The Truth About Snow Days: Lets Cut Public School Moms Some Slack
My kids have had five snow days here in our corner of the Pacific Northwest and the school just sent out the announcement that school is already canceled for tomorrow. My Facebook and Instagram feeds are filled with humorous memes and parents lamenting so many snow days. It is also full of homeschool moms bashing public school moms because their complaints about snow days obviously mean these moms hate spending time with their kids and their children are a burden.
Apparently, there is no middle ground here.
This is just one more battle in the Mommy Wars.
I understand those thoughts, I had them for all the years I was homeschooling. I mean, we homeschool moms choose to stay home all day, every day with our children, why can’t public school moms handle their kids for a day or two? But that narrow-minded attitude is missing the point entirely.
The Truth About Snow Days
Here is the thing I learned once I became a dreaded Public School Mom: It isn’t about spending an unexpected day with my children. That part, to me, is a spectacular bonus! It is about a loss of routine, having to cancel appointments purposely set up during school hours, and being unprepared.
Snow is a Novelty, Many Kids Don’t Have Snow Gear
Where we live snow is unusual, it is a novelty. Most people don’t have appropriate snow gear for their kids (boots, snow pants, etc) because we just don’t get enough snow to justify it. Coats, hats, and gloves are basics, but many people may don’t have the gear it takes to play in the snow for hours. We can go a couple of years without snow here, so unless you ski, many people don’t spend the money on snow clothes.
So, it’s not as simple as telling your kids to go play outside. It may mean a few days cooped up together in a tiny house or apartment with way too much screentime happening. And we all know that makes kids grumpy.
Snow Days and the Lack of Routine
I discovered something early on in raising my kids here in the Pacific Northwest. Each spring, as the weather warms up and the endless winter rain finally recedes, I have to “kick” my kids outdoors. It is as if the long, gloomy days of winter have erased their memories of unstructured, outdoor play. Within a week, my kids are reacclimated and spending hours outdoors by their own choice. But those first few days are hard.
During the school year, my kids are very adjusted to the routine of school. Bedtime, alarm clocks, bus rides, homework. It is all part of our daily routine. But on snow days? The lack of routine is exciting, but can also be extremely difficult for kids who thrive on structure and routine or who deal with anxiety.
The first few days of summer break are also an adjustment for my kids and we all shift and adapt to our new routine. One or two snow days doesn’t give us enough time for a new routine but is just enough time for things to get chaotic.
Snow Days and Lack of Preparation
If your kids regularly eat school lunch, suddenly having them home for a few days may strain your pantry and creativity. If you are snowed in (as we sometimes are) you can’t just run to the store for supplies (hello, snow day!) or for anything else.
Tilly and Apollo circa 2011
Snow Days Doesn’t Mean Work is Canceled
If parents work and there are unexpected snow days, there is very likely a hustle to find childcare. I stay at home with my children, but snow days also means no ABA for my son with autism. Want to really have a rough day? Change up the routine of a kid with autism. Better yet, change it up two or three days in a row.
Cut Moms Some Slack
So, come on ladies, we are all in the same boat here. We are all raising our children and doing the best we can. Look at those memes as just what they are, an attempt at humor. I have many times poked fun at “homeschool moms” while I was a homeschool mom. I make jokes about snow days because the sudden change of routine is hard and in our house, we thrive on dark humor.
We are all in this together, moms. Let’s support each other, not tear each other down.