Who's Holding Up the Carpool Line? Here Are the Top 4 Offenders

Our carpool lines are being hijacked! Following are the top four offenders.
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It should be a simple thing. A steady stream of cars makes its way through the carpool line. It’s supposed to be convenient, easy and pleasant. Smiling teachers, poised at their evenly spaced stations, ready to open the door and help your children out of the car and onto the curb. You drop your kids, you drive away. 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! Following are the top four offenders.

1. 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."

Not to mention she’s repeatedly tucking in shirts and tightening ponytails. Billy’s shoulders are pulled down so tight 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 backdoor open so she can yell "I love you!" from the front seat the whole time they’re walking to the door.

"I love you! I love you! I’ll pick you up for your doc …" (SLAM!)

2. The Multitask Mom

She pulls into the carpool line, and she sure is busy. She’s checking email on her phone, so she doesn’t notice when the line moves. It gets worse when she starts typing a reply. We figured her out a long time ago – when she puts on her reading glasses, just go ahead and pull around her.

She’s got her iPad and her Bluetooth. She wears jeans, so presumably she works from home – more specifically, from her car. She’s like NASA on wheels: high-tech and clearly in the fast lane. But ironically, she’s bringing the carpool lane to a full stop.

The best is when the kids jump out while 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.

And they all turn around in horror.

3. The Social Mom

This mom doesn’t need a Bluetooth or even a phone. Everybody she wants to talk to is right here in the carpool line.

She pulls in, rolls down her window, and it’s like she has just driven 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’ll line up three play dates before she even gets to 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 the line.

If she doesn’t finish her socializing, she just drops her kids and then loops around again. This way she can get volunteers for the fall festival … and a lunch date.

4. The Never-ready Mom

A lot has to happen before she gets to the drop-off.

She has to sign permission slips, pack book bags and feed kids breakfast, all in about three and half minutes. If she doesn’t accelerate and just rolls the whole way, she can probably write checks for teacher gifts.

Meanwhile, the kids get dressed and let her know when they’re ready for hash browns. They’ve almost got it down – hand back the biscuit first, then the hash browns, and at the drop-off, toss them their OJ to go.

Where it always goes wrong is when the kids race out of the car and all their trash falls out. It’s annoying if you’re behind this mom, but very entertaining when she has to ask the teachers to kindly throw her trash back to her; she can’t get out to pick it up because she didn’t have time to put on 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.

Carpool Quiz: Which Offender Are You?

In the morning, what are you busiest doing?
a.  Charging your Bluetooth.
b.  Making a list of questions about the Gifted and Talented program.
c.  Matching hair bows to your daughter’s socks.
d.  Looking for pajama bottoms.

When you are in the carpool line, what are you most likely doing?
a.  Crafting a memo to your boss.
b.  Recounting your tennis match with a girlfriend.
c.  Double-knotting your child’s shoelaces.
d.  Wishing you had on pants.

Who is the last person you speak to in the carpool line?
a.  Your boss.
b.  A friend.
c.  Your child.
d.  Nobody, because you don’t have on pants.

Which of these would you say you have successfully mastered in the carpool line?
a.  Giving a Power Point presentation via Skype.
b.  Organizing a surprise birthday luncheon for a girlfriend.
c.  Braiding hair.
d.  Finding enough napkins in the glove compartment to hide your naked thighs.

What would be your proudest achievement during a carpool drop-off?
a.  You got a raise.
b.  You talked a teacher into giving your child a better grade.
c.  Your child told you she loves you more than daddy.
d.  Nobody knew that you didn’t have on pants.

If you answered one of these letters three or more times, you have your answer!
a:  Multitask Mom
b:  Social Mom
c:  Hover Mom
d:  Never-ready Mom