Taking the kids to school in the morning and collecting them again in the afternoon are quite possibly two of the most harrowing events in a parent’s day. But they don’t have to be.
The gods of kid-carting have spoken, people, and they demand that we follow these 10 commandments of school drop-off and pick-up:
1. Thou shalt drive in the correct direction.
Not the opposite direction of everyone else. The correct direction. The one every other car is driving in. The clearly posted signs and brightly colored arrows are not suggestions. They are requirements. And all the parents waiting patiently to enter the fire lane, push their kids out the door, and exit the fire lane in an orderly fashion thank you for adhering to them.
2. Thou shalt not park thy car wherever thou please.
Those white lines painted on the parking lot pavement are intended to house cars between them. Don’t park on top of them. Don’t take up a space enclosed by more than two of them. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t park anywhere that doesn’t have them (I’m looking at you, dad who thinks the middle of the drive is his special spot).
3. Thou shalt not drive like an Andretti brother.
This is not the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This is a school zone, and as such, there are little people not paying attention to anything they’re doing and walking directly into traffic everywhere. It’s great that your car can go from 0 to 60 in a nanosecond, but not here, Speed Racer. Not here.
4. Thou shalt not treat the drop-off and pick-up lane as thy personal social gathering.
You may have forgotten to RSVP to Susie’s birthday party or have a really-cool-super-fun-time story to tell Braxton’s mom, but now is not the time or the place to scream out your window and halt traffic by carrying on conversations with others. Move it along, Chatty Cathy. Better yet? Facebook that shit. This is the 21st century, after all.
5. Thou shalt recognize that there is a line for dropping off and picking up.
This isn’t a free-for-all. The same rules of etiquette that apply elsewhere in society also apply here. If you see a line, for the love of God, get in it. No cutsies. We mean it.
6. Thou shalt get thy life together BEFORE dropping off or picking up thy kids.
Packing backpacks? Signing permission slips? Dispensing lunch money? Yeah, I’m not on top of that shit either. But once I’m on school property, forget about it. I’m not the only person in the world trying to send my kids to school or take them home today, and neither are you. So stop acting like it.
7. Thou shalt get off thy phone and halt thy Tweeting and Instagraming and Pinteresting and Facebooking until AFTER the deed is done.
Nobody cares about that dinner recipe you just stumbled across or what color the snot coming out of your toddler’s nose is anyway, but they especially don’t care when you should be focusing on other things. Things such as PAYING ATTENTION TO DROPPING OFF OR PICKING UP YOUR KIDS.
8. Thou shalt not form a blockade preventing other parents from entering the school or locating their children at release time.
Some parents, particularly those of younger children, have to actually go into the school to release and collect their progeny. This process runs a lot more smoothly when other parents avoid gathering into impenetrable body walls comprised of self-absorption and I-don’t-give-a-fuck-about-anyone-else-but-myself-itis.
9. Thou shalt hold the door for fellow parents if thou can.
Many parents are herding unwieldy toddlers and carrying inexplicably heavy infant seats in addition to their school-aged children and all their crap. If you can help them out by holding a door or two, please do. It’s not a contest to see who makes it out alive the fastest.
10. Thou shalt not let everyone and thy brother exit school grounds before thee.
Being polite is one thing. But waving every bus, car, motorcycle, and Radio Flyer between the school and the next town in front of you only serves to back up the already congested line even more. Treat that shit like a 4-way stop. Give one, take one, people. We’d all like to get home before tomorrow.