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The Drop-Off Line Is The Absolute Worst Part Of School

It is a total circus, and I’m not ready for it again.

Ariela Basson/Scary Mommy; Getty Images, Shutterstock
2023 Back To School Issue

There are a few things I really look forward to as summer winds down and the school year ramps back up. Predictable schedules and kid-free mornings bring a welcomed shift in lifestyle and stress level after my kid-centered, fun-filled summer. The transition also comes with some dread, though: packing lunches, managing homework, and keeping the school event calendar for starters. But the most dreaded — the thing I look forward to the least about the back-to-school transition — is the place where all adult sanity goes to die. Drum roll, please…

The school drop-off line.

Like the kids say, IYKYK (if you know, you know). And if you don't know, I'm here to tell you: It's a circus.

First of all, parents start lining up their cars for this thing long before the doors open. I am talking about Taylor Swift Eras Tour merch table kinda arrival times. And for what? There is certainly no award for being first in the building, and you still end up waiting, trapped in your car with your (likely tired and not super happy) child until a teacher waves the "OK" for kids to come in. I will never understand it. I mostly swoop in at the last seconds and avoid all the rush and hoopla. My kid is still on time.

And let's talk about the general refusal by so many drivers to follow the drop-off rules. Rules that are repeated in open houses and over emails and in letters sent home. It's not fine print — in fact, most of it is just general logic and courtesy — but somehow, it doesn't get through.

I watch as people who definitely otherwise follow the general rules of the road throw caution and manners to the wind as they cut people off and double park in a furious and frustrated rush to ensure their kids' timely school arrival. I personally would prefer a tardy over a dented bumper, but maybe that's just me.

Everyone seemingly juggles a few things at once, one hand on the steering wheel, the other clutching their phone — pedal to the metal as if they are all on-call heart surgeons racing to the hospital for an emergent procedure. Like drop-off is just another thing in the way of their personal productivity.

And I get it. People who completely disregard the rules annoy me too! I am an accountability junkie and I, too, want them to pay. But wow, some people get overly triggered by this whole scenario.

Windows are rolled down, and yelling ensues. I have even seen parents get out of their cars and approach others, waving their fingers in disapproval as drivers leisurely chat with their kids before their exit.

If you are daring enough to hop out with your kid after being told not to, you better be prepared for some in-the-moment backlash. And you might want to check social media later, because hell hath no fury like a Facebook commenter who waited too long in the pickup line! #dropoffdummy

And while I would like to make the plea that we all follow the rules and act like rational adults this year in the drop-off line, I know it ain't happenin'. Because, God, parenting is hard and mornings are chaotic.

Making breakfast, tying shoes, signing and packing permission slips, buckling seat belts, and enduring the car-ride sibling bickering — I guess it's a wonder any of us survive the drop-off without a complete mental breakdown. Maybe flipping off your child's classmate's grandma in the school circle is a healthy-ish way of blowing off a little steam during this crazy phase of life. Just know, you might get called out in the Facebook group.

Samm is an ex-lawyer and mom of four who swears a lot. Find her on Instagram @sammbdavidson.