So as I mentioned before, KL is more of a driving town than Rome. Maybe not if you were visiting and staying in the middle of downtown. But for me, the combo of heavy traffic, bad sidewalks, and rainstorms is putting driving front and center.
When I first realized I couldn’t walk the kids to school, I freaked out. HARD. This was not part of “the plan.”
Then I started to practice driving. It’s nerve wracking. Other side of the road. Cars EVERYWHERE. Motorcycles zooming between cars on both sides of you. Tight parking spots. All around not my cup of tea.
It turns out that there is a pay bus that could take the kids to school. Which feels silly because the school is right across the street. (The giant, mega huge street. Ugh.) But it exists. It isn’t crazy cheap, but it’s reasonable. We could afford it.
So why am I not jumping at this bus option?? We inquired and found out the general pickup and drop off times. I hadn’t wanted to add too much time to the kids’ day, but it turns out, it really wouldn’t be that much. Morning pick up would be about the same as when they leave now. Afternoon sounds like it would be 15ish minutes later. So not nothing, but not crazy.
For the listers among us, allow me to present my pros and cons.
- Instead of dropping the kids, James would be able to get into work earlier which means he would be able to get home earlier for more family time.
- James and I would not have to fight traffic.
- I would not have to deal with the tight parking lot at school.
- I would have more time without the kids in my day. Instead of leaving at 2:00 to pick up, I’d be waiting for them around 3:00.
- It costs money.
- We would lose daily interactions with teachers.
- I would have more time without the kids in my day.
- If I’m not making myself practice, I might revert to never driving.
- It would be easier to take the kids on an outing or adventure straight from school pick up.
- We lose the chance to play with the kids at the school playground each day.
- The kids could end up spending some extra time in the car.
- We lose time to chat with the kids in the car.
Hmm. So if you just look at the lists, it seems like cons win. However, even though there are more items, the pros FEEL weightier if you know what I mean.
Also, some of these cons are a bit deceptive. The kids generally don’t talk to us much in the car. Also, they did before, but now they don’t really play with us as much on the playground because they are spending time with their friends. Which is good. It just makes us feel superfluous.
WHY am I hesitating so much on this???
This week I drove all by myself to pick up the kids from school. During the 30 minutes at school, I waffled about 10 times on whether I should do the bus.
This is hard. It’s not that big of a deal.
I DID get to talk to the teachers. It was brief and mostly pleasantries.
The parking lot wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t that fun either.
Why should I spend money on something I’m perfectly capable of doing? It is nice to spend money on making your life easier.
To be honest, I think I’m actually more conflicted about the kids being in school than I expected. Maybe it is because both of them went at once? Because Mac still feels so young? Because this is so completely different than the past few years?
My identity has changed, and I’m struggling to keep up. I used to be the mom with kids hanging off of me all the time. Now I’m not. People could look at me and not even know that I have kids. I mean, obviously. And that’s a good thing. The kids don’t define me. But it is very different than my previous day to day.
The other day I met two moms having lunch with their three year olds. We had a nice chat. I felt strange though. I was just them. Now it’s different. The longest shortest time ago.
There’s a lot that I really do like. I like having time for some of my own projects. I like being able to chat and finish my sentences. I like that the kids have time at school away from me doing and learning all kinds of awesome stuff.
If I’m going with my mom gut, I generally feel like school is good for all of us. I think we are all getting a lot out of it.
So why do I still feel so conflicted?
And what should I do about the bus???
My parents did drop off and pick up without daily interactions with my teachers. And I think they are swell parents, and I turned out OK.
And yet I hesitate.
I’m trying to remind myself that we can change things. We can always do something for now and change it next month. Or next year.
A wise friend suggested we try out the bus to see. My first thought was, “well, it’s pay so I doubt they would let us,” but maybe they’d be willing to accept some lesser payment for a trial week.
I think part of me knows that if we try the bus, we’ll never go back.
Maybe I just need a little more time. All of this feels very new because it IS very new. Catch up is natural, right? Right.
If anyone has any words of wisdom, I’d love to hear it. I know it doesn’t work that way, but this is one where I wish someone could just tell me what to do. FWIW, James feels about the same as me so I can’t try to put this all on him. 🙂
UPDATE: I wrote the above one day ago and, as so often happens, writing helped me figure myself out.
I’ve decided that we are going to drive the kids ourselves for this semester. We are here for six semesters. This is early days.
This will help me solidify my habit of driving. It will help us and the kids get used to the new school. Get to know the teachers and other parents.
After this semester, we’ll reevaluate. Maybe we’ll know that driving isn’t that big of a deal. Maybe we’ll know that it does add value. Or maybe we’ll know it is time for a change.
Having decided this, I feel better already. Ah, clarity. For now anyway. 🙂