Every week when I write what my plans are for the week in my Simple Woman’s Daybook post, I always include “taxi service”. So often myself and others see this as a hassle or a burden. I know so many of you can relate to this feeling, especially if you have multiple older children that you are running from sport to sport or activity to activity with. Over at Folger’s Gymnastics, Mark makes some great points about how this can be a positive experience in our lives, and not just a burden. He says:
“Drive time gives parents an excellent opportunity to talk to their children with few distractions.
Communication is a key ingredient in the parent/child relationship.
Take advantage of chauffeur time to fulfill your duties as a nutritionist, personal manager, good listener, etc.”
Being a homeschool family I find that we spend a lot of time in the car, maybe more than most because during the day we are driving to classes or activities as well as the usual chaos of nighttime sports and events. I had never really thought about the drive time in this way. Reflecting on it now, I realize that much of our drive time is spent chatting, especially when I am driving Chloe to and from the gym. I often chat with Chloe about her goals, how to handle situations that have come up with coaches and friends at the gym, and work at keeping her attitude as positive and constructive as possible.
In my recent book discussion group we talked about being connected to our children. It seems to be a common thread that when our children reach the teen years, we as parents, back off to “give them space”. The truth is, that is the opposite of what they need. Teens need adults in their lives to help “sort” their experiences and feelings. We can be a great sounding board and assist with problems that come up in a manner that their “peers” cannot. Teens leading other teens is like the blind leading the blind.
I hope that in the more difficult years ahead as a parent that my children will continue to use me as a sounding board. I know there are still many more hours to be had in the car, and with that lots of opportunities to stay connected.