUYS, DON’T EVER LEAVE ME), but we still spend hours every day coordinating who is driving whom. When it’s my turn to drive, I always worry I’ll forget someone’s kid (or my own). One time, one of our people did actually forget my kid. The other parent was so embarrassed, and I couldn’t even be upset because any day now the same might happen to me.
Luckily my daughter was just a few minutes’ drive away and I was able to rush over between other obligations and get her pretty quickly. But this just goes to show how carpooling is basically a circus act where multiple performers juggle hundreds of balls, except instead of balls, it’s children, and there’s no chance to rehearse and we don’t get paid. Wheeee!
So, moms, if you feel like you’re running a taxi service for your kids, whether you’re actually driving or just coordinating it, that’s because YOU LITERALLY ARE. In fact, a survey of over 1,000 moms done by HopSkipDrive, a ride service for kids, revealed that when driving time and coordinating are factored in together, it’s quite common for parents to spend the time equivalent of a second job just getting their kids where they need to be.
The survey, sent to parents with kids between the ages of 6 and 17, found that 38% of parents spend over 5 hours per week taxiing their kids around, and a third of that number reported they spend more than 10 hours on taxi duty. Over a third surveyed said transportation logistics is a daily topic of conversation, sometimes more than once per day. I feel this so hard.
And it will come as no surprise to moms that of the 87% of parents surveyed who said they are responsible for coordinating transportation duties between themselves and their partner, 75% of those are women. Can you say “Mental Load”? Again, this is definitely me. My phone dings throughout the day with all of us coordinating and double-checking so we don’t forget a kid somewhere or miss an activity, and the occasional change and shuffle to re-coordinate. My husband is blissfully out of the loop on all of this.
It’s also no surprise that working parents demonstrated an especially heavy burden, with 2 out of 3 parents reporting having to disrupt their work schedules regularly, often on a weekly or even daily basis.
For the working parents who said they spend more than 10 hours per week shuttling kids to and from school and activities, 42% said they feel they’ve put their job at risk to make sure their kid got where they needed to go. And on the flip side, 24% of parents said they feel their kid is missing out on certain activities because of a lack of dependable transportation.
I am so grateful my friend invited me to join a carpool group with her (actually, this is how we became friends), but I think she would agree that a good portion of the time saved by not driving is now spent planning rides. 12 or so kids split between 5 parent drivers means lots of time spent coordinating. But those hours spent planning really are well worth it, because it still means far less time in the car, as well as less money burned up in my fuel tank and less general wear and tear on my vehicle.
Still, I really wish there was a way to get paid for this. Though I’m not holding my breath.