A Working Parent’s Guide to Surviving a Snow Day

When you have two working parents, unexpected days without school can really put you out. Snow days are awesome for kids. Not so for parents. By planning ahead, we can make them easier for us to handle.

Snow days are great for kids, but not so much for working parents!
Snow days are great for kids, but not so much for working parents!

Dear God, Don’t Let Them Cancel School!

Not long ago, I was awoken at 5am by the home telephone. Considering the time, and since no one (except my mom or telemerketers) calls me on the home phone, my disorientation turned to dread as I saw that it had begun to snow overnight. Before I could reach the phone, the answering machine picked up and I heard:

“This is an important message from the Nyack school district. Classes are cancelled for the day”

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Amy has an audition in the city. I have class and some meetings at work. It’s not snowing so much that our work will be closed. Grrr. What are we going to do?

If we had even a day’s notice, we could have worked around it, but we gotta do something to make sure Nick is taken care of. And geez, there’s, like, only two inches out there. When I was a kid… (and we liked it)…

Luckily our neighbors, who also have a 2nd grader, were able to take Nick for most of the day- which was enough time to patch between when Amy had to leave and I could get home. So, crisis averted. Nick had a great day- snowball fights and snow angels. Snow days are awesome for kids. Not always for parents.

When you have two working parents, unexpected days without school can really put you out. Schools tend to close before businesses do.

The best way to handle unexpected snow days is to prepare ahead of time (and I don’t mean loading up on rocksalt or bread and milk!). Here’s a few ideas we can use to prepare for these routine emergency situations before they happen.

  • Have a talk with a neighbor or friend before the winter to discuss how they may be able to help you on a snow day- and volunteer to help them out by taking their kid for the afternoon sometimes to give them a break.  Make sure to build networks for parenthood (and maybe invite friends for a beer fire!)
  • If your family lives nearby, be nice to them and see if they can commit to helping out.
  • If you have a reasonably supportive supervisor/coworkers/workplace, talk to them about possible future snow days, and how you could best handle them by working from home (benefit to both you and them- you don’t have to take a day off).

Especially when life throws you a snowball curveball, it’s important to have backup.  Snow days are great for kids. By planning ahead, we can make them easier for us to handle. After all, “Winter is coming

Ned Stark would be prepared to handle snow days. So should we.
Ned Stark would be prepared to handle snow days. So should we.

What plans do you make when there’s a snow day or some other disruption to work/parenting? Let’s discuss in the comments section.

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