I feel like I should add “Dun-dun-duuuuuuuun!”
Ugh- the drop-off/pick-up line… is there anything with back-to-school more terrible and wonderful at the same time?
So great to be able to drive your kiddo to school (or pick them up) and not have to get out of your car, right? The rainy days, the busy days, the running-late days… I mean really, it saves the day sometimes.
But it also is going to FILL the Facebook Mom-Pages soon with posts and comments and opinions. Even the quiet, go-with-the-flow mom has opinions about the drop-off/pick-up line. And yes, even Kale-blending Cynthia, in her pilates pants will let you know how she feels.
For the newbie moms- it can be the utmost terrifying part of her OWN back-to-school time. Everyone knows the “new parent” when it comes to the line, amiright?
After 8 years of experience at multiple schools- I think I’ve seen it all. (every year surprises me though). I’d like to think I have some expertise to share.
So how do you navigate it? How do you keep it upheld in all its intended glory? Don’t worry- I’ve compiled a list.
- DON’T BE A JERK. I said it. I’m not kidding. I’m really not sure if there is any other advice that needs to be given. You don’t know what that mom in the mini-van with the messy bun and glasses on went through 20 minutes before getting in that line. Have patience. Have grace. (I also tell you this for your own good because she may truly be at her tipping point and I would hate for you to be on the receiving end of a tired mama-bear in a mini-van… and two tired mama-bears in mini-vans is probably one of the most terrifying things ever when they come in contact with each other).
- Follow the rules. This can go with #1. I’ll make it separate. Someone has taken time to go through the safest and most efficient ways to get our kids into a building from giant moving pieces of steel and metal. If they tell you don’t pull a u-turn, don’t do it. If they tell you that you shouldn’t travel a certain direction down a street, or you should only turn one way when leaving the lot… then do that. So driving the long way around takes a whole extra 2 minutes. Great. 2 more minutes to talk to your kid OR enjoy the quiet. DON’T be the parent that thinks the rules don’t apply to them. They do. They were actually written JUST for the parents that think rules don’t apply to them.
- Go with the flow. Seriously- just watch and take it in and note what the other cars are doing. You’ll see the veterans right away. You could probably time them like a pitstop at the NASCAR races. Pull up-unload- and green light, go!! If the other cars aren’t parking and getting out of their cars… don’t do it! If people aren’t getting out of their car to have a quick smoke break before their kid gets in… don’t do it!! (I wish I was lying when I said I haven’t seen this before… and I’m pretty sure it’s illegal on school grounds). Observe, and follow. And go with the flow.
- Don’t take anything out on the teachers or crossing guards. Are you out there doing what they’re doing? Are you going to plan on doing it? No? Ok- so don’t complain. Unless you want to get out and do what they’re doing- then you have every right to complain. If you’re sitting in the comfort of your car- keep opinions to yourself and maybe give them a smile and a wave.
- Make sure your kid is ready to get out. But if they’re not, it’s ok. They’re kids. Not machines. And if the person behinds you honks… smile, wave, and then send them this blog and ask them to refer to #1.
Seriously- back to school is crazy enough. Let’s not make it more difficult on each other by making the parent drop-off/pick-up line something more than it is. No power battles, no races, no creating new rules… just take a deep breath, take a sip of that (probably now cold) coffee, smile, and go with the flow. And then be thankful that something as crazy as the parent drop-off/pick-up line does exist.