Moms In The Back Of The Elementary School Pickup Line: I Feel Your Pain


The elementary school pickup line.

I've never experienced this conundrum before this year. I've heard about it from word of mouth, and I've seen instagram pictures of desperate moms waiting in this so-called pickup line to pick up their urchin brats, but I've never been a part of this enigma until now.

I thought it'd be easy. Drive to school, drop off your kid, drive to school, pick up your kid. Like a grocery store run or post office drive-thru. In, out, hi, bye, love you more no love you more and then we all get on with our day.

My kid gets out of school at 3:17. The bell rings at 3:17. My kid, and every other kid in the entire premises, cannot leave the school grounds until 3:17. So imagine my surprise when I arrive at school to pick up my child at 3:12 (an entire five minutes early) and the school pickup line is 100 cars deep. 

Ok ok, fine...I get it. Lots of kids attend the school, which means lots of moms pick them up, but criminy! The line! The traffic jam! The chaos! I don't know about you, but if I were an elderly living in the neighborhood and couldn't get home to my chicken noodle soup and Judge Judy by a specified time because of these psycho pseudo "mothers," I would be calling Animal Control or something similar. Isn't this like a health risk or something?

(And don't even get me started on suggesting my children ride the bus. Elementary school buses are where mass murderers are created.)

Aright, long breath in, long breath out. Must conform to generalized society, yadda yadda blow me. So the next day, I arrive at 3:07 pm. An entire ten minutes early! Again, let me reiterate - no child is allowed out of the building until 3:17. No child left behind! Doesn't matter if your mom drives a Ford Probe or your dad is the second shift captain at the local Applebee's. Doesn't even matter if you're fabulous and gorgeous and unstoppable like myself (I KNOW)...because nope! No kids are allowed to step foot outside that amazing structure built by the lowest bidder until 3:17 pm.

And yet still.


The pickup line was halfway down the road. See, if you aren't familiar with a school pickup line, you wait your turn. There are a few coveted spots at the very front of the line which means you get in and you get out, but if don't get there in time (just wait for it) then basically your entire afternoon is sucked up waiting in the line because a few probably stepmoms with something to prove have been sitting there since the ink on the prenup has dried.

Regardless, I was bound and determined to beat the system, to show those wannabe's that I can play their game. I imagined the horrified looks on their faces when they saw me parked there first, a good twenty minutes early. Yeah bitch, take that.

Except...they were still there. The same ones, parked in the same spot. The hell?!? And then the next day, I arrived thirty minutes early and then the next, forty five minutes early! AND! STILL! THERE!

I give up. I really do. If this is the hill you want to die on ladies, then be my guest.

But before I throw in my flag, I have something to say...

Crazy lunatic psycho moms in front of me in the pickup line...I have some questions for you. Such as, are you ok? Do you need help? Are you dehydrated? Please let me help you. Where are your morals? Are you bored? Is your life so unfulfilling that you have nothing better to do than sit in your useless economic liberalmobile for hours on end waiting for your less-than-average child to descend the building? You don't get life points for that, you know. Are you cold? Does the heat not work in your home? Is that why you arrive here at this pickup line so goddamn early? Because you can blast the warm air while you sit on your lazy ass? Did you forget to pay your electric bill? Do you need to borrow twenty bucks?

I'm not done.

Do you have any friends? I mean any friends besides the pickup line hoebag in front of and directly behind you. Because we all know you conspire together, you filthy wenches. Did you never have a mother that taught you courtesy? Thoughtfulness? Does your husband hate you? Are you using this pickup line as an escape from your life? I would give you the benefit of the doubt and think you're only here three days early so you can sit in peace and silence reading your self help book...yet your snide little I-win-cause-I-was-here-first glare and stupid pathetic stick family stickers on the back on your car give you away: you're nothing more than a selfish egotistical self-seeking nobody who wants to feel important by being the first! one! in! the! pickup! line!


You win. I'll give it to you. You win, ok? You're the winner! The best! Granted, you're only the best at the elementary school pickup might want to get yourself a little plaque made with that title and then set it on the dashboard of your car so everyone knows your plight. Regardless, you win.

You've done it.

And it's ok, really. I'll be fine, I promise. Because see, unlike you, I would prefer for my butt not to conform to the shape of my heated leather seats from sitting on it for hours on end. I also, unlike you, like to feel productive during the short hours we each get every day. Which is why I spend the hour before school gets out doing productive-like things, unlike you. And I'm also teaching my kid patience and that the whole world doesn't revolve around him, and even if I'm not the first mom in the pickup line, it's ok...he knows his life will still be ok. What about your little punk? What are you teaching him? That he should expect instant gratification? That he walks out of the building every single day and there you are? First in line? That his mommy will always be there for him holding his clammy hand at every turn?

