Why We All Need a Positive Drop Off to Start Our Day


dropping off child at school after a stressful morning

The other morning, I had a really unsettling conversation with someone on my way into work. It didn’t end well, and it left me feeling icky as I walked into my office. The feeling stuck with me all morning, eroding my work interactions and impacting my concentration to the point where I had to intentionally go for a walk at lunch to clear my head.

This experience emphasized for me the importance of leaving my kids on a positive note when I drop them off at school. If I could feel this impacted by a rough phone call before my own “drop off” at work, how must it impact my kids when we have a busy or stressful morning?

As most of us can relate to, mornings are hectic and can be tense. We are all trying to race out the door, get to school and work on time, and not leave anything important behind. Oh yeah, and eat breakfast, make coffee, brush our teeth, and try to catch a glimpse of ourselves in the mirror before we leave.

These situations can set us up for terse interactions at home. I would be lying if I said I haven’t yelled at my kids before, something along the lines of, “if we don’t leave this house right now then I’m going to… (insert vague threat/consequence here).” On really bad days there have been tears, (usually mine), with hurtful words and sullen looks exchanged.

It really doesn’t feel good to the kids or to me and my husband.

I see similar interactions all around me. Parents yelling at kids to get out of the car at drop off, being grabbed roughly by the arm, angry faces and tones as they part ways. We’ve all been there.

But when I stop to think for a minute about what’s going through our kids’ minds as they walk into school on those rougher mornings, I feel like I’ve been sucker punched. I imagine their thoughts range from, I’m so stressed/sad/angry to I hate school, and My parents are the worst, etc, etc.

I’ve written before on the importance of how we speak to our kids. A negative exchange is definitely not leaving our kids in a mindset conducive to learning nor is it how we want to part with our kids in the mornings.

Ever since my icky phone call the other day, I’ve been making a concerted effort to be less nagging and stressed in the mornings. Even with my shoulders rising as I count the minutes it takes my daughter to sloooowly put on her shoes, I try really hard not to let the angst spill over onto my kids or my husband. I have the privilege and priority of influencing the start to their day, and I want to make that as positive an exchange as possible.


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Meredith is a transplant to the Bay Area and has fallen in love with the weather, gorgeous scenery, and plethora of local wineries. A wife and mother of two, she works part-time as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. She hails from Texas, where she attended the University of Texas and will always bleed orange. She then moved to Washington DC to attend Georgetown's School of Medicine, where she fell in love with her future husband, a fellow student, and has been happily married for almost a decade. She and her husband lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for several years for their medical training and found it the perfect place to start a family. She relocated to the Bay Area a few years ago and has quickly adapted to West Coast living. Meredith enjoys the balance of part-time working and full-time parenting and loves to write about this ongoing struggle. In her persistent drive to find more "me time", she actively pursues her interests in reading, running, soccer, baking, and wine tasting.


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