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Pick up wars - Positive Parenting with Anna Partridge

Pick up wars

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School pick up that is. I have just watched Channel 9’s new show, Love Comes To Town but not that sort of pick up. I mean good, old after school pick up. You know, like collecting your children at the end of the school day.

My husband picked the kids up from school the other day and came home with ‘pick up rage’ – it got me thinking. There are definitely types of school pick up mums. Distinct types. Like the mum who gets there an hour early and parks in prime position to collect their little darling. If you so dare as to cross her path, look out. Or the double parkers, no one likes a double parker who stops next to all the other cars, puts their hazards on and waits until their children dawdle through the gate. This holds up the ‘Come early to secure a park’ type. Or the mum who is visibly seen running to school every day as they have parked 3 blocks away and must not miss their child as they exit the classroom door.

Which school pick up mum are you?

Type 1. Come early to secure a park

School finishes at 3pm. From 2pm, cars park outside the school. They take the ‘prime position spot’. It is literally 3 steps to the school gate and they come and sit there every afternoon, 5 days a week, 1 hour early every day. That is 5 hours a week, 270 hours a year of sitting in a car waiting for their child. Maybe they use that time to read a book or play on their iPhone or let their baby sleep but that seems an excessive amount of time to be in a car? Most often, these are the mums that will wait until 2.50pm and then get out of their car and walk into collect their children from the classroom. They talk to the other mums and make school their community. They spend an additional 10-15 minutes in the school grounds and might even organize a playdate for the next afternoon or coffee after school drop off the next morning. It is important for this mum to be there when their child exits the classroom. A sense of security for the mum and child.

Type 2. Pull in behind the ‘come early to secure a park’ in the no stopping zone

Then there is the mum who will always pull in, right behind the ‘come early to secure a park’ mums in the no stopping zone right on 3pm. They know they are dodging the parking police, but it is worth it given they have been at work or out shopping for one whole hour more than the ‘come early to secure a park’ mum has been sitting in the car waiting. The children run to the car, jump in and leave – all within 3 and a half seconds. The mum will only get out to open the Range Rover back door to put the bag/child in.

Type 3. Always late, park three blocks away and run to school

This is half way between ‘come early to secure a park’ and ‘pull in behind the ‘come early to secure a park’ in the no stopping zone. They have the mother guilt that they must be at the classroom to collect their child. If they are not, their will be some sort of psychological damage done. Their downfall is they don’t have the risk taking nature like type 2 to pull into the no stopping zone illegally. So this mum park 3 blocks away at 2.55pm, realize they have to put money in the meter, put the ticket in the car and have to run to school to get there on time. They turn up to the classroom red-faced from running, flustered and need a rest after pick up.

Type 4. I will collect my child however I like

Then there is the mum that everyone struggles with. The mum who double parks next to the ‘come early to secure a park’ mum . She blocks the ‘pull in behind the ‘come early to secure a park in the no stopping zone’ mum. The ‘always late, park three blocks away and run to school’ mum wishes she had the guts to do it.  She has also blocked in the mum that has sat at school for a whole hour. This is where the real wars begin. This is what gets the horns tooting and the hearts racing. No one likes to be blocked in and wonders why this mum thinks that time is more precious than anyone else’s but it is clear it is. They hold up the traffic with their hazard lights flashing and know it is their right to be there. This is also the mum that will cause the accidents and I have witnessed first hand serious road rage in front of the waiting kids.

Type 5. My child is in after school care and I am oblivious to the 3pm school pick up

These are the tired looking mums who have worked all day and wondered how they were going to fit school pick up in at all. They park merrily on the empty street, pick up tired kids who haven’t done their homework, load the car and drive home thinking how they are going to get through the dinner/bed time routine.

Which one are you?

Another one that is not common to every school is the ‘mum with the name of the child in the window’. We had to do a pick up like this when we lived in America. You drove up with your child’s name on a velcro, laminated sign in the window and the teachers escorted your child to the car. You had a time period for pick up, so for my son it was 3.35pm-3.45pm and I could collect my daughter between 3.55pm-4.05pm. There was a little bit of ‘I will collect my child however I like’ happening there.

I am not going to lie. I have been all 5 of these mums. I try not to be Type 2 and prefer to drive laps around the school until there is a space, but sometimes there is no choice.

Does your school have any other school pick up mum? Which school pick up mum are you?

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