1. Please NEVER, ever drive your kids to school dressed only in your PJ's. It's simply a bad idea. One you will regret. Forever. You will swear that nobody will ever see you and that it doesn't matter that you didn't take the time to put on a bra or that no one will notice that you are wearing your husband's sweat pants. Do not believe the lie. This is simply not a good idea. You will arrive to school and upon opening the back tailgate of the vehicle will hear screeching and screaming as your kids' book bags, lunch boxes and water bottles fall out. They will thud unto the asphalt. The avalanche will nearly take out your five-year-old. Your kids will yell for help. Your help. But you will look down and remember you are dressed like a homeless person and so you will pretend you don't hear them. Like the star mother you are, you will crouch down in the front seat on the Denali praying back-up help will arrive (which it won't), as the carpool line backs up behind you. You will then feel like crying as you look in the rear view mirror as a dozen basketballs and loads of coloring books (that you meant to bring inside last night), birthday wrapping paper (emergency roll), two potty seats (on their way to Consignment) and a slew of talking Transformers (now the kids know that THOSE are heading to consignment) also fall to the street. You will realize you have no choice. You will have to get out of the car. The whole world will see your pathetic PJ's (way to go Jo!). Parents will start to (nicely?) honk as you hold up the carpool line. When in doubt next time, please at least just throw on a pair of workout leggings and a sports bra. Trust me. This memory is now worse than the day your Mom allowed you to wear your Dad's tie to middle school with a buttoned down shirt (while telling you what a wonderful trend-setter you were. God bless my Mom's heart...) Please change out of your PJ's next time.
2. If you are going to drive your kids to school dressed like a homeless person, NEVER stay in the regular drop-off line. Get off the beaten path and be incognito. Park as far away from the school as you can and make the kids walk. This is not cruel. It is called wardrobe survival. Because if you don't, you'll end up in front of that cute Mom of two, who is dressed for the gym, with gorgeous blonde highlights and a sparkly clean car. It will be inevitable that she is the one who pulls up in the drop-off line behind you and witnesses what a hot mess you really are (when you sometimes hope to fake it in front of her, at least every once in a while). To the Mama reading this, you know who you are, and yes, I still love you and your manicured hands!
3. After you drop the kids off at school, NEVER allow your just-turned-two-year-old to sit just "ONE TIME" in her big brother's booster seat "for the fun of it" as you run errands. This spontaneity will sound like a great idea at the time, until you look back in the rear view mirror to see her sliding horizontally, all tangled up in the seat belt. Because she is three rows back (also NOT a good idea) you will attempt to reach her but will feel miles away. She will wait until you merge unto a major highway to quickly learn how to unbuckle herself. You will panic and politely ask her to sit down still. She will scream back a lovely "NO!". You will pull off into the nearest WaWa parking lot to save her life. Getting her strapped back into the regular car seat will NOT be as fun as it was putting her in the booster and she will scream and flail like she is being locked up as you patiently try to explain that this is HER seat and the booster was just for one time, to which she has no idea what you are saying (because for crying out loud she is only 2!) and becomes even more irate. Just because she's your fourth kid, doesn't mean you have lost your mind (even though it feels like it most days). Get control of yourself Mama. Never again let her sit in the booster until she's ready for the booster seat. Nough said.
4. For the love of mothering ....NEVER EVER pull into your home driveway after school, look at the pile of junk sitting next to you in the passenger seat that has accumulated throughout the day and think, "I'll clean this up tomorrow." Tomorrow will come in the blink of an eye and the stash will take on a life of its own. Please take the time, right there, to clean your car out. If you need a reminder why to follow this rule, please reread number one. Right now.
5. NEVER think it's silly to take the time to teach your kids, especially your second child, WHY and HOW to use the new family trash can (I know, yes I'm type A and this might sound extreme but girls, some car changes MUST be made around here). Today, as you are cleaning all the crap out of the back of the car (to avoid this morning's debacle of ever happening again) you will find the following "treasures" tucked away, back by said child's corner of the vehicle; a wad of chewed chewing gum, a half-eaten yogurt with dried up granola (enter gag reflex here), a rock hard string cheese, an assortment of small rocks (obviously gathered, aka "stolen", from various parking lots around the tri-county area) and finally, four perfectly sculpted swans made from tin-foil courtesy of school lunches (am I a bad Mom if I throw these away? Because they were actually quite good. And what if one day she becomes a famous artist and this was the evidence of the beginning? Don't worry. I took a picture and then in the trash bin they went!).
6. NEVER, ever assume dropping off the kids at school will go smoothly. Someone will spill their water bottle. Someone else will complain that you forgot to sign their Tuesday folder and will shove 47 unsigned papers in you face as they exit the car, while another will peak inside of their lunch bag to learn they don't have roast beef on their sandwich but instead dreaded "disgusting" turkey (hence the new "fun" rule that I made up this morning that we do not, under any circumstances check-out the contents of our lunches before lunchtime in the cafeteria. Isn't it fun to be surprised anyway?) Everyone will arrive singing and laughing as we pull into the school parking lot, but as they open the door, it never fails that one child will trip or fall or get knocked on the head by the door and end up crying. Someone will say "unkind" words to someone else. Hair ties will come undone. Shoe laces untied and you'll realize that one kid escaped the house without matching shoes. Never think morning drop-off will be easy and then you won't be disappointed. Just prepare for the worst. Give up all hope of a seamless drop-off and you'll be much happier.
7. NEVER take for granted the gift of having a live-in morning school chauffeur (aka-your husband). Thank God in heaven that your dear husband drives the kiddos to school everyday. And after you've thanked him once? Thank him again. Because after driving the crew to school just one morning this week, you will realize what a good man you married (and also remind him just how lucky he is that he never has to remember to put on a bra...)