Carpool Rage

SCHOOL CARPOOL LINE…There are not many things that make my blood boil like those 3 words.  Before my kids were school age, I always said that I didn’t want them to ever ride the school bus.  As a public school teacher, I had heard a lot of stories about things that happened on buses, and I just didn’t want my kids exposed to that. When my oldest started school, I had someone that would take her to and from school every day because I was at work. I didn’t get the joy of the carpool line back then, thankfully.  By the time my youngest started school, I had to switch them to a new daycare provider who wasn’t able to drive them. I had no choice but to reluctantly allow them to ride the bus. Thankfully, they had amazing bus drivers that put all my fears to rest. They actually loved riding the bus with their friends.  When we moved to Georgia and I was only teaching part time, I decided to drive them to school every morning. The bus there came super early, and I didn’t want them to have to get up that early or sit on the bus for a long time.  They rode the bus home every afternoon, though.  The morning carpool line was never an issue.  It moved quickly and efficiently.  When we moved this last time and I was no longer teaching, I again decided to drive them to school in the mornings, so they didn’t have to wake up extra early.  Just as before, I have no issues with the morning drop off.  It all runs smoothly and is basically a drop-and-go kind of thing at both schools.  The issue comes in the afternoon.  I have to pick them up from school because of their practice schedules.  The bus would get them home too late to make it to practice on time, so last year began my first experience with the afternoon carpool line.  I absolutely HATE it! I quickly learned that you have to actually get in the carpool line 30-45 minutes BEFORE school gets out. If you don’t, you are stuck in the back of a really long line that takes forever and defeats the purpose of picking them up to begin with.  If I am in the back of the line, they will be late to practice. That means I am forced to get there crazy early to just sit in my car.  It is insane to me.  My youngest gets out of school at 3:25, and I leave my house at 2:45 to drive the 5 minutes it takes me to get there.   I sit there for 35 minutes just to be NEAR the front of the line.  I am not even in the front.  There are usually at least 10-15 cars already in line when I get there.  I swear those cars get there an hour early.  WHY???? I refuse to get there any earlier. Once my youngest gets in the car, I drive straight to the high school to get in line to get my other child who gets out at 4:05.  Again, I am there around 30 minutes before school gets out and there is already a line of cars when I get there.  My youngest gets so irritated that she has to sit in the car with me for 30 minutes, but I have no choice.  If I take her home (and I have tried) before I go to the high school, I get stuck in the very back of the line, and then we are late to gymnastics.  Once I have both kids, I drive straight to practice and then back home.  I don’t usually get home until around 5:00.  That means that I am in my car from 2:45-5:00 EVERY SINGLE DAY because of the dumb carpool line! 

As if having to get in line so early isn’t bad enough, that isn’t the thing that makes my blood boil the most.  What makes me go postal almost every day is the other parents in the line.  Both schools have a set route of how you are supposed to line up for pickup so that it runs as efficiently as possible and to prevent a long backup onto the main road.The line is supposed to wind through the parking lot.  They have taken great care to post signs and paint arrows on the ground to indicate where to go, AND they send out maps outlining it all at the beginning of every school year.  They even occasionally send out reminders throughout the school year.  However, there are always those parents who think that the rules don’t apply to them or that can’t follow signs, huge arrows, and maps.  They either mess up the whole flow of traffic, cause a traffic jam, or they try to cheat the system and get in front of all of us that have been sitting there forever. The ones who try to cheat the system are the ones that just about send me over the edge every day. They are driving over or around cones and totally ignoring the fact that the rest of us have a line that has formed the way we are supposed to.  I end up sitting in my car where they can’t hear me fussing at them all.  It makes me crazy!  What makes them think that they are better than the rest of us in the line? Why do they think the rules don’t apply to them? I certainly don’t want to have to get in line so early, but others make it so that I have no choice.  I still follow the rules and do what I am supposed to do.  I would love to roll up right before dismissal and pull right up to the front and get my kid, but that isn’t how it works.  There is a process, and I follow it because that is what you are supposed to do.  Ugh! It makes me so mad! Then there are inevitably those people that get in line but then get out of their car and go into the school. They don’t park in a parking spot and go in. They park in the carpool line.  Then they don’t come back before school gets out and the line starts moving. We are all now stuck behind them not moving because we can’t go forward or around them safely.  Everyone behind you starts blowing the horn, but there is nothing you can do about it unless you just push the unoccupied car out of the way. Trust me, I have been tempted to push a car or two.  I swear I have don’t have road rage, but I sure do get carpool rage.  I don’t know why it bothers me so much other than the fact that I am giving up my time to sit in the line and follow the rules. I guess I think it isn’t fair.  Whatever it is, I think I need an intervention.  I have to figure out how to let it go and not let it get to me.  

All those years ago when I said that I never wanted my kids to ride the bus is coming back to bite me now.  There is nothing I want more than for them to be able to ride the bus.  I wish practice wasn’t right after school so that they could.  Instead, I will continue to waste hours of my time sitting there in line and will try to work on reducing my rage.  I know that some of you feel the same way because I am always seeing complaints about the carpool line in my social media feed.  Why does it have to be so challenging? Ugh! Ok, I will end my venting session.  I’ll go do some deep breathing and try to let it go…until this afternoon. 

Anchored and Rambling,

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