A mom sparked a viral debate after posting a blog on the popular UK-based parenting forum, Mumsnet, where she asked for advice in how to politely turn down a neighbor who expected her to pick up and bring back her child from school every single day.
In 2017, Guardian reported on carpooling initiatives in the country that could alleviate traffic for regular morning commuters headed to work each and every day by relying on apps like Liftshare. These types of services helped to connect drivers headed in the same direction so they could set up regular driving schedules with one another.
A user of the service interviewed in the Guardian piece states that, while reducing carbon emissions, saving money, and helping keep more cars off the road were definitely pluses, the main incentive for them to share their ride with someone was to help ease their "boredom" during their morning commute.
And while Mumsnet user @Anxious32 doesn't seem to mind occasionally bringing her neighbor's son to school, she is opposed to the idea of it becoming a regular thing.
She titled her now viral post, "How to decline giving a lift politely" and explains her predicament to the other moms. "We have moved and Son (year 4) has started a new school. We’re having work done to the house so not living there at the moment we are living about 30 minutes away temporarily. [Next door neighbor] son is also in my child’s new school in his class!"
She continued, "The mother has commented in the handful of brief 5 minutes I have met her previously how hard things are for her in terms of getting to school etc. obviously hinting but as we haven’t moved there not outwardly asked yet! My Son came back from school on Friday and said 'x said we’ll be travelling to school together.'"
The mom didn't appreciate the fact that her neighbor was treating free transportation for her child to school on @Anxious32's behalf as a foregone conclusion, either. "I know where all this is leading and will result in me having to provide her with free transport 'just because I’m going there too.'"
It seems like she was most worried about being placed in a situation where she feels as if she can't say no to her neighbor, and it appears this fear is rooted in past experiences.
"Just for context I’m very softly spoken and can be a door mat. Also this is [real life] so I cannot do the usual mumsnet line of 'No is a complete sentence'. I have to keep things civil as we will be NDN plus see each other at school."
"How can I politely say I don’t want to?" she asks her fellow mums. "My mum who enables my doormat behaviour thinks I should 'help the poor lady out'. In the past situations like that have results in so much inconvenience for me such as not being able to spontaneously just go for ice-cream after school or pop to a friend's house. It’s also annoying having to be on same-time each bloody time."
Mumsnet users were divided on the issue. There were some who couldn't understand why she wouldn't at least take her neighbor's son to school when she leaves in the morning and work out an arrangement where her neighbor brought the kids home.
Others said to create or bring up a post-school events she might have to tend to afterwards, which would make bringing the neighbor home difficult some days. While some told her to flat-out say "no," others suggested a more delicate, like setting up a schedule for one or a couple of days a week where she could handle transportation duties.
What do you think? Should OP be more considerate of her neighbor's needs? Or do you think that the neighbor in question is a bit presumptuous in just assuming that someone would be in charge of their kid, so much so that they're even mentioning it to their child before bringing it up to OP?