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11 Things Moms Can't Help But Do in the School Pickup Line

Photograph by Twenty20

We’re only a few weeks into the new school year, but there are certain things that get old fast: making school lunches every freaking day, the endless emails and phone call updates from the principal, the PTA, the teachers and—worst of all—the ceaseless waiting in the school pickup line.

If you’re new to the school experience, trust me. If you haven’t already, you’ll have done all of these in the pickup line before winter break.

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1. Play “Identify the mystery object” when you drop your cell phone under the seat.

Is it a melted crayon, is it a withered fruit snack, is it—gasp!—dog poop from the bottom of someone’s shoe?! Every day brings a new mystery in the school pick up line.

2. Post 27 updates on Facebook.

Most of these will be memes about parenting, but you’ll look for the silver lining and post the inspirational ones, too. Patience is a virtue. Post enough memes about it and you might actually believe the school pick up line is teaching you something meaningful.

3. Spill coffee on yourself.

The interminable wait in the school pick up line means you will stop at Starbucks (or Panera) and get yourself a coffee. And maybe a muffin. You deserve it! And while you are juggling your coffee, your muffin and your cell phone, you will spill your coffee. Stock up on baby wipes.

4. Perfect your selfie game.

You will never look more beautiful than you do sitting in the school pick up line with the sunlight streaming through the windshield, making your skin glow and your hair appear glossy and newly highlighted. You are radiant! Take that selfie! (Hints: unfasten your seatbelt and crop the picture in tight so no one knows you took it while sitting in your car.)

5. Pretend you don’t see the PTA president waving from the car behind you.

Adjust your mirrors, pretend you’re on the phone and resist the urge to wave back. If you wave back, congratulations, you are the future president of the PTA, following your stints on 19 committees and tours of duty as the treasurer and vice president.

6. Take three months to read a book.

This isn’t such a bad thing—always having a book with you in the school pick up line means you’ll actually read a few books this year, even if it’s in five- to 10-page increments. (Hint: You’ll read a lot more pages if you ignore Facebook.)

7. Clean out your purse.

You will do this at least twice a school year, if not more. Guaranteed.

8. Make uninterrupted phone calls.

The school pick up line is just about the only time I can make an uninterrupted phone call. It feels almost decadent to be able to talk to the receptionist at the doctor’s office without being interrupted five times to pour juice or turn on "RescueBots."

9. Strategically plot your arrival.

You don’t want to be the first car in the pickup line—at least not too often. It just looks sad. But you don’t want to arrive so late that you’re at the end of the line, either. You will find the sweet spot of arrival time within the first month of school and you will cling to it like a sacred ritual.

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10. Find your next car.

The school pickup line is great for checking out the pros and cons of other automobiles. You’ll know exactly what you want when it’s time to trade in your Momobile next year because you’ll have had months to study your choices.

11. Discover a new appreciation for your own kids.

There’s nothing like watching other people’s children leave school after a long day to make you love and appreciate your own kids a little bit more.

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