What Happens to Parents When You Have Too Many Snow Days

When your kids experience their first snow day, it’s pretty special. You hunker down and get pumped right along with them. No school! Let's start eating everything in sight! Where are the sleds?! Yay for cozy family time! It brings you back to when you were a kid and snow days were a once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence, not part of the Common Core curriculum like they seem to be now. My kids are so used to school being cancelled that if there’s more than a dusting when they wake up they just assume — and start demanding hot cocoa. The novelty has completely worn off for all of us. And when you’re on your 18th snow day like we are here on Long Island (note: it’s not actually the 18th but it certainly feels like it) you go through what I like to call the five stages of a snow day…

1. Denial. “They’re definitely going to have school tomorrow, right?” you ask your spouse the night before, even as the weather people use words like “nightmarish,” “treacherous,” and “do not go out unless you have to” to describe the morning commute.  You check The Weather Channel incessantly. You look to Jim Cantore for some sign that it’s all going to blow right past you. As the snow starts dumping down, you see cars slide around in front of your house and think, “well, the bus could definitely handle that hill. I mean, why would they cancel school?”

2. Anger. You get the robocall at 5 a.m. And then the email. And then the text. Why the $^*&# do they do this? Despite your best attempt at number one, you and everyone else knew they were going to call it so why couldn’t they have done so at a human hour? Your brain scrolls through the list of all the things you will not get accomplished today and your heart begins to race.

3. Bargaining. Your kids wake up at 7 a.m. and immediately want to go outside. But it’s 8 degrees and blowing like a sonofabitch out there. You negotiate. You make up chores. You have your six-year-old feed your three-month-old so you can go to the bathroom alone (but then your four-year-old comes in asking if she can have a cookie for breakfast). You let them play Doc McStuffins with all the BandAids in the house while you get breakfast made and immediately regret it. You beg them to entertain themselves but it’s a losing battle because it says right there in the kid code of snow day conduct: “you will not be able to entertain yourselves for more than 30 seconds at a time all day long.” You hear yourself say things like, “I will give you a cookie as soon as you brush your teeth.”

4. Depression. It’s only 11 a.m. but your kids are already bored. You find a video they made on the iPad made up entirely of different words for poop, including that one and you feel like a terrible mother. After bundling them up to play outside, they last 10 minutes before one of them bangs on the door in boogery tears and the other turns a scary shade of frostbitten red. They’ve built forts using all the blankets and couch cushions in the house and decorated your entire kitchen with stick figure art. They do not want to watch TV, despite the fact that you spent $5.99 to rent "Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs 2." They start fighting over things like who saw the bigger icicle out the window. They ask questions like, “Mom, can you die when you’re in heaven?” and “I know how baby’s come out but how do they get in?!” and, the most disturbing: “How do you spell sexy?” You’ve cleaned your kitchen for the eighth time but now it’s time for lunch. You start to feel trapped. You wonder if spring will ever come. You consider moving south but then you remember what happened in Atlanta and feel even worse. You think about Global Warming and fear you might cry.

5. Acceptance. You catch your six-year-old watching a show called “Pit Bulls and Parolees” on Animal Planet and realize it’s game over. Screw it, you are officially not getting any work done today and the house is going to remain a total sty. You have a dance party with your kids to inappropriate Top 40 music and remain unfazed when your four-year-old busts out every word to "Wrecking Ball" (you’re also not stressing about the fact that you kind of love a Miley Cyrus song). Let’s make banana bread! Oh, the hot chocolate spilled all over the floor?! It’s OK, it’s a snow day! Yes, I will play hide and seek. Yes, to cookies for lunch. How about a side of ice cream? A tea party with actual tea on the living room rug? Sure! You text photos of the fun to your mom friends with captions like “is it happy hour yet?” You are in the trenches and you’re going with it. You might even break out the damn Easy Bake Oven you’d been considering returning to the North Pole.

And then, at five o’clock, the bonus stage kicks in, the one you’ve been waiting for all day: Intoxication. If you’ve made it this far without pouring yourself something adult, now’s the time. And if they’ve already cancelled school for tomorrow, make it a double. (Of course when you’re on your 18th snow day, you may just skip right to number 6 when you get the robocall. No judgment here.)