It’s the start of a new school year and by now I’m sure we’ve all seen the inevitable posts from frustrated parents venting about that ONE car in the drop-off line that holds everybody up. The “get your crap together before it’s your child’s turn to exit the vehicle” posts. The “some of us actually have a job we have to get to” soap-boxes. And the “if your kid has so much stuff that you have to pop the trunk to haul it all out you’d be better off parking” commentaries. I recently saw a picture floating around the social media world sarcastically depicting when you should and should not use carpool.
And I get it. I do. I have, on numerous occasions, been the one venting about it. There’s nothing more frustrating than knowing you have exactly 4.5 minutes to navigate the carpool circuit and hit your work route before all traffic hell will break loose and cause you to arrive at work late. Seriously, 2 extra minutes in the drop off line can be the difference in arriving to work 15 minutes later (and we live close to work/school so I can imagine how these numbers could expand exponentially for you outskirters…)
But here’s the deal. This morning? I was that one car. The Mama Bus was the one holding up the line. And let me tell you something. The stress of knowing that a good chunk of the people behind me were ready to ram my car out of the way and take to the social media worlds to rant and rave about the lack of respect some parents have for other parent’s time got me so worked up that I wasn’t able to be the mama that my child deserves. And as I got back in my car (yes, I ended up having to park and haul her out…) and called Hubs to give him an earful about how frustrating drop-off was this morning, I got more and more ticked off about the judgments, accusations, and assumptions we throw at each other when, honestly, we don’t have a clue.
So I’ve compiled this handy little list of three points to consider during that “ain’t nobody got time for this” delay when you ordinarily would be working up to a good rage (assuming of course your school provides the escape lane…)
- Here’s a novel idea: DON’T PULL SO FRIGGIN CLOSE THAT YOU CAN’T PULL AROUND ONCE YOUR CHILD IS OUT. I’ve never understood why anybody feels the need to eat the bumper in front of them in drop off line. Leave yourself enough space that once your precious is out of the car, you simply pull around and head on your merry little way.
- If the car holding everybody up isn’t at the first drop off point, simply pull out of the line and claim that VIP spot yourself. There’s no rule that says the order you enter the line has to be the order the kids are dumped out. BE BOLD. Seize the openings (just watch for any stray littles as you seize, please).
- Try to remember that it’s not always an unorganized parent who waited until the last minute to sign homework folders and write lunch money checks that’s holding everybody up. This morning for me it was a new kindergartener who’s having a tough time adjusting to the big school and new faces that decided to head to the way back of the vehicle (aka: 3rd row) and refused to exit. No amount of coercing, guilting, bribery, or threats was getting that child out. She just wasn’t budging. And being her mama’s daughter, she was smart enough to move to a row where I couldn’t reach her from any vehicle openings; I literally would have had to crawl into the car to haul her out (hence the inevitable trip to the parking lot).
My point is that you don’t know what’s happening in that car that you’re cussing under your breath. Yes, it could be a parent that has nowhere to be at any particular time and is in no rush to move, but let’s get real. If they’re in the drop-off line to begin with, they’re more than likely there because they can’t afford to take the five extra minutes to park and walk their kid to the door. So if they’re not moving, 9 times out of 10 they’re more stressed out handling whatever they’re handling than you are waiting your turn.
So next time you feel the urge to go all Monster Truck on what might as well be a stalled car on the major highway through town in rush hour traffic, attempt items one and two above first, and if no luck there, try remembering item three. Because one day, it might be you trying to convince your five year old that she does indeed have to exit the vehicle.
As if Monday mornings needed a little extra excitement….
Until next time,