Roadrage Rugby: Carpool Moms Duke It Out

Roadrage Rugby: Carpool Moms Duke It Out

Kaitlyn Minser swallowed her sugarfree gum, flipped down her oversized sunglasses, and stomped her foot on the gas, launching herself straight into the thick of daily afternoon battle. Maybe it was the diet tofurky meatballs back from the dead, or maybe it was just yesterday’s pilates workout reminding her to be a leaner meaner go-getter, but something was off. She had gone two minutes without blinking and thirty minutes without the brake pedal when she discovered, astonishingly, that she would not, in fact, be the first in line today.

Enter Sannvi Bhatia: 5 foot 2, 43 years old, slightly doughy, a stay-at-home mom, proud owner of a ruby-red 2010 Honda Odyssey, and impenetrable wall of willpower with only two children on her hands and plenty of time to scan both of their PowerSchool accounts for mediocrity as often as she liked. She slowly brought the hand that had been perched smugly on her hip up to her sunglasses to inch them down her nose, raise one eyebrow equally slowly, and shake her head with a look that said “You wish.” It was too much for Minser to take. She took off her own sunglasses, opened her door, and waved at Bhatia to politely ask about her Duke Tip bumper sticker. They both knew what that meant.

The fight was vicious, complete with torn sweatpants and smashed hairclips, but then, there was a lot at stake. Both suburban moms knew this moment would determine their future standing in the elaborate carpool social order. The first-place spot wasn’t big enough for both minivans, and neither mom was willing to swallow the bitter taste of defeat.

“I just said, ‘Buckle up, honey,’” Minser later recalled, “Because I am going to give you the ride of your life.” Clutching her purse like a shotgun on the way back to her car, Minser was convinced dominance had been asserted. Bhatia was not so sure.

“Lose the battle, win the war,” Bhatia remarked, “An attack on my spot is an attack on my family. I won’t forget this.” Fixing her hair to erase any sign of combat, Bhatia mentioned that she planned to double her coffee intake next week to keep her head in the game.

“But it’s not a game,” she clarified as she replaced her partially shattered sunglasses on her head. “It’s a way of life.”