I live in the Mid-Atlantic region so we have four seasons and Winter Is Cold.
I used to work full-time so I remember the sheer terror of hunting through the closure lists, trying to determine if both the school and the daycare were closed, if I had calls or meetings that could be rescheduled, if moving those work-related appointments around would reflect poorly on me, if I would be able to get any work done with two small people who only pay attention to me when I’m on the phone or computer, both of which I needed to do my job.
I’ve been at home for five years. (I don’t know if you’ve heard, but being a stay-at-home parent is a job too. People assume I haven’t heard because they keep telling me.) I don’t have that particular kind of snow-day stress anymore. If parents need me to watch their kids during a two-hour delay or a closure, my door is always open. (I don’t do crafts unless my daughter comes up with an idea and the supplies are easily accessible.)
This winter doesn’t seem particularly bad, but we had a rough stretch of cold weather that led to an early dismissal, two-hour delay and a closure last week alone. My nerves started to fray yesterday when I got a text while I was at the bus stop, alerting me my kids (fresh off a three-day weekend) would be sent home because a storm was due to arrive around 3.
The storm came at 9.
This morning, we woke up to two inches of snow and a two-hour delay. OK, that made sense, the roads hadn’t been plowed and the buses making their rounds after rush hour meant a lower risk for accidents. Then, 30 minutes later, a text announcing that schools were closed.
For two inches of snow.
This is how the day went:
7 am: Wake up daughter, tell her there’s a delay and she should go back to sleep.
7:05 am: Instantly alert, she gets her brother up.
7:30 am: Inform offspring they have the day off.
7:45 am: Husband leaves for work.
8:00 am: Trainer from the gym texts me that roads are bad, he’ll see me on Friday.
8:30 am: Neighbor texts me about sledding. We agree going to a huge hill 15 miles away may not be the best option, settle on the hill behind my house at 10:30.
8:30-10:15 am: Research meteorology programs, settle Minecraft disputes (I don’t play the game; they’re fighting over IMAGINARY THINGS IN MAKE-BELIEVE WORLDS; even Mr. Rogers would have reached his limit), ensure everyone has breakfast that is not Pepperidge farm goldfish.
10:15 am: Shower.
10:20 am: Daughter flies into the bathroom during my shower to inform me SLEDS CANNOT BE FOUND. I suggest looking in the garage, maybe using cardboard boxes would be a good alternative.
10:23 am: Son flies into the bathroom during my shower to inform me he has shoveled and salted everywhere without having to be told, a medal and/or a parade would be great.
10:25 am: Daughter returns to the bathroom during my shower to reassure me the sleds have been found.
10:30 am: Friends arrive.
10:40 am: My son has two different gloves on, and one is not snow-proof. He lost the other snow-proof one at school.
10:45 am: My son calls it a day. Other parent graciously keeps an eye on my daughter and his kid.
11:00 am-12:30 pm: Everyone returns inside, we have hot chocolate, kids play a game and adults chat.
12:30-3:00 pm: Kids rotate between television, Minecraft and the computer. I finish Book Four of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. (I will write more when I finish the whole thing, but Books Three and Four were great. Four stars on Goodreads.)
3:00-4:00 pm: I start Book Five and it’s an Hour of No Electronics while kids do their own reading.
4:00-5:00 pm: I debate asking my husband to bring home dinner, and decide to scan Pinterest for ideas instead. I settle on one and both kids ask what we are having, I respond “chicken, rice and salad,” and they say OK. If I tell them Honey Dijon Garlic chicken, their faces may permanently stay scrunched up in disgust.
5:00-6:00 pm: I eat the Honey Dijon Garlic chicken, rice and salad. My daughter helpfully reminds me this is the third day in a row we’ve had chicken (slow cooker chicken fajitas, roasted chicken with veggies and tonight’s offering). I count to 10 six times. She and my son decide to make bagel pizzas. I call my husband to let him know I made dinner, could he bring me home some soup.
6:00-7:00 pm: Husband texts me at 6:05 and tells me he’s home with soup, dinner is yummy. The kids and I are at piano lessons. As we are leaving piano lessons, son hits daughter with two snow balls. Rainbow Connection is playing in the car on the way home and I turn it up HIGH to drown out the litany of complaints daughter has about son.
7:10 pm: Come home to garage door open, garage lights on, husband has not cleaned up his meal. He proudly declares he has soup AND has started the dishwasher without having to be told, a medal and/or parade would be great.
7:15 pm: BREAKING: Online Offal’s shaky grip on the last tendrils of her patience.
7:30-8:00 pm: “Kids, let’s leave Mom alone for awhile.”
8:00-8:30 pm: Bath and bedtime edicts.
It’s supposed to be 50 degrees by Saturday.