The Taxi Rank of Mum and Dad

It seems to have been coincidence this week, that the hottest day of the year would see me stuck in the car ferrying my children around. I ought to install a meter and start charging



A jack of all trades

As parents, we all know our job description - chef, maid, advisor, gardener, encyclopaedia, straight talker, play fighter... and these are all tasks expected to be undertaken with a playful smile or a well-timed admonishment. For me, one of the most tedious has to be the role of taxi driver.

It's a well-known fact that parents, quite literally, become unpaid cabby's for their children. As mum to a 13 year old and an 8 year old, this is kicking in big time for me at the moment. Last week alone, my hubby and I totted up the extraordinary amount of mileage accumulating from trips to various clubs, shopping malls, scouts, brownies, cub camp and playdates. It came to a staggering 40 miles, and that's without two school runs per day!

Our car is German, but really...

Granted, last week was particularly busy - as the summer term tends to be - but even on a slow week, the average would be about 20 miles. According to the AA, the average parent drives their kids a whopping 2,000 miles annually, a round trip from London to Zurich in comparison! Not that I'd particularly want to do that trip either.

As well as the extra miles added to our cars, the fuel cost is pretty high too; an average of £340 a year - imagine the cost of sending your little cherubs off in a real taxi!

Grandparents to the rescue

Even poor old grandparents can't escape. They are more often than not the ones called upon for emergency assistance, picking up the slack with 40 or 50 miles. It's now commonplace for nans and granddads across the land to fully kit out their vehicles with car seats, wipes and boredom distracting toys.

Heat, tedium and stroppiness

As I'm typing this, the temperature outside is 35° and rising. It's the hottest July day on record since 2005; the week is set to remain swelteringly warm. After this, I have to pick up my son and then drive my daughter 6 miles to a friend's house. I can't wait...

I can picture it now: red-faced, sweaty, fed up kids - berating the heat. My son will demand we turn round and go home, my daughter demanding that we stay on the road, both expecting me to pull over and buy ludicrously expensive ice cream. I'm just visualising a large rum and coke, brimming with ice and lemon...

Two is more than enough

The answer, of course, is to car share wherever possible, but who honestly wants to fill their car with even more bored, stroppy children? I wouldn't wish mine on anybody! No, I fear as long as we are able to drive, this is our lot - we are stuck with it. Until they are at least 30.

Jayne, Working Mum and Freelance Editor

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The crèche allowed me to fully participate in the business of conference: debates, votes, speeches, lunchtime fringes and, at one point, a campaign meeting. Without it, I could not have attended at all. With the crèche, I had the best of both worlds: regular cuddles with my son grounding me in between policy debates and ministerial Q&As.
Rachel, Liberal Democrats, Conference Crèche