Now that I am several years into being a "school mom," I have observed that there are several categories (and subcategories) of moms who drop their kids off at school.
Category 1: The Working Mom
I envy her but I don't envy her. I envy how put together she looks in her Ann Taylor clothes. I envy that her hair is actually blow-dried. I don't envy that I know she has been up since 4:30 am. And not like I have often been "up" since 4:30 am, with a screaming teething baby, half asleep in the rocking chair with baby snoozing on my chest, a small spittle of drool dripping down my chin. I mean that mom has been UP since 4:30. Running around, getting herself ready, her kids ready, hopefully not also her husband ready. But she looks amazing and I... do not.
Categories 2 and 3 require, in my opinion, subcategories.
Category 2(a): The Gym Mom
This mom clearly goes directly to the gym after drop-off. EVERY SINGLE DAY. How do I know this? Because she is dressed in $85 Lululemon pants and matching work-out tank (also made of some sort of fancy lycra... something). Also, she is in phenomenal shape. She rocks those Lululemons and with good reason.
Although I have often dropped my kids off in work-out attire, I am in no position to join category 2(a). Hence, the need for category 2(b).
Category 2(b): The Other "Gym" Mom
This mom is making an effort. She is wearing her work-out clothes because she knows that the chances are greater that she WILL actually work out today if she starts the day dressed for exercise. However, she wears cotton running shorts that she has had since college. She graduated 12 years ago. She also wears a cotton top of some sort. It may be an old tank top from Walmart. It is likely stained. It may be the t-shirt she received as an "award" for running that 5k... that time. She does not own anything with a Lululemon label, nor can she pronounce that word. Mostly this is because she cannot justify buying new gym clothes. Her half-assed work out attempts 1) have not earned her a spandex-conducive backside and 2) she would rather spend that money on a big steak and bottle of wine at a kid-free restaurant with her hubs or girlfriends. But, she knows the importance of exercise, wants to exercise, and often(ish) DOES exercise. So bleached cotton running shorts circa 1998 it is.
Category 3(a): The Stay-at-Home-Mom Who Truly Cares What She Looks Like. For Real.
This mom, like the working mom, does her hair in the morning and wears jewelry and pretty scarves. Her jeans do not have holes in the knees. She must be going somewhere amazing after drop-off. No way is she going back home to scrub toilets with Kelly and Michael on in the background. Also, she is carrying Starbucks. She had time (after getting herself ready) to get Starbucks on the way to school. On the off chance that she did not have time to get it, she is going there next and then will continue on to other very cool places. I am this mom on average 1-2 times per month. I do enjoy being this mom. My children look at me aghast at how put together I am. The other day (when I was this mom), I was putting mascara on. My children were terrified and worried that I was going to pull my eyelids off. This is the effect of having a mommy who does not wear makeup.
Category 3(b): The Stay-at-Home-Mom Who Cares What She Looks Like the Bare Minimum Amount
This mom's goal is to not embarrass her children at drop off. 50% of the time she is showered. 100% of the time her hair is in a ponytail. 0% of the time she is wearing makeup. 30% of the time she is wearing the exact same outfit as she did yesterday because it did not get that dirty, it fits, and it was draped over the side of the pack and play in her bedroom. I am this mom the other 29 days of the month.
Category 3(c). The Stay-at-Home-Mom who DOES NOT GIVE A SHIT. And Owns It.
I am partly sad for her, partly scared of her, and partly very envious of her. She probably IS going home to scrub toilets with Kelly and Michael and knows it.
Whatever mom you are, I hope you are comfortable in your skin. I cannot speak for all of the moms out there, but I can say that the moms I see at drop-off truly love their kids. All of them. And their kids get smooches (despite Mommy's coffee breath) and hugs and love their mommies right back. And that's a good thing.