Who needs a nutritious breakfast or minty fresh breath? One mom’s viral post reminds us of all the rules parents give up to get to school on time.

By Marisa Cohen
Updated August 29, 2017
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Girl drinking from cereal bowl
Credit: thatsval/Getty Images

When Florida mom Nikki Pennington posted this photo of her car, piled high with half-empty water bottles, Dr. Pepper cans, food wrappers, and random scraps of garbage, she called it an ode to “hot mess school moms” who don’t have time to tidy up before dropping their kids off at school in the morning. Of course, the post went viral, with other parents either car-shaming her or applauding her honesty.

All we can say is, Nikki, we’ve been there. Even parents who keep their cars spotless (or don’t have a car!) will admit that something’s gotta give in the rush each morning to get their zombie-like kids dressed, fed, and off to class ready to learn. Here are some other morning rituals that get put on the back-burner in the back-to-school rush.

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Girl drinking from cereal bowl
Credit: thatsval/Getty Images

1 Eating Anything Resembling a Real Breakfast.

Yeah, yeah, we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but on school days, that protein-packed egg-white omelet with whole-wheat toast and a kale smoothie just ain’t happening. “My kids are not interested in breakfast, and it’s pointless to force it on them,” says a mom of two in Virginia. “I just make them a cup of instant hot chocolate and send them on their way.”

2 Getting Minty-Fresh Breath.

One California mom admits that dental hygiene sometimes gets lost in the rush to get her kiddies to class—but she has a backup plan! “If we forget or don't have time to brush teeth, I sometimes give them cheese in the car, because I remember reading that cheese has natural antibacterial and anti-cavity properties. I can get away with it now that they're so young, but probably not for long!”

3 Cleaning Up? Ha!

“I would love my kids to make their beds or even just put their breakfast dishes in the dishwasher before school, but there’s no way that’s happening!” says a mom of two in Florida. “They just leave their dishes in the sink, and they sit there all day with the food stuck on until I get back from work and put them in the dishwasher.”

4 Having a Conversation That Involves More Than Grunts.

“My wife has to constantly remind me in the morning not to ask my kids about things that can wait until later,” says a dad of three in Pennsylvania. “They’re always so grumpy in the morning that I can barely get a word out of them anyway. Dad-child bonding has to wait until evening.”

5 Clean, School-Appropriate Clothes.

“We’re constantly late leaving the house in the morning, and rather than add to the delay by fighting over her outfit, I let my three-year-old wear whatever she wants,” says a mom in Oregon. “So this means she wears a yellow Belle princess dress to school three out of five days a week. I loathe it, but it’s just not worth the fight!”

6 Looking Put-Together at Drop-Off.

One Colorado mom admits that while she makes sure her daughter eats a healthy breakfast, brushes her teeth, and applies sunscreen before school, she rarely manages to do any of the three herself! “Apparently it takes both of us working at full speed just to get her out the door.”