By Analytikal Mama, mother of 4 beautiful children, wife and co-chef to a braaimaster. she loves spending time with family and friends, traveling, and is endlessly curious about religion, parenting and the culinary world.
Status update: Always in the car!
And for many around me, this is a cause of concern – should I not just indulge in school transport services? Just how much time and energy do I spend ferrying the kids to and from school and then off to afternoon classes? As is the beginning of every year, I spend endless hours in anxiety wondering how I would get to 3 schools at exactly the same time, and debating whether I should just hang around for the 4th kid or do a return trip. Then, I spend more aggravating hours looking for alternatives – transport services, lift clubs, pooling hubby in, changing schools, moving home, etc, etc…and, in the end – I’m happy to just be in the car (even if I sometimes wish it was a mobile home).
Growing up in the city has its own challenges, compared to my hometown life where school was always a minute’s walk away. Probably why I just cannot adjust to the blessings of school transport.
Again and again, I weigh the vision of waiting at home with a pot of hot food, calm and collected, while my kids are being delivered to me by a transport service (like a DHL fast option: kids door – to – door service), against having to schedule my day around my kid’s times and needs.
School transport services makes perfect sense: I would have more time for me, more time for housework, more time for work, more time for…? I would probably have reason to update my status more often, and do instagram posts of my every meal, location and emotion. Of course I would save on wear and tear on my car, and hopefully some petrol too. I am often tempted to accept the quotations – there are some really cool and reliable school transport services out there – willing to take the load off my shoulders.
Then there’s lift clubs – no added expense, get a day or more “off” to fit in some breakfast with friends or an added hour in my day for some me time. Again, this makes more sense. It’s probably the best of both worlds – IF, I can find a common schedule and IF my kids can schedule their moods and feelings to only surface on days I fetch them.
BUT – having tried both, having benefited from the convenience of having my older kids seen to while I attend to the little ones, I remember days of FOMO too. I remember cringing because others knew more about my son’s day than I did, I remember feeling a void, or detachment from their worlds. The kids I knew at home had a different life at school, knew different people- I wouldn’t comprehend their difficulty in getting to the gates, I couldn’t put faces to names of their friends, and friends mums ( I mean, these are some of the most influential people in my kids lives). More than that, I missed out on that important moments of revelation when they just get into the car – relieved to see me, or excited to tell me about their days. I missed out on listening to radio 702, discussing current politics and other matters, worrying about rhinos, spelling words from numberplates, stitching buttons whilst driving, going over quick mental maths and spelling words. I missed out on hearing stories about friends, and teachers, appreciating the early morning sunrays through trees together, marvelling at the jacarandas, counting cars and taxis along the road, lunching in the car, changing in the car for afternoon classes. I missed being a part of them – sharing in their tears and laughter at the end of the school day.
I remember fondly my high school son’s first lift club in Grade R – the friends who have stuck with me through this (most of whom have moved closer to the school), the friends who still have my back when I need, becoming family to each other as we watched our kids grow in school, and in the car, of course. I look at new mums doing the same now – some travelling from the outskirts of the city – and I smile. Knowing that the struggle is real – but we all share the same natural inclination: to grow and guide our kids whilst we have them in the nest.
I won’t trade these moments for anything in the world… I can empathise with those that have no other choice but to rely on transport services – who have to be at work, or elsewhere. It’s perfectly ok to do this. But, whilst I have the opportunity, a flexi job (thank goodness) and some time management skills – I choose to create my own drama! To be a part of my kids, to re-organise my days, to stick out as abnormal in what others would consider the normal thing to do. Even if they don’t appreciate it now – some day they will reflect on the memories we made in the car.
And on days when I am tired – I snooze in the car, or call a friend for help, and hey! I’m back on track! Always in the car!