Working mothers have enough on their plates when it comes to juggling motherhood and work responsibilities. For this reason, working moms often seek ways to reduce some of their everyday tasks. For example, getting the kids to and from school and extracurricular activities. Instead of rushing to drive the kids where they have to be on time yourself, organize a carpool with other parents in order to share the responsibility and make maximum use of your time.
However, for various reasons, some families may be reluctant to participate in a carpool. Others may not be responsible enough for you to trust with your children's well-being. Because of this, it's wise to approach the subject with caution. The first task is to find other carpool participants. Start with these four tasks.
Tap into friends first. If you are more than just acquaintances with some of your child's friends, talk to them about the possibility of organizing a carpool. If even only one other parent is interested, you now have the basis for a carpool.
Ask those who live nearby. It makes sense to carpool with parents who live in your neighborhood. Often, if you can get several parents to sign on for your carpool, you may only have to be the carpool driver once per week.
Ask the school for willing carpooling participants. Some close knit schools may keep lists of parents seeking a carpool. If your school does this, then you can ask the school's administration to provide you with names of parents who wish to be part of a carpool, or offer your contact information to others who have the same carpooling goal.
Strike up a conversation with other parents. If you drop your child off at school in the morning, take note of the other parents whom you see making a drop off. If you recognize other parents from your child's class you may want to approach the subject of a carpool with them, and see if it piques their interest.
Once you've amassed a list of interested carpoolers, the next step is to solidify the group into a committed carpool list. Take these steps.
Query potential participants. You want to make sure you have similar parenting goals as the participating carpool parents. Ask questions that will let you know if the other parents are able and willing to do their share of the carpooling responsibilities. If some parents' nannies will be doing their share of the carpooling you'll likely want to gain information about the caregiver, including their driving experience and having their phone numbers listed in your cell phone for emergencies.
Introduce all the parents. You'll want to get everyone who will participate in your carpool acquainted and come up with considerations for a rotating schedule. Make sure everyone in the carpool knows each other and has each other's phone numbers and addresses.
Organize a schedule. Carpools can get tricky when it comes to designating the days each parent will drive the kids to school. How do you choose who will get which day of the week? In order to be fair it's good to start a dialogue with other mothers and talk about what will work best for each parent. In some cases, a mother may work from home on a particular day of the week and this would be her chosen day for driving the carpool.
Be fair. Make sure you can accommodate each parent's schedule, and if you can't, always compromise. For example, if both you and your neighbor work from home on Fridays, alternate Friday carpooling responsibilities -- or one of you take the morning and the other take the afternoon.
Set guidelines. While you don't want to set staunch rules for carpooling, you likely want to make sure all the parents know the route to take and pick up each child in the carpool on time. For this reason, it's wise to draw up a list detailing all the carpool stops and times for pick up or drop off. In addition, the parents participating in the carpool need have their children ready on time and be home for the drop off.
Have a back-up plan. School age kids get sick and there should be a backup plan for when one parent's child may be home sick. For example, the backup for Sally on Mondays is Mindy, who needs to get a phone call if she's needed to drive the car pool by 8 a.m.