After the Carpool Days End, Who Are Your Friends?

I couldn’t have made it through the infant and toddler years without the other new moms. We had weekly playdates and rare but much-needed Moms’ Nights where we put on actual clothes, drank wine and rolled our eyes as we fielded texts from our hubbies about where to find the extra stash of wipes. Those years were exhausting but we shared solidarity through our lack of sleep and desire to do everything right for our precious firstborns.

Eventually our kids went to different kindergartens and they made new friends. And so did we – with the other classroom moms and dads. During those elementary school days up through high school our kids joined ballet and soccer and flag football and basketball and a gazillion other activities.

mom and dog in car
Once carpool days end, your friend group is likely to change, too.

We spent many years with the other carpool moms

So we naturally spent the next several years shuttling them to studios, fields, and courts all over town. We became slaves to the carpool. I mean, wouldn’t you do just about anything to get out of sitting in that parking lot waiting for your kid for one glorious night?

Sure some of the carpool moms were cool. But some weren’t. And there were those you would never in a million years consider being acquaintances with. But you still swallowed your pride just to be included in the carpool.

It was a sacrifice you were willing to make for a parking lot pass here and there. Along the way, we probably lost touch with the friends we had the most in common with or the most fun with and we gravitated to the moms who were the most convenient – the ones on the class roster and the team chat. For better or worse, we needed each other to help make our kids lives better and our lives easier.

Then our kids got old enough to drive themselves

But fast-forward to the day when – hallelujah! – your kids are finally able to drive themselves around! After you stop high fiving your husband and binging everything on Netflix, you realize that your phone is much more quiet. Suddenly, those annoying group texts have stopped.

But, wait a minute…is your phone a little too quiet? A thought begins to crystallize…and you wonder….how many of your current friendships were born and maintained all these years strictly for the sake of the carpool? Do you still have anything in common with any of these women? Or is it time to face some hard truths, accept them and move on?

Now that the carpool days are behind us, who are our friends?

Look in the mirror and ask yourself, now that the carpool has ended, who is your ride or die?

Hopefully some of the carpool moms have proven to be friends worth keeping. You will continue to seek each other out for coffee dates or occasional drinks. Maybe you have even become confidants. But a lot of the carpool moms will fall off the radar now that you no longer need each other like you once did. They will reveal their true colors. And so will you.

Sometimes it will be mutual but not always. Remember this and tread carefully as you leave each other in the dust.

Whether you’re the mom who chooses to leave the group chat, or the one who gets dropped, you need to accept that your carpool “friendships” sometimes serve their purpose and then disappear. And that’s perfectly OK.

Hopefully you are still left with some good solid friendships from those carpool years. If not, it’s your time to put effort into reconnecting with those you want to ride shotgun with for this next phase. I mean, you’re finally in the driver’s seat and there’s not even a gaggle of kids sitting behind you glued to their iPhones!

So take the time to revisit old friendships that still matter and cultivate new ones. Even though the minivan door has permanently glided shut, there’s an open road ahead for us moms who have survived the carpool years. Don’t be afraid to explore and embrace it!

More Great Reading:

Why We Need to Model Healthy Friendships For Our Teens

About Allyson Acker

Allyson Acker is a veteran mom, wife, writer, wine lover and Yacht Rock addict. She lives in Arizona with her hubby, three teens and one fur baby. Check out her blog,  www.lifeaftercarpool.com, which features humor, inspiration and tips for moms who have been there and done that. You can also find her on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Read more posts by Allyson

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