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Old 12-02-2011, 09:44 AM
271 posts, read 917,934 times
Reputation: 249


I have been driving a neighbor's kid to school every morning for the past 4 years. It is a 30 minute drive (one way). The kid would ocassionally be late and not be ready on time, which would cause me to have to face more traffic and possibly be late for work. In spite of this, up until now, I haven't minded so much because the kid's mom was a SAHM and I was driving in to work & dropping my own kids off in that area anyway. I felt like I was helping reduce pollution. The other kid's mom would ocassionally drive my kids in once a week on my day off. Never did they offer to pay for gas, and I never asked.

The situation has changed since the former SAHM has taken a full-time corportate job. Here's what erks me the most: she not once has offered to help drive or to pay for gas since starting her new job. I feel like I am ready to end the situation. It feels like I have been taken advantage of for 4 years, and I have had enough. The tricky part is that the kid ocassionaly plays with my kids and I don't want to cause hurt feelings, etc.

Is there any advice on how I can break the carpool without causing a rift in our "neighborly" friendship????
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:52 AM
Location: Cary NC
1,055 posts, read 1,585,573 times
Reputation: 2458
I would just call her and say casually "Hey I need your help with the morning carpool which days can you drive"?
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:00 AM
271 posts, read 917,934 times
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Thanks for your reply, pumpkin. However, I pretty much have to drive my own kids in because I work there. Additionally, I actually enjoy spending that time in the morning with my kids and having them "contained" in the car with me. Makes for a great opportunity to catch up on various topics.:-)
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:06 AM
Location: Central, NJ
2,590 posts, read 5,556,793 times
Reputation: 3821
I can't believe people can be such takers. What bothers you the most? I would look at that and decide where to go from there. Perhaps say that your financial situation has changed and that you need some contribution for gas? I can be passive aggressive so I might become unreliable - "I have to make another stop today and can't swing by" or if your child is sick cancel at the very last second. Do they do anything to thank you for doing this? You could also try asking the to babysit and make it clear that it's in exchange for the driving.

How do they get home from school and what happens when you don't go to work?
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:07 AM
Location: Cary NC
1,055 posts, read 1,585,573 times
Reputation: 2458
Yes lots of great conversations in the car. So what do you want? Is it that you do not want to drive her son anymore or you want her to help with the gas or just for her not to take advantage and show some appreciation.
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:19 AM
2,540 posts, read 5,812,349 times
Reputation: 3563
Sorry, I went to edit my last post and deleted it somehow.

It's hard to suddenly ask for gas money 4 years later. Arrangements should have been made way back then. Regardless of taking this child, you're still driving yours everyday. Sure, this mom has saved money on gas. Alot of parents who let their children ride the bus save money too. Like you, I drove my child to school because I wanted to. I don't know if this mom has taken advantage of this, just has taken it for granted you'll take him. School years fly by, and this too will come to an end.
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:25 AM
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,246 posts, read 94,081,674 times
Reputation: 40068
We humans are creatures of habit, and you have helped your neighbor form a very bad one You basically taught her how to treat you and she's doing a fine job of taking advantage!

Time to have a heart to heart with the woman.

Take some responsibility for not broaching the subject before, and then explain to her that since her financial situation has changed you would like for her to contribute to your gas costs.

If she can't see how much money you have saved her over the 4 years by driving her child and be willing to chip in now, then that would be very short-sighted. She should actually be a bit embarrassed to not have thought of this by now on her own and OFFERED to pay.
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:30 AM
1,226 posts, read 2,205,113 times
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Wow, you are really nice! Couple of questions:

-do your kids attend the same school as her child, or are you making separate stops. You mentioned "area", so its unclear.
-When you say you work there, do you work at the school?
-Is her new job in that general area as well?

My thought is that if they are all attending the same school, and you've been doing this for 4 years, they might be under the impression that you don't mind at all (which it seems you don't) and its not impossing on you. I'm not one to offer gas money, as in my circle, a few bucks would probably be insulting.
It seems you just feel underappreciated, and just want some validation. How is she as a neighbor otherwise. Maybe she did show appreciation at first, but after 4 years, you have forgotten and she feels she's expressed her gratitude already. When she was a SAHM, was she willing to help you out when you needed it... watching your kid on a teacher workday or something? My advice would be to wait for the next time you need a hand that she could help out on, and see how receptive she is.

If I was in this situation, and I felt it wasn't an imposition on you and felt you were happy to do it, I probably wouldn't be handing you $10 a week, or continually be thanking you because that would become awkward, but I would probably be sure to send you a thank you card at the end of the school year, and be willing to bend over backwards for you if you ever needed anything!
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Old 12-02-2011, 11:42 AM
271 posts, read 917,934 times
Reputation: 249
Thank you all for your thoughts and responses. Here are a few points for clarification:
Yes, I have been the guilty party as I "have created the monster". She has definitely gotten used to me doing this for her.
The kids attend 3 different schools within a one mile radius. I work in that same radius. Her job is within a 5-7 mile radius of the schools, although she travels to different job sites within that area.
Yes, I do feel underappreciated, and would love some validation.
I did not expect her to offer to pay for gas in the past because of her SAHM situation, but now that she is working she is probably making more than I make, and can afford to help with gas.
Also, I find it really off-putting when I pull up to pick her kid up before 7 am, and she is still in her pj's enjoying her coffee or sleeping in. Mind you, I don't have to be at work until 9:00, but yet I still have done the early drive for 4 years so that the kids wouldn't be late for school.
Yes, maybe I have the "martyr" syndrome or maybe I'm just a sucker, but I'm fed up with it now!
I can think of one occasion which she helped me with the kids on a day I had to work, but the kids had the day off from school.
Her husband works from home and ocassionally travels. He could also drive, but I haven't seen much initiative on either part.
Just venting......
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Old 12-02-2011, 11:59 AM
Location: State of Being
35,883 posts, read 71,312,494 times
Reputation: 22609
I would also be peeved and feeling very used. I have carpooled - no money has ever been exchanged - but we took different days . . . and I have picked up other kids in an emergency situation - even picked them up from school and kept them at my home when mom was tied up or sick, etc.

Yes, it is a little late. But this is one time when it is better late than never.

Since it is not a matter of gas, I would not even go there with a discussion.

I would just simply call up the mom, tell her - "Just needed to let you know - starting Monday, I won't be picking little xx up any more. Wanted to give you some notice."

When she says . . . "Really? Are you not working?" or whatever . . . you don't owe her any explanations at all. All you need to say is "Just need to make some changes. Glad I could help out for these past years but gonna have to make a change in routine."

If she continues to ask . . . just say "Hope you guys have a great weekend - sorry - can't really talk right now" and end of that.

Anyone who has sat back and taken advantage of the situation - without ever offering to pitch in and help with arrangements, take care of your kids in the evenings, give you a gift card to say THANKS - let's face it . . . these are not your friends. You can stay friendly and pleasant with them without bending over backwards to be their chauffeur. Being a chauffeur is not a prerequisite to being a good neighbor. That goes two ways, also, lol. How great a neighbor have they been to YOU?
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