Teach your kid to wipe his own butt, geezus.

So take this as my official resignation. I'm bowing out. I quit the game. You did it girls!

Of course, don't get mad if your man stares extra hard at my pert derriere from all the walking I'll be doing down the hill to the school to pick up my child.

You did this to yourself.  


  1. HILARIOUS!!! My kids are still in daycare/preschool but I've heard of these lines.. I also thought they were merely urban legend.... crap.... they're true!!!

    1. Lol I thought that too! Urban legend they are not. More like the stuff of nightmares.

  2. Why doesn't your offspring ride the bus days?

  3. Amazing. I don't have children yet, but I've seen what you are talking about picking up my little sister! Mostly those people are driving a Subaru or Prius.

  4. I watched this same event take place at the local school in my neighborhood. I came home early last Friday to meet my father who was in town for a visit and I was SHOCKED to see the cars lined out onto the MAIN ROAD... and I thought... FUCK! When I have a kid I'm totally walking them TO school - my house is literally maybe 8 away from the damn school parking lot! There is NO WAY in hell I'm waiting in that line all day like a crazy woman - I agree, let's walk it out.

  5. There have never been more true words spoken. I was the mom that waited til after all those moms had picked up.. Rolled through in less than 2 mins top. My son's 16th birthday was the best day ever, no more pick-up!!! Love your post!!

    1. Yes. I will now be showing up 20 minutes late. My kid can learn how to deal like a big boy...unlike "those" moms...

    2. That's what I was going to say. And as a kid, my mom came late and I liked the extra time with my friends.

  6. Yes. Whenever I get off of work early enough to pick up my son from school it is a freaking mad house. There are absolutely no parking spots, I cannot find the end of the pick up line, I have to park blocks away and make a mad dash to the school while weaving between cars and other parents. It is awful. I am not sad that most days my son has to ride the bus because I am unable to get off of work early enough.

  7. I had some of these same questions too. I use up every last minute of my free time while my kids at school! I have learned if u show up about 15 minutes AFTER school has been released the line is moving smoothly and u can just drive by and pick up your kids without waiting 🙌🏼

  8. LOVE THIS!!! And it's why my kid rides the bus home every single day! I drop him off in the mornings but no way am I dealing with that mess in the afternoons ;)

  9. Okay, I have to confess. Frequently...I am the first one. Before you hate me though, let me explain. My son has horrific asthma that gets worse in the cold. On cold days, if I wait and show up 10 minutes after school lets out (instead of wasting an entire damn hour in line) then my son will almost assuredly have an asthma attack on the way home and spend the rest of the night not able to do anything.
    I was never first in line when my other kids were in school but with him, it's pretty much necessary. The school offered a private pick-up area but I don't want my son growing up to think he needs special treatment- instead he can just think its a coincidence that I'm first whenever it's cold.

    1. Ok your reasoning is totally acceptable!!! Most of my blog posts are tongue in cheek and I would never want someone like you to take that seriously. If my son had asthma and it caused a problem with him being out in the cold I would absolutely show up early also and make sure I was first in line! Trust me, this post was not about you. You have a very important reason to be one of the first and I would show up BEFORE you just to make sure you had a spot at the very front :)

      You deserve that front seat spot!! It's those OTHER know who I'm talking about ;)

  10. I'm selfish with my time lol. I show up once the line starts moving so I don't have to wait at all. My kid just enjoys a little more chat time with her friends.

  11. Are you in my brain?! these are my thoughts, exactly! WHY?! are you here so early? I leave my house 12 minutes before the bell rings. I get in line about 5 min before the bell rings and I'm at the back of the line, every time.

  12. Oh, I would that I could drive a liberalmobile...hell, I'd like to be on a wooden bicycle, given how liberal I am! Yet I can't imagine shleppin' my 6'7" hubby 'round on the handle twigs, being the hubby totin' feminist I am, -n- all...

  13. Love this!! My kids ride the bus so I don’t have any problems. But, regaurdless, I’m kinda glad I don’t have to deal with the “back to back traffic jam” in the parking lot

  14. This was my total pet peeve; one time I showed up an hour early to get Gabby for a dentist appt. and they were there lining up! I refuse to wait in the line or show up early. Time is too precious. I learned to have the kids walk off campus and meet me somewhere. Or when Thomas was little I would park in neighborhood and walk in and snag him. Or just absentmindedly be super late.

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