Working parents with school-age children walk a fine balance when it comes to the weekday whereabouts of their kids. Most of us have the day down to an exact science and schedule. We’ve arranged for them to get to school. From 8-ish to 3-ish, they are in the care of their teachers. After school, there are activities, after-care, a friend who watches them—whatever it takes to make sure they’re safe and occupied until Mom or Dad returns around dinnertime.
For the most part, it works. Everybody’s where they need to be, taking care of business. All is good.
And then… dun dun DUNH!!!! A snow day hits.
This past week (and, for many of my friends, the week before) was the mother of all snow day crises. Most of us were already coming off of long holiday breaks. The gears of business were gearing back up, and we were all looking forward to getting back into a routine. Then came the Polar Vortex.
Sunday night, my Facebook feed started to blow up with anxious parents wondering how they were going to handle things if school got called off the next day. I saw moms with piles of post-holiday work and looming deadlines. Moms with tons of meetings scheduled. One mom who’d made the jump to freelancing was counting her blessings because her husband had six meetings the next day, and if she’d still been working in an office, they would have had to evaluate which one of them needed to be at work more.
I was fortunate because I have a more flexible schedule that lets me work from home, and I work with a family-friendly company run by a couple who was in the exact same boat as me. We handled business from our dining room tables the two days our kids were out of school. And except for a sibling squabble that broke out during a client call, all went smoothly. I actually enjoyed getting to spend those two extra days with my girls, and I felt bad for parents who would have loved to stay home, too, but who, for whatever reason, didn’t have that option.
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And so, I wonder: how do parents plan for unexpected events like a snow day? Do you make sure to have a back-up sitter on hand? Do you take personal or sick days? Are your employers helpful, or have you experienced negative repercussions from the snow day shuffle? If you have any particularly good strategies on planning for snow days, please let us know!