The Parenting Call That Didn't Work Out

4 years ago

Last week, Kansas City got hit with a whopper of a snowstorm. We saw video of drivers forced to stop on major interstates and abandon their cars -- on pretreated roads. Kansas City is no stranger to snowstorms, but the snow was falling so fast we literally couldn't keep up. School had been called off the night before, but for the first time in my memory, the emergency daycare called all the parents to say they were closing, too, and please come get your kid. Good luck to you if you were one of those drivers stuck on the Interstate. Fast forward to today -- another major storm is on the way, and because of conflicting predictions of when the weather would start, I decided to keep my daughter home this morning even though school is in session.

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Why? It's not even snowing right now. It was a gut call. This morning I looked at the forecast and I looked at my daughter and I thought about picking her up early on the twisty, turny, accident-prone two-lane road between my house and school in my no-wheel-drive convertible, and my stomach hurt. Then I thought about her on a bus during potential freezing rain or fast snow, and my stomach hurt. And, I admit, there's the work piece of it. How much time do I lose when I have to go pick her up? The school is a 15-minute drive away, and my car is not reliable in snow or even heavy rain, not to mention the back-up there would be if other parents got the same idea when it started to precipitate. Did I want to risk losing an hour of my workday to sit in traffic?

I called the school. Everything was going fine until she school secretary asked for the reason for my daughter's absence. I thought about saying she was sick. Then I decided not to lie.

"I just don't think you're going to be in school all day," I said, because "Inclement weather" sounded so impersonal.

"But it's not supposed to start until three or four o'clock," huffed the secretary. School normally gets out at 3:55. I could feel judgment pouring through the phone lines, or maybe it was just me being paranoid, which made me mad. I don't judge them for shutting down emergency daycare when it's bad. Who can help the weather? And if I would've told the secretary I was keeping her out of school because I was going on vacation, there wouldn't have been a peep.

And now it seems the forecast has changed completely, and we won't get snow until late night, if at all. If at all! It seems the school secretary was right, and I was wrong. OKAY, I WAS WRONG! I WAS WRONGEDY-WRONG-WRONG-WRONG! I admit it. Instead of learning multiplication, my daughter is watching "Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo" on a school day when she is not sick.

And I don't care. The kid got an unexpected day off, and I didn't have to lose any time fetching her after losing hours last week to kid-and-snow-related issues. I refuse to berate myself as a parent over one missed day.

Have you ever kept your kid out of school for an unpopular reason?

Rita Arens is the author of the young adult novel The Obvious Game & the senior editor of BlogHer. Find more at

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