Mornings always are a little hectic at my house.
Part of it is my fault. I usually hit the snooze button a few times too many, and I spend more time than I should in the shower. So almost every day, it's a mad rush for me to get ready for work.
But I also have two kids: 9-year-old Josh and 3-year-old Kate.
Parents, I don't need to tell you how stressful it can be to repeatedly tell one child to brush his teeth and to not forget to put his library books in his backpack while begging and pleading with the other to please — please — put on pants.
Oh, and I still have to get dressed, too.
(And my husband, who leaves for work about the time the rest of us are getting up, sometimes wonders why Kate's hair looks like it hasn't been combed in a couple of days. It's because it hasn't. But she's wearing pants, isn't she?)
Somehow, we manage to get out the door with all the bags, hats, gloves, extra sweatshirts, lunches, cell phones, iPods and everything else we think we need for the day. But I can't do a victory dance just yet. I still have to navigate the school drop-off line.
Now, for the most part, the daily drop-off goes relatively smoothly — amazingly so, considering there are more than 600 kids at my son's school. (I know some kids are bused and some kids walk, so not everyone is getting dropped off, but still — that's a lot of kids.)
I mean, it's not rocket science. Pull forward, stop to let your kid get out of the car, move ahead and leave the parking lot. Easy, right?
If only that were true. Unfortunately, there are just always people who believe they're above the system. There are always people who aren't following the major drop-off line rules.
Pull forward. I'm not sure why some parents stop immediately after entering the parking lot to let their kids out. Instead of joining their classmates on the playground at the top of the drop-off circle (and by the doors the kids use to enter the school in the morning), they walk through the front door of the school instead. Why? I'm not really sure. My son never has to stop in the office before school.
But I don't really care if kids go to the office before school. What I do care about is the line of cars waiting on the street to turn into the parking lot — the line of cars that's also holding up traffic that's not pulling into the school — all because someone wouldn't pull forward.
Don't get out of your car. Your child doesn't need a hug. Really, he doesn't. Nor does he need help getting his backpack out of the car. Trust me, he can handle it.
And by all means, do not abandon your car. If you have to walk your child into the building, park in the parking lot. That's what it's for. The rest of us shouldn't have to drive around your car sitting idle in the drop-off lane.
Keep moving. The drop-off lane is not the place to have lengthy conversations with your kid. Say your goodbyes in the car — not while your kid is lingering on the sidewalk.
See, it shouldn't be so complicated. But then again, neither should getting my daughter to wear pants.
But just as I hold out hope that someday I won't have to yell at Josh to brush his teeth in the mornings, I believe that we can do it. We can make the school drop-off line stress-free.