Car Line: Time in the Car Well-Spent

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2010 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (5)

carline.jpgStory by Cynthia Darling
With spring buds on the trees and the temperatures getting warmer, spending time doing errands in the car can seem like a veritable sentence behind the wheel. No other parent chore evokes more feelings of confinement this season than car line: the task of waiting in line to drop off or pick up one’s little ones at school.
Montclair mom Sonya Moroney who often waits in line to pick up her child, admits, “Sadly, I spend most of my time in car line catching up on emails or connecting with my husband on the phone. In most cases my 2-year-old is asleep in the back, so it really is a pleasant time to just catch up. But,” she says, “I wish I could be more creative.”
Many parents use car line time to accomplish small tasks such as paying bills, making grocery lists or planning the evening’s activities. But, it seems a little bit of imagination might add some spark to this daily ritual. A writer friend describes how she turns that 30 minutes in the car line into writing gold–just enough time to complete her daily writing quota. Knitting and drawing are two other artistic pursuits easily accomplished in short spurts of time and with few materials or set up.
Another Montclair mom, Nara Callanan, sees the advantages of this time in line, stating, with a smile, “I occasionally take it as an opportunity to clean up junk in the car!” But perhaps there is another way to view this time spent waiting. Those few minutes in the car can be the only moment in the day when you are forced to do nothing.

Try not taking out the bills you have to pay. Try not checking email or reading a book. Essex County life coach Jenna Clausen advises, “Use to time to relax and listen to some music. Close your eyes and take a moment for yourself.” There are real health benefits to taking even twenty minutes out of a day for conscious relaxation. Clausen goes on to say, “My favorite suggestion is to skip the car line altogether. Since the weather is nice, park your car nearby and walk to your child’s school. Instead of spending time sitting in your car, you’ll get some exercise, plus you’ll have better quality time with your child as you walk back to the car together.”
When it comes down to it, we all have the power to develop personalized ways of spending seemingly lost time more meaningfully. Maureen, a Montclair mom who prefers to remain on a first name basis, has found her perfect car line activity. “I probably shouldn’t admit this, but my favorite way to multi-task in the carline is to tweeze my eyebrows. The mirror in the visor and the light are perfect! And that’s one less minute spent in front of the bathroom mirror at home.”
What’s your favorite way to make car line fly by?
(Photo: Flickr/jcestnik)


  1. POSTED BY Schooled  |  April 21, 2010 @ 3:11 pm

    Sincere question:
    Are the buses that we pay for really that bad? I can understand picking up in the car if you have to get to an appointment immediately after school, or if it’s bad weather and you live too close for the bus. But what is going on that so many people pick their kids up from school regularly?

  2. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  April 21, 2010 @ 3:29 pm

    I would love to use the bus, but my daughter has a severe peanut allergy and needs an Epi-pen with her at all times. The bus aides are not trained to use it. So until she can self-administer if needed, we drive her to and from school.

  3. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  April 21, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

    The little prof used to take the bus till there were problems, the first being the aide’s inability to speak English… Call me crazy to think that might be a problem…
    The other issue was that after the bus arrives at school, the aide goes into the school or out of the bus to hang out with the other aides (I know because I followed the bus and saw it)…
    We told the school and nothing changed, or they were finding out from the bus company….
    Didn’t matter, so now I drive, but park a block away and we walk to school.
    And I can’t tell you the folks I see waiting and talking on the cell and not paying any attention to their surroundings.
    (I do miss the bus though…)

  4. POSTED BY safe as houses  |  April 22, 2010 @ 5:58 am

    Car lines? Is there no place to park the car and walk over to the school and wait near the school doors for little Madison and Graydon? I never do car lines, seems like a waste of gas and very anti-social behavior. I park the car, walk (yes a foreign concept to many suburban parents), wait at the school doors and make small talk with other parents. And many of us have under 5 year old kids with us too.

  5. POSTED BY Amandala  |  April 24, 2010 @ 10:10 am

    I’d just like to remind everyone that its also illegal to sit there with your car turned on, and for good reasons.

Featured Comment

And we can get this project completed in time for Montclair's sesquicentennial when we can stick a fork into historic preservation as a public policy.

Tip, Follow, Friend, Subscribe