My Worst Nightmare About School Drop-Off

Mom Moment 35

A while back my fellow Stir writer Jeanne wrote a post about why she prefers the bus to school drop-off. Now, sometimes based on comments left at this site, I get the feeling that folks don't necessarily understand that we bloggers don't always share the same opinions on a given subject, so let me be perfectly clear: I disagree with Jeanne on every single point she makes. I may just have to knife-fight her in the parking lot on this one, that's how wrong she is.

See, I switched from putting my kid on the bus to driving him to school in the mornings for the exact opposite reasons she lists: driving means we can sleep in a little, I don't have to waste time at the bus stop in the pouring rain, and best of all, I can wear whatever I want because I don't have to interact with other people.

That last benefit, though, is why I have a recurring sense of dread about morning drop-off. In my worst dreams, a horrific scenario is unfolding: I have to GET OUT OF MY CAR.

I hate to be a stay-home mom cliché, but the fact is I dress like a slob first thing in the morning. When I was waiting at the bus stop, I wasn't the most stylish person standing on a busy street on a cold wet morning, but I was at least up to par with my fellow Oregonians: fitted fleece, decent jeans, Columbia jacket with the handy little drawstrings on the hood.

Now that I'm driving my second-grader to school, though, I make sure I'm presentable ... but only from the waist up. My hair is brushed, my ever-deepening under-eye bags are properly spackled with concealer, my t-shirt is free of visible stains -- and my lower half is clad in an ancient pair of capri yoga pants. My footwear of choice? Flappy rubber Crocs flip-fops.

Every weekday morning I'm getting into a relatively warm car, driving a couple miles round trip, and settling back into a morning of working in front of the computer, so I figure what's the point of putting on something more visually appealing but less comfortable? Dropping my son off is as easy as getting in a line of cars and stopping briefly at the front of the school so he can hop out of the backseat -- do I really need PANTS for that?

Of course, the fact that I typically look like someone whose morning ablutions were interrupted by a power outage means that my time is coming. I'll get a flat tire, or my son will forget his backpack and I'll have to run it into the school, or someone in the always-dicey line of cars will rear-end me, or SOMETHING. And there I'll be, exposed to everyone. Shivering in my ratty too-thin pants that always have a tuft of cat hair stuck to them somewhere, slipping around in my flip-flops, cursing my laziness and stubborn refusal to put on something with an actual waistband.

I'm sure I'll learn my lesson eventually, and as a result I'll take the time to get dressed like a civilized adult. Until then, though, it's business up top ... and party on the bottom. (Whereas "party" = "potentially humiliating," of course.)

What do you wear when you go through the school drop-off line, assuming you're not heading straight to an office afterward?

Image via Linda Sharps

elementary school


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Todd Vrancic

When we walked our kids to school, we pretty much wore jeans and pullover shirts, either t-shirts or sweatshirts depending on the weather, or sweatsuits.  Sneakers or some other casual shoes on our feet.  We wore jackets when the weather got really cold.  When we ended up sometimes driving the kids to school later on, we were still completely dressed.  See what we wore when we walked the kids to school.  I don't really care what other people wear, we are getting our kids to school, not going to a fashion show.

nonmember avatar LJB

I know that school my cousin's daughter goes there and I think is in second grade also. :) getting out does suck. esp. in texas where it's still between 90 and 100. however, having been born in eugene and raised in seattle, i'll take the heat over the rain and cold. :)

Mary Paul

I am a stay at home mom and as far as I am concerned it is no ones business what I wear.  I wear yoga pants and a t-shirt most days because that is what is comfortable.  Besides then when I dress up for my husband he really appriciates me.  I dress for myself not for others.


Michelle R Kurta Austin

I don't mind dropping my son off at school. The kids go in through the cafeteria door in the morning... Pull up, he jumps out. Now picking him up at the end of the day, totally different story! You actually have to get out of your car & go to the main door & get your kid from their teacher. While it doesn't seem like it's that big a deal... the school is on a residential street. Not much of a parking lot & they close the street down when school ends so no one can park on it. You have to get there a half hour early to find a parking spot down one of the side streets, then wait outside (heat, there's no shade, rain, snow, cold, not to mention, several parents who have no manners or respect for other people) I don't have the option of putting my son on the school bus.

One morning I dropped him off & ran out of gas in the parking lot. I had to push my minivan by myself off to the side (no one even bothered to ask if I needed help), park it & walk home. I was babysitting a 2 yr old at the time & I had to carry her because of course I did not have a stroller with me. (This kid was a tank btw.) Then I had to walk back with her in a stroller with the gas can. It was horrible!

Jessica Morris Volchok

I've found that most of the parents doing drop off at my kids' school (whether they are getting out of their car or not) are in the same type of casual/PJ clothes you describe. For myself, when I'm going to the office, I'm definitely more pulled together than on days that I work from home. On those days - it is yoga pants, a hat/ponytail como and a sweatshirt to cover up the fact that I'm probably still wearing the tank top I slept it. And - I'm not the worst-dressed person there either!

nonmember avatar Laurie

My friend just told me the other day she drops her kids off in her pjs (and she doesn't even bother to put on a bra!). Haha! To each their own. I'm proud of my yoga pants :)

LadyKiki LadyKiki

I get dressed for the day when I get up in the morning. The only thing I wear while in the car that I don't wear else where is a orange fuzzy sweater I got when I was pregnant with my son. It's really warm, not really fashion forward but on the mornings it's a bit chilly out, it works well to get him loaded in the car. I think I am wearing it in my profile picture. It's really orange.


omg i am soooooooooooooo glad i dont deal with this anymore. my youngest is in 5th grade and the bus picks up.drops off 3 houses down from me. and if i were to be at the bus stop wth her she would die of embarassment. the other two get a ride from dad in the morning and walk home in the afternoon cause the middle school is only a few blocks, and as you know rules of teenagedom, you are NEVER allowed in public with them :)

nonmember avatar Ang

I totally drop off my middle schooler in my pjs and a giant sweatshirt! However, we carpool at the grade school so I'm usually dressed, although just in jeans and a shirt, nothing spiffy.

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