What would you do about this carpool situation? (long)
I'm hoping to get your wise opinions about a problem I'm having with my daughter's carpool. She is a freshman in high school, and at the beginning of the year we were asked by the parents of another girl if we would carpool, with them taking the girls to school, and me bringing them home. My schedule is such that I am able to take my daughter to and from school, but I'm in favor of carpooling on principle, and the other family has trouble getting away from work to pick their daughter up in the afternoon. Public transportation is possible but very inconvenient (it would take them about an hour to get home this way). They go to a private school and there are only a handful of students from our immediate area who go there, so carpooling possibilities are not abundant. So, although I would have preferred a carpool where I could drive in the mornings instead of afternoons, I agreed to this because it really helps the other family out, and because I didn't really have any other carpooling options on the horizon.
A couple of months ago the other girl started doing after-school sports, so she was not getting a ride home from me on most days; her parents would pick her up later in the afternoon. They continued to drive my daughter each morning. I didn't see this as particularly unfair. In the past with other carpools, if my kids have had after-school activities, I have borne the extra driving burden, and did not expect the other parents to change our agreed-upon schedule to accommodate my kids' schedules; the other parents have felt the same. And if I'm signed up to drive in the afternoon, I'll still do it it for the other kid(s) even if, for whatever reason, I'm not picking up my own child at that time. It seems to me this is reasonable, in exchange for the security of knowing that the carpool is there for us when we need it.
But last week this girl's mother announced that since they no longer needed us in the afternoon (at least for the time being) she wanted to have us share the driving responsibilities in the mornings, and we would each pick up our own daughters after school. Well, OK. We agreed to switch off weeks. I drove every morning last week. But a couple of times the girl did not stay late at school and asked if she could ride home with me. Fine. Except always in the afternoon I end up waiting a good 10 or 15 minutes more for her than for my daughter (she says it's because her locker is on the other side of campus). This has been a minor annoyance from day one, but worth the benefit I was getting from the carpool; however, last week I found myself fighting not to be majorly irritated by it, since I had done all the morning driving as well.
So this week is the other parents' turn to drive in the AM. But this morning my daughter informed me that I was going to have to drive her to school, because the girl had called her last night, after I went to bed, and said that since they didn't have class first period (sometimes they have a kind of study hall, for which no attendance is taken, but for which they're still supposed to be on campus) she was going to sleep in, so they couldn't take my daughter at the regular time. Excuse me? OK, I'm not sure whether it's fair that I now have to drive half the time in the morning, but I AM pretty sure THIS is not fair, not what I signed up for. I'm going to call the mother today, although not first thing this morning because I really don't want to fly off the handle with her.
So I'm trying to work out how this conversation should go. It's definitely not acceptable to me that they renege at the last minute on their commitment, as they did today, and I have no problem saying that. Beyond that, I'm not sure. I'm aware that this family needs the carpool more than we do (at least when the girl doesn't have sports after school) because our schedule is more flexible than theirs. However, I don't want to be petty or to say everything has to be on my terms just because I "can." And of course, any carpooling is better than none, so it benefits me too. Is it reasonable to say that if they want to keep the carpool going I would like them to drive EVERY morning, per our original arrangement, in exchange for me committing to driving their daughter home after school when she needs it, even if that's rare nowadays? Is it reasonable to say that if they want me to drive their child she will have to figure out a way to get herself out to the car a little faster in the afternoon? I don't want to cut off my nose to spite my face, but I don't want to be taken advantage of, either.
If you're still reading, thank you! That was rather long-winded, wasn't it? In the scheme of things I know this is not such a serious matter. But the people here always give such thoughtful opinions, so I'm anxious to hear what you think. Thanks in advance.