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Calming a Crazy Calendar with a New Car

This week's Evil Mother Lady confession: I need some help from Little Miss Magic with the family calendar.

So, now it is time for the next confession: I need some help from Little Miss Magic with the family calendar. It has reached the point that there are more places to be than time to get there. With three daughters running full schedules, conflicts are bound to happen. But lately, the calendar morass has deepened into a crater from which I cannot emerge into the light of day. My first request is for a time warp—enter the warp, time stops while I reach my destination, I arrive on time and pick up first child, enter the warp, time stops while I reach my second destination, I arrive one minute later and pick up second child, enter the warp, time stops while I reach my third destination, I arrive two minutes later and pick up third child, and then we head home in normal time. Works for me, how about you?

This week repeated the now familiar scenario of pick up (or drop off) three girls at three different locations in three different cities within 15 minutes of each other. So, one had to leave early, one was picked up late, and the other was shuffled off with a friend so I could pick her up much later after the slightly late second pickup. Smooth, right? And this was on a good day with no traffic jams, unlike many days. I guess I shouldn’t complain too much, otherwise I will end up with more of the dreaded pick everyone up at 5 p.m. in Escondido, Poway, and Rancho Bernardo/San Diego, the rarity that makes everyone in my car very unhappy and cranky, myself very much included. 

Part of my frustration as a parent is with the people in charge of these schedules; it makes perfect sense to schedule middle school and high school end times within 15 minutes of each other if they are geographically very close to each other. When they are on opposite sides of town, it is a different story. I know it is a lot to handle, but some common sense in scheduling would help tremendously and cut down on the stress and chaos of drop-off and pickup times. If we accept 8 to 5 as a normal workday, why does school need to start at 7:30 or 8, why not 8:30 or 9? Is it driven by the need to accommodate sports schedules for the high schools, that we throw everyone into the mix of people driving to work to superjam the roads? I know when I drop my child off earlier for a before school meeting or after 8:30, the experience is much more pleasant, and safer, for us as well as the others on the road.

And what is the reason for ending everything else smack in the middle of rush hour traffic? Is it the imps of the perverse, who enjoy watching me fight my way without my carpool child through traffic with everyone else in the parking lot that is the  I-15 on a weekday afternoon? Who laugh as I drive back in carpool when I really don’t need to, watching the non-carpool traffic blow by me as they speed in their lanes. How many times do I have to be late when I left really early just to sit in traffic, just so I can pick up the second and third ones even later than planned? Can we get a waiver to ride in the carpool lanes on the first leg of the trip if we are picking up ours and other people’s children and driving them all home on the second leg?

This might be the impetus to get me over my procrastination about buying that third car and letting my driving teens drive themselves. Of course, that means I have to get over my fear of having them driving without me as co-pilot and extra set of extra-vigilant eyes. And let’s be honest, fear drives procrastination as a parent, so it is not a situation that will resolve easily. Perhaps the school schedules will adjust and I won’t have to buy that third (and fourth…  can’t forgot the 10th grader almost ready for her license) car anytime soon. So, how about you?

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