7 Types of Lebanese Parents You’ll Encounter at School Pickup

For the past three years, I’ve been shuttling my kids to and from school. It’s always a treat to greet them as their scholastic day draws to a close and they melt into your arms, eager to head home. 

Right up there after that gratifying reunion is the entertainment value you derive from your encounters with other parents milling around the school building threshold in the minutes leading up to end of day. So amusing is the range of characters you’ll meet – whether they be grandparents filling in for parents tied up at work, or parents able to carve out time to pluck up their offspring – that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to blog about it.

Here they are in no specific order. Can you relate?


1. The Haughty Mama: her favorite hand accessory is her smartphone, which she’s either holding to her lips transmitting nonstop nonsense voice notes, or scrolling furiously through her Instagram feed. Her hair is perfectly coiffed, with the essential extensions. She’s got those long false lashes and incessantly furrowed brows, which you catch a glimpse of from time to time when she can be bothered to push up her designer sunglasses. And she’ll vacillate between athleisure wear or skintight jeans and a midriff top better suited to the prepubescent teen population located in the school’s intermediate sections.

2. The Gossip Queen: she stands off to the corner in a circle with a posse of other ladies, who are all leaning in and murmuring inanities among each other. They’re chattering about their frivolous social calendars as well as those of their kids – what afterschool activities, birthday bonanzas and play dates they’ve got coming up. “Did you see so-and-so’s Instagram story from last night?” the Gossip Queen declares to her envious disciples. “She was at Cult sipping on Prosecco with…” and proceeds to name other moms not in their company.

3. The Early-bird Parent: this profile can be interchangeably filled by a mom or dad. They show up uncharacteristically early, a good hour before students are released. They park outside the school premises, along the residential street where they create an unnecessary bottleneck for the regular flow of traffic. After they’ve fetched their kids, they can be seen hustling like Olympians back to their cars in an effort to beat the line of buses out of school. And they’re not afraid to nick your car as they race hastily past.

4. The Hipster Dad: he’s got the perfectly groomed beard and ‘stache and long, messy mane. He’s attractively fit, slightly stocky but arms bulging with toned muscles. All the moms are undressing him with their hungry eyes, but he doesn’t seem to notice. He’s got a green convertible Mini Cooper to coordinate with his olive green eyes. As you steal glances at him like an amateur thief, you wonder, is it kosher for married folk to have crushes? Jeez, you haven’t felt this giddy since you yourself were in school. God forbid he should look in your direction, because you’d almost certainly go delirious.

5. The Fickle Mom: sometimes she’ll greet you by name and chat you up gregariously. Other times, she’ll walk right past you without acknowledgment. Is she high or myopic, you wonder? At first, her aloof behavior will incense you, but then you realize that once you too ignore her, she’ll be at your beck and call like a dog on a bone.

6. The Grumpy Mom: she finds everything, and I mean everything, unbearable. She complains about the administration. She complains about the teachers. She complains about the school app. She complains about the volume of homework – whether too little or too much. She complains about other parents. She complains about the parking situation. And she complains about the weather, tirelessly. When you see her coming your way, you make a beeline for…

7. The Tender Teta: she exudes sweetness and stuffs candy into your little one’s hands every time she sees him. Day in and day out, she fills in diligently for her employed daughter, who is unable to leave work for school pickup. This kind and selfless Teta babysits her grandkid until early evening, preparing homey meals and providing grandmotherly affection.

Have I missed anyone? Let me know in the comments!

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