I may live in the suburbs, but I’m not a suburban mom. I don’t drive a minivan, don’t have a freezer full of freezer meals and I’ve yet to spend a weekend at a soccer tournament. Oh, and I hate to carpool.
Before anyone gets too judgey let me just say that I don’t dislike carpooling because I don’t like helping people. I do love helping people, and I love when people can help me. I actually don’t mind the infrequent carpool to a special event or when someone (myself included) has an emergency. That’s just an awesome part of being in a mom tribe. But for me personally, I’m not looking for a long-term carpool relationship and these are just a few of the reasons why.
1. I Want This Time To Myself
My husband and I have one daughter and I want to cherish every moment with her that I can. It won’t be long before she thinks I’m a dork and would rather hang out with her friends. For now, she thinks I’m the coolest woman on the planet and I want to be the one to spend mornings and afternoons with her on the car ride to and from school. I want to be the one to sing songs as we cruise along. I want to be the first one to ask her how her school day was and even listen to her silence when she says she doesn’t want to talk about it. I want her to associate me with such a huge part of her life- her education. Consequently, I want to do all those things without other little ears in my car. As an only child, I know the bond her and I share is going to be important and I want to start it from a young age. I also don’t want my daughter to get lost in the shuffle of a big carpool with tons of other kids. I want her to feel important and that I care about what happens to her at school. I love our discussions on our school drives, and I don’t want anyone taking those away from me.
2. I Like My Independence
When someone asks if I want to carpool, I inwardly cringe at the loss of independence I would have at being committed to going straight to and from school. I’m a work from home mom and let me tell you, I maximize every moment of the day. Sometimes we leave for school early so I can get gas on the way, or I stop working so I can hit up the grocery store before picking my daughter up from school. Other times, we head straight to appointments, the gym or somewhere fun straight from school. I wouldn’t be able to do any of those things if I had another kid in my carpool. I fully admit, it’s not you- it’s me.
3. I Don’t Want To Be Responsible For Your Child’s Safety
I’ve witnessed the results of enough car accidents and luckily only been in 1 minor fender bender since my daughter has been alive to know how dangerous driving can be. I’m already scared enough driving with my own precious cargo, I don’t want to be responsible for yours too. It makes me seriously anxious to even think about me driving your child to school and being involved in an accident. It makes me even more nervous to think about a carpooling partner having one with MY child in their vehicle.
4. Our Needs Probably Aren’t The Same
To me, when a mom approaches me for a carpool, I see it as a need that she has- not seeking out something convenient. She has other kids to get to a different school or a busy work schedule. For me, I don’t need to carpool at all and that means we wouldn’t have the same end goal in mind. Someone who needs to carpool is committed and takes it seriously. Someone like myself who may see it as a convenience for my situation will undoubtedly not prioritize carpooling and I don’t want to be that person. I’d much rather my friends who need to carpool find someone who can meet their needs and not bow out.
5. I Don’t Want To Stress Out More Than I Already Do
I’m a mom, wife, and a work from home employee. In the midst of grocery shopping, swim lessons, squeezing 5+ hours of work into my day and trying to find time for myself, every day life can be stressful. When I’m running late for drop off or pick up, I of course feel horrible. But I don’t feel nearly as bad as I would if I had other kids I needed to pick up too. If nothing else, the ride to and from school is a reprieve for me. When my daughter is in the car, we can chat. When she’s at school and I’m driving alone, I can finally listen to what I want to or just sit with my thoughts. As much as I love helping other people, I have to say no to carpools for my own sanity. Thanks, but no thanks.