Hijacked: Who's Holding Up the Carpool Line?
Our carpool lines are being hijacked! Here are the top four offenders
Photo courtesy of Neirfy/Shutterstock.com
It should be so simple. A steady stream of cars makes its way through the carpool line. Smiling teachers, poised at their evenly spaced stations, stand ready to open the door and help your children out of the car and onto the curb. You drop your kids off and drive away. It's convenient, easy and pleasant.
So why in the world are we stopping and stalling in the carpool line? Why are the teachers hollering and waving people forward like they're bringing a plane down a runway?
Our carpool lines are being hijacked! Here are the top four offenders.
The Hover Mom
We love her and, boy, does she love those kids. When she's not completely abandoning her car to carry them to the front door, she has them lined up against the car for the inquisition: "Do you have your note? I gave you your note. You need your note because you have a doctor's appointment. Let me see the note. OK, good, you have the note."
She repeatedly tucks in shirts and tightens ponytails. Billy's shoulders are pulled down so far his book bag won't stay up on his back. And little Suzie can't see out of her right eye because her ponytail is pulled so tight.
Then Mom gets back in her car, but leaves the back door open so she can yell, "I love you!" from the front seat the entire time the kids walk to the door. "I love you! I love you! I'll pick you up for your doc . . . " (SLAM!)
The Multitasking Mom
She pulls into the carpool line — and she sure is busy. She's checking her email on her phone so she doesn't notice when the line moves. The delay gets worse when she starts typing a reply. We figured her out a long time ago. The moment she puts on reading glasses, go ahead and pull around her.
This mom has her iPad and her Bluetooth. Sometimes she wears jeans — if she works from home, or her car. She's like NASA on wheels. High-tech and clearly in the fast lane. But ironically, she brings the carpool lane to a full stop.
When the kids jump out of the car, sometimes she's talking into her Bluetooth — and they think she's talking to them.
"I can't make it today, but I'll call you tomorrow," she says. They all turn around in horror.
The Social Mom
This mom doesn't need Bluetooth or a phone. Everybody she wants to talk to is right here in the carpool line. She pulls in, rolls down her window — or gets out of the car — and starts chatting, as if she has driven right into a cocktail party. She waves at the moms, flags down her friends, and just keeps talking until they're out of earshot. Kids, too. She lines up three play dates before she hits the first speed bump.
The drop-off area is like her very own receiving line, where she slows to briefly chat with each teacher about everything from her children's grades to reading levels. She practically has a parent-teacher conference right there in line.
If she hasn't finished socializing, she just drops off the kids and loops around again to make sure she gets volunteers for the fall festival ... and a lunch date.
The Never-ready Mom
A lot has to happen before this mom gets to the drop-off point. She signs permission slips, packs book bags and feeds the kids breakfast, all in about three-and-half minutes. If she's careful, she can write checks for teacher gifts at stoplights.
Meanwhile, the kids get dressed and let her know when they're ready for their hash browns. She's almost got it down. First she hands back the biscuit, then the hash browns, and at the drop-off point she tosses the OJ to go.
Unfortunately, when the kids race out of the car, their breakfast napkins and paper plates fall out. It's annoying if you're behind her, but very entertaining when she has to ask the teachers to kindly throw her trash back to her, as she can't get out to pick it up because she didn't have time to change out of her pajama pants.
Tracy Curtis is a mother of two young boys and lives in Charlotte. She enjoyed a 15-year career in radio, television and film, and currently writes a weekly humor column for the Charlotte Observer.