It's only a month into the new school year and I'm stressed out by the end of most days. Getting kids up and out in the morning is a grind. Yes, we lay our clothes out, have our backpacks in the entryway, have all the clothes, equipment, notebooks and other essentials ready for their million activities. I make a healthy breakfast for each of my four kids who get up the first time I say in my sweetest voice ever, “Good morning! It's time to get up angels!”
I'M KIDDING! This never happens. It's a gong show most mornings. If there is something in their stomachs and they are wearing shoes, it's a pretty good start. The next goal is to get them to school on time with all the work they did actually in their backpacks. They fight over who sits where in the minivan and who positioned their backpack on purpose to touch the sibling's leg. As we enter the rush hour traffic, my daughter announces that she wants to be a vegetarian. I apologize to her and tell her she will have to wait until college. It's simply too inconvenient for a family of six to accommodate a vegetarian at this moment. Every one of them has some protest and the only way to quiet them is to let them stare at their phones and ignore the world around them, which includes me. Since I can't bear to be the ignored taxi driver, I usually take the verbal battles, but I'm weary as we reach the school campus.
As I pull in, I fall in line with the other moms. I tell my kids to have the best day ever and please do their best work. They look cute again and innocent as they get out of the car with their giant backpacks. They usually smile and wave. I treasure this. Then, I spy ‘cutter mom' pushing her way in and ‘trapper mom' not letting anyone exit after the drop off. The first week we all expect chaos as we try and understand the rules. But by week four, please do not drive, staring straight ahead, sipping your coffee, pretending you have no idea there is any protocol.
We can't do anything about the traffic and morning routine chaos, but we can follow simple etiquette to make things move more smoothly on campus. It helps all of our moods too. I don't want to caffeinate a bad mood!