Guys!! Do you remember Rebecca of Dumb Mommy? Remember how brilliant and funny she was on the blogosphere and then she disappeared? I found her!!! I found her!!! Underneath a pile of paid freelance work. And here she is–back and brilliant as ever!–helping us survive this surprise Pacific Northwest mini-snowpocalypse. These tips are particularly useful for work-at-home parents. I tried them today, and all I have to say is THANK YOU, DUMB MOMMY! I’ll be living tip 5 all day tomorrow.
10 tips for surviving (yet) another snow day
If you live anywhere in the Northeast, you’ve probably had about three snow days this year. Today is number 4. You’ve used up sick days and vacation days. You’ve put off tasks. You’re studying the calendar and counting the days left in winter. You’re calculating the likelihood of future snow days and realized that 4 snow days may only be the halfway point. Here are 10 ten tips for surviving the day.
Let it out.
Hide under your covers and cry. Everyone needs a good cry sometimes. When your kids ask about your puffy eyes, don’t say, “I’m just sad because I wasn’t expecting to be around you guys so much.” Instead, try “ It’s just my snow allergies acting up.”
Try for a miracle
You know those neighbors who are always telling you your kids are so cute, the ones who go on and on about “missing the patter of little feet”? Call them up. Be like, “Mildred, I’m about to make your day.” You know the rest. It involves you marching your little ones across the street so they can patter their cute little feet all over Mildred’s house.
If today is not your day for a miracles try this:
TIP 3 (for real this time)
Make your kids your colleagues. Let them know what you need to get done today. Let them know how long it will take. Mention one or two things they can do to help you get your work done, like playing together in another State (not really) or using their quiet “library voices” while you’re on a conference call (really).
Offer a pot of gold
Let them know one thing you’ll all do together when you’re done. “When I finish my work, we are going to go outside and build a giant ice castle. Elsa will be jealous it’s going to be so off the hook!” Make sure it’s something you’re prepared to deliver on.
Get the party started
Now you need to get your kids to occupy themselves for a few hours. You can jump-start the adventure with some of these ideas:
- Pull the couch a few feet out from the wall. Stick a bunch of pillows and sheets back there. BOOM: fort, cave, clubhouse! Let your kids take over this new space anyway they like. Then run away to get your work done.
- Put a stuffed animal in an empty box. Present it to your kids. Say, “Look I got you a dog! I need you to take care of this little guy while I’m working.” Add some props like a washcloth and plastic bowl to encourage their play. Then run away to get your work done.
- Reintroduce toys they have not played with in a while. Sometimes this just means pulling a few oldies down from a shelf. Put these “new” toys in a place they’ve never been before. You might put a bunch of cars and blocks under the kitchen table. Let your kids discover them. Then run away to get your work done
- Decorate! Bring down paper, markers, and tape, and invite your kids to decorate the bathroom. They’ll think it’s just ridiculous enough to be fun and you’ll contain the craft bomb to one tiny room! Then run away to get your work done.
- Invent a holiday. “Oh my gosh, it’s almost Great-Aunt-Once-Removed Day!! Can you make Great-Aunt-Once-Removed Linda a care package? When it stops snowing we’ll mail it to her and she’ll be so happy.” Then run away to get your work done.
If you don’t hear complete chaos (or total silence) down the hall, then things are probably going swimmingly. Resist the urge to peek in on your kids. Seeing you will just remind them of that sandwich they want you to make them.
Give them a challenge.
If things are falling apart, ask them for more. Give them a real grown up responsibility like making their own lunch for the first time. Give them the chance to show off their inner big kid. Sometimes that’s all it takes to get things back on track.
Pull out all the stops.
Your kids have played together for a while. Your sanity depends upon getting a little more work done. It’s okay to offer a little media. For guilt prone parents try an audiobook or podcast. We love Story Pirates and Circle Round for their storytelling genius. Brains On and Wow In The World are great for science. You might even put some sleeping bags under the table or in the bathtub to make the listening more of a special (and contained) experience. And, of course, you can go the movie or show route. Before you press play, remind your kids, “When this is over I’ll be done with work and we’ll all build that three story snow tower!
Keep your promise.
When time is up put away your work. Hide it under the covers so it does not taunt you. Let your kids know, “You now have my full attention and we are going to have some crazy fun together!” Head outside. Play hard. Make Elsa proud.
Try for another miracle.
One your way in, build a quick little snowman. Hope that it magically turns into a babysitter overnight. Just in case there’s another snow day tomorrow…