I Am Tired of Driving in Circles.

Top 10 Things I Didn’t Consider Before Committing to a 45-Minute (four times a day) School Commute:

10. The news. Shortly after September 11, 2001, I stopped paying attention to the news. The angst was too much for me. Now, while searching for traffic reports, I often hear about turmoil, unrest, wars, murder, manslaughter, destruction and other horrors. The angst is back.

9. Commercials. Since there isn’t much to do during three hours of driving, I often resort to to scanning the radio. I search for songs – with very little success. Rush hour drive time is 90% talk and commercials. Yawn. I’d subscribe to XM, except I can’t afford it with my kid in private school.

8. Breakfast. Since we have such a long ride, Dylan eats breakfast in the car. He eats an egg sandwich almost every day. Shane, on the other hand, makes his own breakfast at home, so he eats a bowl of cereal every day. “Variety” is no longer on the menu for breakfast.

7. Traffic back-ups. Because I take back roads and go against traffic, I somehow believed I would be immune to rush-hour back-ups. In two days, I missed incidents that happened within minutes after I passed – so I now know I’m not immune. I also drove around a back-road back-up that cost me 20 minutes one morning. Thankfully, my dad was taking Shane to school that day, or he would have been late.

6. Other drivers. I was almost crushed by a box truck behind me (with loud squealing brakes). Half an hour later, an obviously blind woman pulled out directly in front of me. This doesn’t count the number of people I’ve seen texting while driving, including other moms – some of whom I know personally! This terrifies me above all else.

5. Gas. I used to fill up the tank once a week, maybe every 10 days. Now I am always in need of gas. Those 15-mile trips (60 a day) really add up – and I hadn’t budgeted the time or the money to cover it.

4. Dead animals. The number of dead animals I have seen in the last three weeks is absolutely astounding. In addition to the typical dead squirrels, groundhogs and raccoons, I have seen two baby deer, a cat and a kitten in the past week. I’m a sensitive soul, and seeing this breaks my heart.

3. Bathroom breaks. I don’t even get out of the car when I get to Dylan’s school, whether I have been drinking my morning soda or my tons-o-water in the afternoon. So I am always wishing I were home, and vaguely considering any porta potty I see along the route.

2. Time with Dylan. While Dylan and I have 90 minutes of time, per day, to spend together in the car, there are times when it’s tough to sit there together. Sometimes it is really fun – truly – but other times, we argue over having the windows down or turning on the radio or the post-school text-your-friend debacle. Exhaustion (see #5) seems to be a key factor.

1. Time with Shane. Last year, I had an hour a day to play with my baby before school started. This year, I am lucky to have 15-20 minutes each morning to spend with Shane. Next year, that “baby” will be in middle school and he will go to school much earlier in the day. I’m wasting his last year of elementary school driving in very large circles.

I am tired of driving in circles.


  1. Kirsten says:

    Great idea! I actually started a book on CD this week – which is short but good. Unfortunately, our library is going to all ‘playaway’ format, so CD books are already becoming rare. Playaways are headphones-only which sounds a bit dangerous during drive time! Thanks for the help. I am always open to recommendations!

  2. Kelli says:

    I hear ya, sister. Most of these can be endured but not cured, but for the first two, have you tried Audiobooks? I get books on CD from the library and love them. My biggest issue is that I usually don’t go very far at a time, so sometimes I forget what’s happening, but it sounds like that wouldn’t be an issue for you. Joshilyn Jackson is currently a favorite (she often reads her own books and does an incredible job), but there are loads of great audiobooks. Let me know if you want other recommendations.

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