Tuesday, 3 September 2013

I say, taxi please Dad!

practice you little so and sos...
I was reading some research by Allianz Your Cover Insurance earlier about the amount of time parents spend driving their kids around each year. Apparently we spend about 7 days driving our kids to places and a further 4 days just sitting in the car waiting for them to leave wherever it is they’re at.

With our kids being the age they are (6, 4 and 1, going on 15), I’ve not lost the four days sitting around listening to Radio 2 just yet but it’s probably coming soon. It’s one of the reasons that we’re still a two car family, despite my commute to work being done on foot 99 days out of a hundred. As it is we’ve done a lot of out of school activities with the kids. Until recently Fifi did ballet on a Saturday morning, which was a bit of a trek. With only car it would have meant we either all went and I was dropped off with Fifi or the one of us went with her whilst the other lot mooched around at home tidying up or something equally unpopular.

The Allianz Your Cover survey showed that parents drive around 1,700 miles a year chauffeuring their kids about as well. I’m not sure how that stacks up with us since we live about 500 yards from the kids school (but quite a lot of people on the estate drive anyway for one reason or another), but I tend to drive the kids to swimming lessons every Sunday. It’s about a mile each way which in most other circumstances we’d walk but with a bag of wet swimming gear on the way back, it’s too much of a faff. I think a lot of the travel probably comes from play dates. I don’t tend to get involved in this as (thankfully) they happen mostly after school before I get home from work. I’m occasionally faced by a barrage of small children when I return from work but mostly it’s all over and done with by the time I’m home (I might occasionally make sure of that by working a bit late but all’s fair in love and war right?). We’ve got friends living in Hemel, Welwyn and Hatfield, so it is easy to rack up a few miles with play dates. In fact, my wife recently went down to Poundbury in Dorset on what might euphemistically be called an extended play date.

One of the things I do love about being in the car with the kids on these shorter journeys is the constant chatter and critique of what's on the radio. I get a stream of consciousness from Fifi that sometimes borders on the hilarious, as well as a running commentary on other peoples driving and the cars they're driving. I suppose this will be replaced with teenage surliness all too soon but I can enjoy it while it lasts :)

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