I love snow days. Sometimes. As a kid, snow days were the best. Watching the weather the night before, guessing whether it will snow or not, waking up in the morning to all white outdoors and your mom greeting you with the exciting news that school’s cancelled. There’s nothing better than a day off you weren’t expecting.
Then, in my 20s, they weren’t so fun. Work didn’t get cancelled like school did. Snow meant having to clean off my car, struggle to get to work with crazy drivers and worse than usual traffic, and then sit there in my office trying to concentrate on work when what I really wanted to do was sit at home in my wool sweater, drinking hot chocolate and watching the snow fall.
For me now, those office days are over. I work from home, mostly while the kids are in school. So the good thing is, when it snows I don’t have to struggle to get to work! But at the same time, when school is cancelled, I still have work to do, and am missing a quiet house and uninterrupted time to get it done! As soon as the call comes from school, I start going over in my head all the things I had planned to do that day, figuring out what I can put off so I can play with the kids and prioritizing the things that I really need to get done, trying to pack them all into a couple of hours while the kids watch a movie.
I love being flexible enough to shuffle my work around so that I can make French toast and hot chocolate and play in the snow. Being a work-at-home mom almost makes snow days just as exciting as when I was a kid.
Because even though I can shuffle some things, I can’t shuffle everything. And while one snow day is fun, two or three get tough. There’s only so much putting off I can do, then it’s a struggle to work with kids at home, all while trying to supervise outdoor play, dry out wet gloves and snowsuits, and feed hungry kids.
Then there are the days like today. A snow day with no snow. Freezing rain was predicted, but a high of 36 degrees meant that last night, schools took the cautious route and announced a 2-hour delay. Okay, I could deal with that. Rearranged my schedule in my head, planned all phone calls for after 10 a.m.
Then this morning, while I was all set for one schedule, the call came that school was cancelled.
I think that might be my least favorite thing about the freezing rain weather, the fact that schools are indecisive and wait to make decisions. I understand why, but boy, it does a number on my brain with the constant rearranging.
Sure, the kids are excited they get a day off school. But today I’m not sharing in their excitement. Cold, freezing rain means I can’t send them out to play. Our routine is off, I still have work to do, and looming deadlines mean some work just can’t be avoided. So what will we do? Make the most of it. Here’s how I cope with an unexpected snow day:
- Movies and TV. I usually limit the screen time, but these days are an exception. It’s the only safe way to ensure I can do a phone interview without interruption.
- Make time in the day to give the kids my full attention. Setting aside an hour for lunch, where we make something they like to eat, and then play a game or read a book, helps make it more likely they will leave me alone when I do have to be on my laptop.
- Work together. Thanks to homework packets coming home a week at a time, the kids still have work to do even on a snow day. Setting them up with their spelling worksheets while I continue working on my laptop gives me a few more minutes of undisturbed time and makes them feel like we’re all in it together.
Warmer temperatures are predicted for this weekend, and I’m definitely ready to see the sun. But as crazy as this morning has been and how much I’ll be frustrated with being behind schedule tomorrow, I am still hoping for another real snow day at some point this winter. Being out of school unexpectedly might be a mixed blessing, but I will never outgrow the excitement of seeing beautiful white flakes falling from the sky and the anticipation of a good sledding adventure.