Only a few weeks into 2014, East Coast moms have had a few
too many snow days already. Isn’t it funny how snow days change based on your kids’ ages?
My friends with children under 12 dread snow days and take
them as personal affronts.
morning, with every school in Washington closed before a single snowflake fell,
my phone and Facebook were burning up with messages from moms of young
kids. “Nooooooo! Not another day off school! Calgon take me away!”
There was one mother who accused the school principal of
personally targeting her sanity.
I know how they feel.
Snow days are evil, especially for a single working mom – or
a happily married working mom whose husband sneaks out of the house before dawn
on snow days.
Sure, the snow is magical.
For the first ten minutes.
But then it sinks in: all the critical meetings you’re going
to miss at work…or the painstakingly scheduled volunteer commitments, or your
slot at Zumba class…Sure you can go, if you take little Timmy and Susie with you…so
Back in the day, I’d be sweating before I put on my own coat – from deep knee bends to stuff my toddlers’ limbs into the adorable-diabolical
miniature boots, snow pants, gloves, jacket, hat. Then blam – I was out in the freezing cold
with snow down my socks, seeing tiny red fingers and runny noses everywhere I
My kids would complain about how
so-and-so put snow down his pants. Their feet got cold. They wanted hot chocolate. Back home, my formerly-clean house would get
instantly redecorated with dirty snow boots, soaking snow pants, smelly socks
drying on my radiator, and the kids whining that now they were bored.
And forget sending them to the park with a sled while I got
a few work calls made. The uber-responsible
moms at the park might decide to call Child Protective Services on me.
But ahh, snow days now that my kids are teenagers? Heaven.
That same lovely man who used to sneak out to work before
the kids and I discovered school was cancelled?
He still has to sneak out to work…before we wake up. Somewhere along the way, I figured out working
at home, for myself, met my family’s needs much better than working for a
company that didn’t seem to care about my attempt to “balance” working and
raising three kids. My husband faced no
So now, snow days mean Mom
and kids sleep til noon. Then we watch
movies. And not Snow Dogs or Bambi. We watch Blood Diamond and Prison Break and
Homeland. We make popcorn and cookies
and they clean up. My daughters do my
nails and hair. We build a roaring fire – without me worrying
the kids might run headfirst into the fireplace.
The kids go to the park to sled for hours – without me. From the fireside, I can watch my 16-year-old
and his friends playing snow-football in my yard. If I want, I can take the dog
for a snowy walk in the woods without lending one of my kids my mittens, or
wrenching my shoulder pulling a heavy rope attached to all three of them lying
on a piece of plastic, or wiping a single runny nose. Imagine – today I have choices about how I
spend my time. And when the kids get back from their adventures, they clean up
their own wet junk, because they have been trained.
Ahh, the peace and quiet of a winter world!
I love snow days now.
They have come to mean precious unstructured stretches of time alone
with my kids. And time with myself.
Everything a good snow day should be.
So moms, just wait a few years. Take a good long look at how adorable your
kids look in snow boots and crazy snow hats.
Get through the hellish drudgery of the early snow days.