Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Commuting Conundrum

"When I was a recruiter, we looked for drives that were no more than 25 minutes," my girlfriend shared, her tone light and supportive as she stared at my sullen face. It was our usual run to Quick Trip, where we indulged in loads of tea and swapped stories of our mornings at work. In other words, a mental health break.

That morning it took me close to 90 minutes to arrive at work. The night before it was nearly an hour before my little ones were tucked close in my arms with a welcome home hug. The next day it was 60 minutes in and another solid 48 to get home. Today was the regular 10 minutes of me complaining about it to anyone who would listen.

My commute - it's a conundrum. And I need help.

From here, it's either uproot from what's our almost dream home (that we've lived in for 9 months) to improve our quality of life, but risk removing our son from an amazing school system, friends he adores and sports teams where he feels like a star. Or it's altering an already complicated schedule, bogged down by two working parents, schools 30 mins apart and workplaces even further. Perhaps it's just changing perspective, drinking a favorite bev on the way and enjoying a podcast or catching up with friends on the phone (Bluetooth of course). Leaving a career I thrive in doesn't seem like an option, that's for sure. Maybe it's just accepting it and changing focus to how amazingly lucky I am with a healthy, growing family, a job and team I adore, the kind of mommy neighbors you only dream of and more.

But friends - I'm paralyzed. Stuck in the death spiral of the commute. In near tears from the rat race of what is 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. in our home. Loaded with guilt, not knowing what to expect, bitterness, frustration and at times, rage. I'm gaining weight, feeling in a funk, arriving to work and returning to home in a foul mood and just not myself. Over a drive. Not acceptable. I mean, my life is pretty damn good.

Except for that drive. But I digress.

So whatcha got? Advice, tips, experiences? I'll take them. Before I'm driven even more looney tunes.

PS: I get that for my big city pals, this is child's play. But KC - we're an anywhere in 15 mins or less in our SUV kinda city. :)


Anne said...

Hey mama! I feel ya...for over 8 years this has been my life. First I lived up north had to drive to a daycare 30 mins south (our choice), then turn around and drive back. Then we moved south, and almost as soon as that happened my work moved north. I was still driving way out of the way for daycare, but we loved it there. I almost switched daycares multiple times but I just could never pull the trigger, and in the end I am glad I did not. It then got worse with 1 in daycare and 1 in elementary school....I was basically doing loops around 435 daily, more when the hubs was traveling...but I just kept telling myself it will get better when they are in the same place. And boy has it....cuts 60 mins off my day at a minimum. But here was my strategy and advice to get through it all. I always tell people at work, live where you want to live, that is what is the most important. I have too many times seen people move areas for their jobs, only for job location to change and they are back where they started. Even with the crazy commutes, I LOVE where I live and that is what made me the most happy. I had to make a choice to "enjoy" my commute time as "me" time and just zone out and listen to the radio or podcasts or I use the time to call and talk to my mom, etc, to pass time. I just always had an "end" where the boys would be in the same place again at a close by school, so even if I worked farther away at least that part would be easier. I also relied on movies in the cars for the boys when I had to drive them in the mornings when daycare was far away. Not sure if this help much, but hang in there!

Abby Wood said...

this is hard. I don't have kiddos but I did used to do that drive. First from downtown to op and then after we moved and I switched jobs, it was the even worse suburban traffic into downtown. It was awful. I too complained to EVERYONE that would listen about how awful my commute was.so you are not alone in thT boat. ..but I must say that my job at the time was also terrible. So the 2 hours I spent in the car were so frustrating Bc I was thinking of all if the other things I could do with my time...hence part of the reason I left and do what I do now. As I have matured I have learned the value time and that time is the only thing you really can't buy....I know you love your job, is there an option to work home 1 day a week? Or possibly to work a flex schedule (go in Earlier and leave earlier)...I have no idea if this will help or not but wanted you to know you are not alone! But the fact that you feel like it is messing with her your quality of life might be an indicator that something needs to change. I hate to hear that you are frustrated and sad and not feeling like yourself. YOu are such an amazing person. I was always drawn to your bubbly personality, your friendliness and your overall laid back and just happy attitude. Hang in there and make a list of pros and cons and you will figure I think out. That is what I did and I have really never been happier. Love you lady!!

Meredith said...

I totally understand what you mean, time is so precious when you have two working parents and two kids. We live in South Overland Park and I work on the Plaza, and occasionally in North Kansas City. Usually I have to be at work at 6 or 630 in the morning and my commute ( even to North Kansas City!) is only 25 minutes tops. The days when I have to be at work at 8 AM is a whole different ballgame as far as commuting time - it can be excruciating some days. I find that arriving to work at 7:30 can save me at least 30 minutes on my commute as opposed to arriving at eight! I don't know if it's possible for you to change the time that you work but it is a solution that allows you to stay in the house and school that you love. Working early does mean that my husband has to do all the drop offs in the morning, but he works in town so he doesn't have to worry about commuting . We just make sure that everything is packed up and ready the night before to make it easier on him. Working extra early in the morning often means that I get to leave work before rush hour, which probably saves me at least another hour of commuting each day. There are definitely no easy solutions to this problem! Good luck mama!