This week's lesson is something I wrote many years ago

when carpool was still a part of my every day life.

And while I absolutely loved getting that one on one time with each of my children (because it's just about all you get in the years between thirteen and sixteen)

I could have been in a fist fight pretty much every day were it not for Jesus. ANYWAY---here's what I've learned about carpool. 

Week Eleven


As I try to make it through the first few weeks of fall, there are so many thoughts lingering in my mind.... Will I need sedatives when my daughter gets her driver’s license later this month? Will she heed the advice of my daddy and “go slow and keep it between the ditches”? Will I be able to watch my son graduate from college in December without melting into a puddle on the Coleman Coliseum floor? Will I ever learn to enjoy exercise? Well, that one I can answer: No. I will not. But as I prepare for another year traveling to and from my daughter’s school twice a day what I’m dreading most is this: How can these (what I assume are) perfectly sane adults lose all ability to reason or drive correctly once they enter the carpool lane?

I was rather fortunate to raise my children in a Mayberry-esque neighborhood where most everyone walked or biked to school. I never faced the dreaded carpool lane until I had a teenager and for that I am unbelievably thankful. These days, however, I can’t begin to tell you how frustrated I get each morning as I drop off my child. I almost definitely require a nerve pill just to make it from the entrance to the exit of the carpool line. Things are so bad in the town where I live, they actually passed an ordinance making it illegal to be on the phone, have your dog in your lap, or be drinking coffee in any school carpool lane. I am not joking. More specifically it reads: there will be no talking, texting, emailing or any other use of a cellular phone, tablet/iPad or any other electronic device; reading books, newspapers, etc.; pets; loud music; food; or any other distraction that might divert a driver's attention. And yes, it really had to be that specific. And I agree with every word. 

But should it really require the threat of a misdemeanor for parents to be alert and responsible as they drive through a maze of half-asleep teenagers trying to make their way into school for the day? Really? I’ve also noticed people have a difficult time differentiating between the carpool or “drop off” lane and the parking lot. Let me help you out with this. The carpool lane is where you slow down just long enough for your zombified child to jump out of the car without dropping their Pop Tart. This is not the place to stop. This is not the place to open your trunk. And this is certainly not the place to get out of the car to help your precious little angel unload their tuba. If your car is in park, then guess what... you are “parked” and should therefore be in a PARKING LOT. Preferably in a single space centered between two lines, but that’s an issue for another time.

Over the summer break, I forced my daughter to take driver’s education. (Yes, I am THAT mom.) Thankfully it only lasted one week, as I don’t think 

I could have made it a single day longer. You would think, as I did, that summer school carpool would be easy-peasy, but you would be gravely mistaken. I can assure you it was nothing of the sort. On the last day, I drove through to pick her up, again slowing down only enough for her to jump into the car. Attempting to pull away, I found I was blocked by the car in front of me. In fact, this driver was blocking not one, but two lanes and had several cars backed up. I edged up a bit to encourage the car to move aside and....Nothing. The car beside me, in a show of camaraderie, also edged up and still....Nothing. I finally gave a small tap on my horn along with a friendly wave, and the person in the driver’s seat (who was on the phone, drinking coffee, and had a dog in her lap) pointed to the school door as if to say “I’m waiting on someone.” Well guess what, Sister? We are ALL waiting on someone. Make another loop or PARK your car. I have to admit, I did honk the horn as I finally made my way around her. And by “honk” I actually mean laid on the horn until everyone in the parking lot was glaring at me. I know it wasn’t the Christian thing to do, but bless my heart, I couldn’t help myself.

I am sure I embarrassed my daughter, but after a week of driving around town with other 15-year-olds, I think she finally understands why carpool makes me crazy. I’m trying to teach her to be a focused and courteous driver, and I certainly hope I haven’t passed my road rage on to her. I’m going to make an effort to stay carpool-calm this year, and I wish you all the best as you maneuver your neighborhood streets and carpool lanes. 

The Alabama Housewife

​Southern Humorist, Storyteller and Writer