A bit of background: my kids are 15 and 12. This is their first year in public school, and MY LORD it starts so early. I want to cry every single morning. We’ve been homeschooling for four years, getting up whenever we damn well feel like it, and all of the sudden, for the past three weeks, I have been waking up WITH MY HUSBAND, WHILE IT IS STILL DARK, to make breakfast and pack lunches and iron shirts, and it sucks bad.
Hot Robin Hood lies
I am in no way used to this yet. Humans are not meant to be up this early. Every single day I get full-on hungry for lunch by 10am. I was used to eating breakfast at 10am! For the first week of school, I was so exhausted that I went to bed at 8pm. Didn’t have time to watch a single episode of Succession. The sun was still out, and so was I. Out. Like a light. Even now, three weeks later, most nights I can’t make it until 9:30. This entire thing is nonsense.
Anyway, now that I have been keeping farmer hours for three weeks, I have learned a few things about how to make the process feel better instead of wildly depressing. One thing that always perks a mom up: feeling herself. Looking nice is universally regarded as a way to lift your spirits. A bomb-ass mom can conquer the world.
And she can conquer the carpool line. Here’s how.
Before anyone murders me, or you click away, know this: I am NOT telling you to get up at an even earlier hour and present yourself to your husband and children in a full face of make up and heels. No ma’am. This is a guide about feeling good in a terrible situation. About feeling yourself when you’d like to just be back in bed. We are going to Holly Golightly your morning. We are going to take a lesson from the good people who work at home and attend meetings only on Skype: WAIST UP THIS BITCH.
I have dropped my kids off for school in every conceivable level of dressed/undressed. There have been days when I’ve gone to meetings directly after drop-off, so I was dressed top to toe. There have been days where the only meeting I had after dropping them off was with my empty bed so I didn’t have pants on. There have been days where I’ve been in a sports bra because I deluded myself into thinking I was going to go running. There have been more days than I care to admit where there has been no bra at all. I’m here to tell you that no matter what you feel like wearing or not wearing: you can conquer the way you FEEL in the carpool line.
I have short hair. I wake up with wild, sweaty cowlicks and side horns. It is not hair for the masses. It’s not even hair for the bus stop. What do you do with your hair when it’s almost all anyone will see of you from the car window? BIG IT OUT. Throw some dry shampoo on it to soak up your night sweat, fluff it out and do a quick style: headband, top knot, bun, or if you’re like me with no hair to throw up … bobby pin. Boof, blow, bandana. It doesn’t have to be clean. It just has to be contained. And if you’re lucky enough to look good in amazing hats? This is your show.
Hair taken care of in thirty seconds or less, now it’s time to move on to your face. If you’re like me, you are still shiny from the 17 creams and serums you wore overnight. Wash. Then put on a light layer of sunscreen because you will be blinded by the rising sun as soon as you hit the main thoroughfare. And if you have to wait in an eastern-facing line to drop off? You will age a decade before homecoming.
But do not worry about makeup. No ma’am. Get your best, most glamorous, largest sunglasses. No mascara necessary. And if you wore your make-up to bed last night? Same process. You’re good either way. I love these cat eye sunnies.
I’m talking Jen Hatmaker earrings (she doesn’t go anywhere without a leather feather). Big and bold, moms. Dangle to your clavicle. Why? Because even if your hair looks bad and under those sunnies, you have Alice Cooper eyes, you will look put together. You will look ready for the day. You will look hot. You have on a “complete outfit.” You have put on earrings FFS. No one does that unless they dressed themselves.
You need something to hide that you didn’t put a bra on. You need something to make your Old Navy pajama shirt look like an on-purpose blouse. Also you need something warm because even in August, 6am is cold. Throw a big blazer over whatever, and you are fully dressed from the waist up. Even if the only thing under that blazer is a bralette.
Not an accessory, but necessary all the same.
You did it. In literally two minutes you went from barely awake zombie to TV Lead Prosecutor from the Waist Up. You have on Pokemon leggings that your youngest bought you for your birthday six years ago, and you are wearing your pool slides, but your earrings are amazing and your sunnies are reflective. You are gonna go home, take off your blazer, your earrings and your sunglasses and you are gonna slip right back into bed. No one will ever know. I love you all. You’re gorgeous and I’m jealous of how beautiful you look at 6:15am.
What advice do you have for harried moms during the school year?