4 ways working parents can balance career and family transportation needs
Written by Aylin Cook
If there’s one thing that was clear from our State of Childcare Transportation Report, it was this: shuttling kids around town can feel like a full-time job. And, unfortunately, these transportation responsibilities can take a toll on the everyday lives of working parents — including their careers.
In this article, we’ll offer up four solutions to help you balance your work and your kids’ transportation needs.
Start a carpool
Maybe this seems obvious, but many parents don’t know where to start when it comes to carpooling. We always recommend looking for caregivers who are in the same boat as you. If you notice other stressed parents waiting around for Taekwondo practice to wrap up, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. Chances are, another family in your class lives nearby and would be more than happy to split driving responsibilities with you.
At some schools, there’s even an official list of families interested in carpooling. If your children’s school offers this resource, have a look! This is a great way to find other people interested in carpooling, and almost all of the hard work is done for you.
Take a look at where you drive — and why
Have your kids become busier and busier with a lot of different activities? What started as dance class once a week may now be a full-fledged medley of appointments and extracurriculars. Speech therapy, chess club, swim lessons, study group…
Sometimes because we’re so busy we forget to stop and actually evaluate our schedules. Do they make sense? Are we driving in circles or driving across town more days a week than is truly necessary? Only when we take a good, hard look at where we go and why can we begin to make sense of our schedules. And then, we can try to restore a little balance in our lives.
Try to stack activities
Now that you’ve objectively scrutinized your schedule, think about stacking activities more efficiently. For example, you might want to get all your kids enrolled in activities within a mile or so of each other so that you can handle pickup in one fell swoop. Or better yet, you might want to sign your kids up for the same activity.
Another option we love: off days. Commit to driving nowhere (unless absolutely necessary) on one or two days a week. These can be the days your family relaxes, takes it easy, cleans the house or hangs out together. However you decide to spend the time, it won’t be in the car. (And that’s a relief, for sure.)
Moving work schedules around, carpooling and reevaluating family activities can help to balance our careers and our children’s transportation needs. But they’re by no means cure-alls — and they don’t work for everyone.
When nothing you try seems to be easing the load, you might want to consider partnering with a trusted resource or person to help manage your family transportation needs.
Some resources to consider include:
- Using an alternative youth transportation solution like HopSkipDrive to get your kids where they need to be.
- Asking a family member, trusted friend or neighbor to assist with transportation
- Allowing your child to utilize public transportation, if safe and age-appropriate
- Hiring a nanny or babysitter to help with shuttling
Balance is key
We know these are tidy solutions to a complicated and messy problem. Balancing work and family demands is tough — and there’s never a perfect answer.
HopSkipDrive was started by three busy moms for this very reason. We understand the challenges working parents face, and we’re proud to offer a trusted and reliable youth transportation solution.