I dread morning school drop off.

Well, dread is not the right word. I walk my 7-year-old girls to school and that part I love. We chat. They still like to hold my hand.

I also love aspects of the morning routine like French braiding their hair and watching them slip on their oversized backpacks -- the cartoonish proportions help me pretend my girls aren't growing up as fast as they are.

The part I don't like is that no matter how early I get up, I can't seem to get myself in presentable shape for the school run.

The initial euphoria I feel from getting them out of the house on time (when it happens) inevitably turns into a sinking-gut-kind-of-shame as we turn the corner to school and I become acutely aware of the fact that I'm in my yoga pants yet again and my hair is crazy.

There is really no excuse. Plenty of other parents manage to shower, put on a bit of makeup if they want, pick an outfit that makes them feel good and just generally look and feel ready to face their day.

Of course, no one says anything to me. I see my friends. We're all rushing to our next stop. I'm not even sure anyone notices.

I asked a mommy friend how she manages to get herself and her 3 kids ready and the answer wasn't that she wakes up at 5 AM.

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Her kids have a checklist, she says. They get themselves dressed, fed, washed and ready. While they do that, she can do her own morning routine. Coffee. shower, and the like. Her major piece of advice? "No yoga pants. Ever."

Point taken. Clearly, I need to start a checklist and get my kids on board. But I have to wonder, why do I present this version of myself to my peers when I spend the rest of my day in such an entirely differnet mode?

Here's what I've come up with:

I think the way I feel (and look) at drop off is kind of a metaphor for my parenting -- and something that I realize I want to change.

I throw myself into making things as great as possible for my kids -- French braids! -- but, like many moms, I think, I don't pay enough attention to taking care of myself in big ways and small. From taking the extra time to select an outfit that makes me feel good to something deeper.

It's amazing that all of these thoughts converge at morning drop off which lasts all of 5 minutes. But as the first day of school approaches, I'm hoping that I can start the year off with a new regimen in place.

Is there anything you'd like to change about your morning drop off routine?

 

Image via D Sharon Pruitt/Flickr