Like most of the country, New Jersey experienced a “snow day” on Friday. Although we knew it was coming, it didn’t eliminate the tiny sense of dread that washed over me on Thursday night when I realized
a. The girls’ school was cancelled
b. I wouldn’t be able to get any work done
c. I had nothing planned for us to do. Inside. All day.
I used to think I had two options for reaction to this issue. The first was to freak out, put tons of pressure on myself to have the best-day-ever with my girls and be the most creative, inspired, Pinterest-worthy mom that every lived. I also used to attempt to BE this woman far more than I care to admit. The second was a total freak out, what-are-we-going-to-do-now melt down lady that I am happy to report that I rarely am anymore either.
The truth is, I don’t need (or want) to be either of those women. Instead, I paused for two seconds and thought about how I felt. I let myself sulk a little bit when I woke up, pout about the things that had to wait. Then I took a minute to come up with some ideas for the day. Since I work from home, I see my girls a lot but I don’t usually have entire days alone with them. I realized I didn’t really have to have anything special or news worthy planned. They would just be excited that I was there, playing whatever they normally wanted to play.
Here’s what we did
1. Goofed around in their rooms after they woke up. We only occasionally do this. But with no rush on the day, it seemed like a fun start. We danced, we read books, we pretended to have a slumber party with their stuffed animals. Once I announced that we would all be spending the day in our PJs, I was anointed Queen of the Universe. (Kids are SO easy, if we pay attention to what matters to them)
2. Had a slow, easy breakfast. Sometimes I rush through the breakfast preparation process like I’m being timed for an Olympic event. It’s like a default position. Again, with no where to be, we put on some music, unloaded the dishwasher, got out all the breakfast ingredients (in this case, Cascadian Farms Honey Os, Almond Granola, a sprinkle of ground flax seed and a cup of milk) and sat down to eat.
3. I spread out a blanket in the basement playroom and unveiled a huge bag of dried pasta and beans. Our feast. We proceeded to “make dinner” for 30 minutes, using all of the dishes and containers that we could find. I used to do this as a kid and had as much fun as they did.
4. Played with masking tape. I realized yesterday that I could hand each of my daughters a roll of masking tape instead of hiring a babysitter to get things done around the house. They LOVE tape. So, I let them play with part of the roll (they would have to be seriously creative to do any real damage with masking tape) while I laid out paper on the floor that I eventually taped down. Art project city. We drew, glued, traced, and laughed. It was a new way to do something that we do every day. Drawing on the floor (even if it’s on paper) is also a fun change.
5. Read books. No agenda, no where to go. Just a comfy couch, a blanket and whatever books they wanted me to read.
6. Then I read a book while they played. I’ve learned to let go of the idea that I need to entertain my children every waking minute. It’s good for all of us to figure out how to be by ourselves. Admittedly, I only got about 3 minutes uninterrupted, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t try for thirty.
7. Ate lunch, cleaned up, took a rest.
8. Played board games. We have accumulated quite a few since their last birthday, which I kind of love. Aside from the 14 tantrums, each daughter storming out of the room twice and overall disregard for feelings, healthy competition, or game rules…we had a great time.
9. Watched TV. I’m not opposed to TV. Never have been. But we did wait for the end of the day, as we usually do. I did turn on the Food Network for awhile, since it seemed only fair that I get to watch a little something NOT animated. It’s also pretty G-rated to watch Rachael Ray roast a pepper.
No, I didn’t get a single thing done that I thought I would two days earlier. No, it wasn’t perfect or noteworthy, or peaceful, necessarily. But who says it has to be? In spite of needing to explain that the frigid winds and below zero temps prevented us from going outside to play in the snow at least 27 times, we enjoyed our little snow day to the best of our abilities.