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A Busy Mom’s Guide to School Drop-Off

October 27, 2011 18 comments

Necessary Tools:

  • Armored Car
  • Sling Shot
  • Bull-Horn
  • Ear Muffs
  • Defensive Offensive Driving Handbook
  • “I Brake for Crossing Guards” bumper sticker

When preparing for battle, one must have the necessary tools and a solid strategy.  Elementary school drop-off is no less than war.  The meek do not survive (or their kids are late).  Here’s what you need to know:

  • Know Your Allies – Some inexperienced soldiers think that the crossing guard is the enemy, since she can bring a group of over-caffeinated, sleep-deprived, stressed out parents to a grinding halt with her long-range stop sign.  Wrong people!  She keeps our kids safe at frequent risk to herself!  Make friends with her, smile and wave every morning, give her extra space and give her an eye contact check before proceeding.  The next thing you know, she will let you slide by, before she allows the 5 minute parade of scooters, bikes and strollers. 
  • Know Your Enemies – They are any parent who thinks their kid is more important than yours or that where they are headed next trumps your next destination.  They park to close to the right hand turn into school, blocking traffic and requiring you to make crazy swerving maneuvers to get around them.  Another enemy is anyone who disregards the crossing guard – shoot them dirty looks.  If possible, use a bull horn to shame them publicly.  In dire circumstances (or with the repeat offenders) do not be afraid to sling shot your cold Starbucks at their car***.  Hey, your coffee wouldn’t be cold, if they followed the program.
  • Practice Offensive Driving – I use my large SUV (or armored car as I call it from 7:40 – 7:55 am) as a child safety device.  I purposely drive 25 mph (the speed limit in a school zone!!) to slow down the other speed demons who are a danger to the kids.  If they tail gate me, I slow down to 23 mph.  It’s “offensive” driving because I find their disregard for children’s safety offensive.
  • Set The Example – My elementary school actually has quite a well-thought out drop-off plan that works when people respect it.  Set the example, work with the program, not against us.  Drop your kid and keep moving, don’t stop to chat while taking space for another little pumpkin trying to get out of the car safely.  Take notice that the darling children who open your car door to let your kids out say ‘have a nice day’ every. single. time.  Thank them!  And tell those sweets kids to have a nice day too!
  • Have a Back-Up Plan – There are days… oh there are days… when the enemy pushes you too far.  What you normally refer to as ‘silly drivers’ in front of your children starts to sound more like an Ice-T album.  Just use the ear muffs!  Don’t let your child hear you lose it!  If you forget the ear muffs, crank your radio and try to swear under your breath.
  • Believe in Karma – I believe in karma and know that karma hangs out with the sheriff and CHP.  One of those three musketeers will catch up with the insane drivers.

In a  delightful twist of demon driving fate, I just opened the following email from our principal:

Please remember to be courteous to students, parents, and staff when picking up your children. It is inevitable that you will have to sit in traffic during drop off or pick up. We ask for your kindness and patience during these times.”

I love our principal, she is a charming lady who carries herself with class and tact.  Her message is perfect and reminds me why I am not the principal, because I would have sent the following:

“It is freaking alarming that some parents show such a blatant disregard for the safety of others.  To those parents that think their time is more valuable than others, think again.  If you have a legitimate time constraint, arrive at school earlier!  Remember, the person you cut off today may turn out to be the one hosting your child for a playdate tomorrow or teaching your child to read in class while you’re causing mayhem on the road!

***Because the world is a ridiculously litigious place, I must inform you that this post is for entertainment purposes only.  I do not encourage or condone any acts of violence or vandalism towards another motorist, even the stupid and selfish ones.  Follow the law!  Especially the one that tells you to drive 25 mph in a school zone and obey all traffic rules!