Friday, March 23, 2012

I love school drop-off time! No, really, I do!

Before you call me crazy, I will admit that school drop-off time is stressful.  There are about 140 kids at my daughter's school--that's more than 100 cars (siblings) that have to get through a one-block drop-off zone in 15 minutes.
Drop the 5 and carry the 2 and you get 6 and 2/3 cars per minute...if they come in a steady stream, which of course they don't.

What makes drop-off time even more stressful are the inevitable doubts running through my mind:
  • Is her homework done and checked?
  • Did we remember lunch/field trip form/raffle ticket money?
  • She is wearing underwear, isn't she?!?
Here is how I learned to stop worrying and love drop-off time (obscure reference). 

I got out of the car and into the 8 AM club

This year, I noticed that a group of parents always arrived 10 to 15 minutes before school opened.  We all started getting out of our cars and getting to know one another.  We talked about football (New Orleans Saints, of course), local politics (at times, a more engaging spectator sport than football), and school happenings (who sold the most raffle tickets). 

We created our own tribe: the 8AM club (Check out Seth Godin for more on tribes).  We greet all of the teachers as they walk by, keep the children from getting hurt or hurting anything else (or anyone else), and tease the parents who are running late.

The 8AM club makes me want to get to school a few minutes early. 

I built my day around it

One of the hardest transitions for me when I started working from home was backing away from the ready-made routine of an office.  For nearly 12 years, I had worked at the same university, walked the same 10 blocks to campus, eaten at the same student center.

The day after I started my work-from-home job, that structure evaporated.  No one poked their head into my home office to see if I wanted coffee.  No one charged in with a brilliant new idea.  No one plopped themselves in the  chair across from me, cursing the university's bureaucracy (OK, I don't miss that last one).

My problem wasn't working from home, it was finding the right times and places to stop (and letting myself be OK with stopping).  My office is three stairs away from the coffee pot, so the commute is pretty much zero.  I can work whenever I want for as long as I want! 

Drop-off time makes me stop

Stop to reflect on a tricky organizational problem

Stop to laugh with the 8AM club about raffle tickets

Stop to pay full attention to my daughter's smile

So to all of my fellow work-from-home moms and dads, stop to find your drop-off time

One more thing, anyone want a raffle ticket?

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