Is Car Line Shade Really a Thing?


Is Car Line Shade Really a Thing? I’m not talking about that magical day when you arrive for school pickup at exactly the right moment and your place in line falls just under the only bit of shade along the entire route. No, the “shade” I’m referring to comes from certain posts and tweets I’ve seen start to float around during back to school time over the last couple years. The position of the author varies but the gist of them is that the time you arrive for after school pickup and your subsequent place in the car line says something about you as a mom.

Some of the posts poke fun at the moms who arrive an hour or more early to sit in line, idling with a book in their laps, until school lets out. How lame this mom must be and what a seriously dull life she must lead in order to have that kind of time to waste! Doesn’t she know they aren’t awarding trophies for first in line? She must have some falsely inflated sense of superiority over the other, end-of-the-line moms.

Others sheepishly acknowledge they are the roll in at the last minute, when the bell has already rung and the line is already moving, kind of mom. They defensively suppose the kind of thoughts other moms and school administrators are thinking about their chronically, “late” place in line, and offer reasons for why it works for them.

But the thing is? I’ve never heard any of these types of judgements from actual mom friends, in real life, on social media, or otherwise. If you read the comments on these posts, moms are universally saying, “Who cares what place you fall in line?” and “Who is actually trying to make this a thing?”

What it all really comes down to is when you can afford to spend your time.

Do you have a second kid you must race to pick up after the first or an after school activity to get to, meaning you have to be first in line in order to be first out of there so you can barely make it to your second destination on time? Do you have a work commitment that ends at a certain hour which makes going all the way back home only to have to leave for pickup twenty minutes later seem so inefficient that you’d rather just go sit in car line and have a chance to be alone for a few minutes? Or maybe you have a toddler at home who needs to nap until the last possible moment before you come sliding into the school zone to arrive in plenty of time to bring up the rear of the car line?

See what I did there? I just humanized the parents waiting in line by considering that maybe I don’t know the details of their lives and schedules in any type of capacity to allow me to sit in judgement on them. I really think this, like so many other “mommy war” topics, is a manufactured social media issue that few moms even care about. Let’s refuse to participate in re-sharing these pot-stirring posts and just go on about our business, confident that we are managing our own time as we see fit and not supposing that anyone else gives two hoots about our place in car line.

I know I personally have about twenty other more pressing things to be anxious about these days.

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Hi! I’m Sara, former early childhood teacher turned stay at home mom to two girls and a boy (2013, 2016, and 2018). My husband and I got married in 2010 and are both ETSU alumni. Despite being born here, I grew up all over the country as the daughter of a military family, only finally moving back to the area in 2014. The mountains of East Tennessee were calling us home! I love all that Knoxville has to offer young families in the way of festivals, events, outdoorsy adventures and charm. When we’re not striking off on a weekend excursion to the Farmer’s Market or a new hiking spot, I can be found in my kitchen nurturing a semi-professional baking obsession or curled in the living room with a book. I love getting to write for and be part of this supportive community of moms!


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