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I feel like I need to start this post with a disclaimer: I really do love and enjoy my family. And I really did enjoy spending extra time with them when a snow and ice storm kept us in the house.
But I work from home, and I’m already looking at two weeks of the girl being home for the holidays, so I was counting on the first couple weeks of this month to get ahead of myself a bit.
And then we didn’t leave the house for seven days.
It’s been announced that schools will be open tomorrow, but I feel like I, and the parents of Northwest Arkansas, and anywhere else that doesn’t know how to deal with snow, might need these reminders about how to make that time stuck at home together a little more pleasant the next time around.
Let the Kids Lead as Much as Possible
They’re really pretty good at entertaining themselves, knowing what they want to do and coming up with things to do. Older kids especially can be left to their own devices, but even younger kids (mine is four) can go without an agenda for at least parts of every day.
Make it Special
Watch a new movie (we tried “Toy Story;” she didn’t love it as much as “Finding Nemo”). Try a new food. Do something different.
It may become a snow day ritual or just be something fun you do once. Just try to open yourself up to whimsy and play.
Try to Enjoy It
Yes, your schedule has been thrown off to an amazing degree (boy, do I know it). You’re not where you expected to be or doing what you thought you should be doing.
But these are the experiences family memories are built on, for you and your kids. Try not to stress too much about the mess or what’s not getting done (but do take 10 minutes after bedtime to do what you can in whatever room you’re spending the most time in; it will make you feel a lot better).
It’s tempting to try to get your kid to play alone or to stick them in front of the TV all day. But this is really a chance to get to know your kids and see them in a different way than you might in the regular rushed environment of every day.
Your kids are probably funnier and sweeter than you know. So engage with them as much as you can, savor these moments and really be with your kids. You’ll be glad you did. So will they.
Enjoy the Quiet When You Get It
My daughter isn’t really napping anymore (I think she has one day out of these seven) so the moments of quiet are super rare when she’s home all the time. I’m learning to take those opportunities to be still myself instead of rushing to the next thing. A little peace is a very good thing.
Know that It’s Likely You’ll Lose It at Some Point
Even the most in-the-moment parent can go off the deep end. It happened for me on day seven when the girl would not stop going under and behind the Christmas tree.
Remember that it’s natural to break in captivity, and do what you can to roll with it. It’s OK to call a time out for yourself, too.
Savor the Sweet Moments
Your kids may be too old to be truly sweet, but at least notice the nice moments when everyone is playing together or quiet or happy.
On the sixth night I was completely worn out. I was sure there would be school the next day, and I was disappointed there wasn’t going to be. I was ready to get back to reality, and so was the girl.
I laid down with her to sing her goodnight songs and she started playing with my hair. Then she kissed me and said “you’re my favorite.”
That made one more day seem possible.
But maybe not two.