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Two and One-Half Hours a Day

Two and One-Half Hours a Day

Carpooling may be a nuisance, but it shows your children you truly care about their education.


Two and one-half hours a day. Two and one-half hours. That's the amount of time I sped carpooling every day. It gives a person pause.

The route is so familiar I could do it in my sleep. I have nine children. Two need to be at school at 8:05, six at 8:30 (one at a separate school), and one at 9:00. I have one child who gets out at 2:00, five at 4:00, two at 4:30 and one at 5:40, except on Thursdays when it's 7:10.

I look enviously at my friends in New York where the state provides bussing.

It's dizzying; it's a coordination nightmare. It's time for a personal secretary.

I look enviously at my friends in New York where the state provides bussing. Or do I?

When it comes down to it I actually enjoy the time we spend together in the car (when no one's fighting). I like being the last one to say goodbye in the morning and the one to say hello again at the end of the day.

It's a time to check in and go over our days together. It's time we spend with each other as opposed to wasted bus time – it's captive quality time.

I confess to being a little sick of children's tapes, a little tired of "Did you bring anything to eat?" and a little worn out from the struggle over who sits where (we do have a seating chart). I am slightly wearied from the constant driving, maneuvering our van up and down narrow streets, winding our way through rush hour traffic.

Only the two o'clock run is a quick one although it has the disadvantage of being at that mid-afternoon "I could use a little nap" time.

Nevertheless I look on my carpools, when I'm awake and in a good mood, as an essential part of my job as a mother.


When I drive my children to schools we chose for them because these schools reinforce the values we want to impart, I'm making a statement about our priorities. I'm teaching my children what's important to me and how much I'm willing to sacrifice for it.

My husband once had a teacher who grew up in a very poor family. In order to pay for his Jewish education they sold their stove and went without heat in the cold eastern European winters. And I speak of sacrifice, in my air-conditioned car.

To pay for his Jewish education, his parents sold their stove and went without heat.

Are my children learning the lesson –- or are they just focused on my screaming at them "Get into the car or we'll be late"? At least I know that it reinforces for myself the importance of my commitments and convictions.

My children know that I drive them because I care –- I care about their education, both in the classroom and outside. I care about their values. I care about their friends and outside influences. And I want to hold them for just a few more minutes in the protected environment of our family.

So I'll keep driving (as if there's a choice) and I'll take pleasure in my commitment to my children. I'll enjoy the time with them. And I won't complain about carpool.

At least not until the next professional development day when some schools get out at 12:00 and some at 12:45 and some at 4:00, and the other mothers aren't available to pick up because they're working.

May 27, 2000

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Visitor Comments: 3

(2) Anonymous, June 25, 2000 12:00 AM

This fall I will embark on a commuting journey as my 2 children transfer from the local public school to a day school which is a fifty-minute driver each way in traffic. I also have a toddler, and I'm trying to figure out if it makes sense for me to work part-time in order to pay for this. Emuna's article made me smile and encouraged me to make the best of the situation. Hopefully, the long time benefits will be worth it.

(1) Mark Rothman, June 1, 2000 12:00 AM

Largely Irrelevant to working parents

I suppose driving our kids shows our commitment to their education. But the comment that the driving time is done in place of a nap offended me. An afternoon nap is neither an option for me or my wife or any of the other dual income families out there (who work so hard in part to afford the day schools to which we are driving). It would have been more helpful if Mrs. Braverman had discussed how working parents deal with the stress of driving, how people who work are impacted by real professional sacrifices that must be made to make that time available.

Beth Gibson, June 22, 2014 11:07 PM

Dual Income Families

Why would you sacrifice, either in the hours of driving children in car pools or going to work to afford these schools? Do you really believe your children are happier, better off, in these situations than they would be at home with you? I car-pooled. sent my kids to the quote best schools.
My g'children are being homeschooled. I would give almost anything to be able to raise my own children again. They would have turned out good, thoughtful people without school, and life along the way would have been a lot happier, for them and for me.

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