Have you ever noticed that there are many different competing personalities in the infamous and often dysfunctional school car line? I would be willing to bet that it is the same at any school not just with my little tribe of school parents. Disclaimer: I am not being holier than thou because I will reluctantly admit that I have displayed many, if not all, of these habits at one time or another. So here is my list of personality disorders in the disorderly world of school parking lots:
#1: The ‘has to be first in line everyday or so help us all’ parent.
You are always one of the first cars in line. You will wait two hours in your car playing candy crush if it means that you get to leave five minutes earlier than the rest of us less punctual parents. If kid pickup is a race, then you take the trophy for having patience and a determination that cannot be matched. Do you see what I did there? I made sure to list them first.
#2: The ‘what time does school end again?’ parent.
School has been in session for a few months now. The time that your kid gets dismissed isn’t an abstract concept but you will still fly into the parking lot up on two wheels because you lost track of time. If I ever get to be your secret Santa one day, I will buy you a new watch with a little alarm preset for when you need to leave for school. Solidarity.
#3: The rebel parent.
You are the parent that will shirk the rules no matter what they are just ’cause you can, dammit. You are the rebellious spirit that will never enter or exit by the correct routes and will ‘accidentally’ cut off a line of parents patiently waiting. May the Lord have mercy on your soul though if you try this mess with the parents in category #1.
#4: The oblivious parent.
Bless your heart, you don’t even know where you are, do you? You are the one that never moves up with the line and the car in front of you has moved into the next time zone. I see your head bowed down over the phone or a book (maybe you are a little bit of a #3 since that is against the rules, you little spitfire, you). I don’t want to be the honking mom so I instead grip the steering wheel harder and say bad things under my breath. For that, I am truly sorry. Sort of.
#5: The ‘getting out of the car’ parent.
You may also be a little bit of parent #3. Dismissal time is not the right the time to begin to clean out your trunk. It is not the time to rearrange complicated car seats or feng shui the kid clutter. It is not the time to run up the line to talk to your friend whom you haven’t seen in a whole day. You have Facebook, I know that you do, that is what it is for, just sit tight and don’t fall into parent #4 status.
#6: The ‘my baby is too precious to be dropped off with the peasants’ parent.
Your middle schooler doesn’t need or want you to walk them into the school all year. They would prefer to be booted from the car as discreetly as possible like the rest of the kids their age. Go ahead. Ask them. I’ll wait here while you do. The school discourages this behavior for a reason so just stop it.
#7: The ‘now is the time for a parent-teacher conference’ parent.
Listen, I love my kids’ teachers too. They are truly awesome human beings but a moving car line is not the time to chit-chat, catch-up with, or discuss your child’s academic future. The teacher with a walkie-talkie and a task wants to go home too. I’m sure they didn’t spend their entire college career dreaming of standing around in a hot parking lot directing traffic, wearing a fashion faux-pas safety vest, and holding a sign. The best gift that you can give them is moving along as quickly as is safe so they can end their work day (and take off that vest) as soon as possible. Make like a local beauty queen, practice your parade wave, and keep on rolling.
#8: The ‘how many kids do you have?’ parent.
Okay, this one is total jealousy on my part. You are the parent with the Kate Gosselin family-sized van. I am guessing that all of the kids aren’t yours but that instead you are involved in a sizable carpool. This year, I too, found a great carpool partner. I figured out that there are roughly 36 weeks in a school year so with splitting that with a
friend I only have to sit through car line for 18 of those weeks. If we had a larger car, I could take on more partners and therefore reduce that number even further. Yes, I’ve done the math. I had some free time sitting in car line the other day.
I think that at any given time we have all been guilty of one or more of these. I may or may not be guilty of #1,2,3,4 and 5. Whatever your car line style, you are a great parent for being there and you are a rock star for suffering along with the rest of us. So I didn’t quite make it to fifty but give me a few more weeks of sitting in car line, maybe I can fill in the rest. Happy and safe motoring.