Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Road Warrior

(Originally published on "A Suburban Mom's Survival Guide" 23 June 2009)
Don’t you feel like the summer months herald the start of the driving season? At least for me, that holds true. Last summer, the minivan logged  6000 miles over the summer vacation, and I’m on track to top that record with 2000 miles driven these past 2 weeks. 
What is with all of the driving? It is summer which should mean fun times hanging out at home with your friends and long lazy days in the sun or curled up with a good book. Maybe 30 years ago but not for my kids in 2009. I will admit that I am a Mom who schedules her kids a bit during the summer. (In my own defense, I have cut them WAY back on their summer activities this year.) I don’t think that they are overly scheduled as they seem to have plenty of free time but scheduled enough that I spend a good 2-3 hours in the car most days driving them around. That is a lot of my time! And I’ve found myself caught in a trap of my own making. 
I want a mix of summer athletics and academics to keep them busy and give me a bit of time without the whole gang underfoot. Great idea except that since I don’t have a nanny or a chauffeur, I’m doing both roles. This worked out perfectly fine in previous summers, but this summer I’m trying to start up my own graphic and web design company. Let’s just say the drive time is cutting into my creative time. Again, a problem of my own making. 
I do feel like a road warrior as I drive all over the Twin Cities. Any of you who normally  drive around Minnesota’s Twin Cities will sympathize with me. Typically I am stuck behind a car driving 20 mph below the speed limit on a narrow, single lane highway with no hope to pass around the creeping car. Or there is the other extreme of driver who really believes that he or she is the ultimate road warrior and drives like a maniac hovering on your back bumper until they can whip around you going 85 mph. My question in this case is “where are the police when you need them to a pull over those overly aggressive drivers?” 
I’m not a creeper or a maniac driver but fall somewhere in between. I’m just forever running 5 minutes late for the next practice or class and am just trying to transport kids without getting in a wreck. (Maybe that puts me closer to the maniac end of the driver spectrum.) Now you’re probably wondering why I don’t just set up some carpools with other kids. The majority of these drives do involve one leg of a carpool! I think it is the sheer volume of kids and their far away activities that keep me on the road. 
I do not mean to sound like I am complaining as I know that hauling kids around to activities is part of the Mom deal that you sign up for when that first baby arrives. I’m just trying to work out the details of being a stay-at-home Mom while trying to get a foot in the door of the design industry. I’m trying to find a good balance.
Of course my kids don’t realize (or appreciate) any of this. They have so many more summer opportunities available to them than I ever dreamed of at their age. As a parent, it really is hard not to schedule them in all of these interesting camps and outdoor activities which they love. Summer truly is all about the kids (at least in my suburban mom world). 
Now if you slow drivers out there would just drive at the speed limit!!!!



No comments: