For many families across the country, it’s back-to-school time and that also means that the extra-curricular activities will start back. Between sport, music lessons, art etc, I’m on the road most evenings with my two.
My husband is tied to the farm and I work mornings, so I do most of the drop-offs and pick-ups. It’s like a part-time job in itself. But I want my children to have opportunities that I never had, so I accept that being a “taxi” for a few years is part of that.
My problem is this. My sister in-law lives nearby and her daughter is the same age as our girl and is in many of the same classes. I’m not really sure how it happened, but I seem to end up driving her all the time too.
Of course, it makes sense to share the driving – there is little point in two cars going down the same lane to the same destination – but the favour is not returned by my sister-in-law or my brother-in-law.
I feel they think it’s fine because I’m bringing just one extra child, whereas they would have to bring my two. But that doesn’t even make sense, as my son is mostly involved in different activities, so I have to drive him to different places anyway.
It just frustrates me. I could get a lot done at home if the driving was someway shared. My husband doesn’t think it’s a big issue, but of course, he is not the one spending his evenings behind a wheel. What do you think?
Dear Taxi Mam,
Thank you for your email. I suspect many readers might feel your pain. I definitely understand your frustration too, which I am guessing stems from the perception that you are being taken for granted by your in-laws and perhaps a little bit by your husband too.
I agree that the driving should be shared. My advice would be to look at your children’s schedule and sketch out a timetable, for want of a better word. What classes does your niece also attend? Once you identify the crossover points, is there a way that makes sense to share the drives out that would work for both families?
Bringing up the issue
Once you have figured this out for yourself, approach the in-laws. It does not have to be confrontational or made into a bigger issue than it is. You could simply say to your sister-in-law and brother-in-law: “Hey, I was thinking it might make sense for us to divide out the drives this school year as the kids’ schedules are so busy. Would this work for you?” Keep it as simple as that. I can’t see how they can really argue with doing their fair share or at least making some effort to play their part. Even if it’s not exactly 50:50, I think you would feel a lot happier knowing that it was not all down to you.
By the way, I’m not just referring to your sister or brother-in-law here. I know you say that your husband is “tied to the farm”, but is this really the case every single day? Is there even one afternoon that he could take responsibility for dropping or collecting the kids?
Sharing the driving
I’m sure if you are already working in the mornings, you have plenty of other things that need your attention in the afternoons and that sharing the driving even one day a week would make a difference. They are his children too, after all.
Also, if it really is getting to be too much, it might be worth looking at how many activities the children really need to be involved in.
I know that you want to give them every opportunity but that should not come at a cost to your own sanity. Maybe there is one class that they are less than enthusiastic about that could be dropped. It just might be worth considering.
I hope this helps and wish you the best for the coming academic year.