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10 stages of a snow day for a work-at-home mom

Angela Amman

The weatherman’s been talking about it all day, with a gleam in his eye; and you know he’s secretly rubbing his hands together with glee when the camera pans away from him. The sky is gray and snow is falling when I walk to school to pick up the kids on Tuesday, and all extracurricular activities are cancelled by 4 p.m.

A winter storm is coming, and the kids are ready, sleeping with spoons under the pillows and their pajamas inside out. Surrounded by their excited — and adorable — superstitions, I somehow forget that I have work to do in the morning.

1. My phone buzzes with email notifications and voice mails

After being informed of the impending snow day by seven different sources, including Facebook groups and smoke signals, I turn off my morning alarm and pour a glass of wine. No lunches to make in the morning! I quickly glance into our craft supplies and at the freshly checked-out library books. Time for a cozy day with my sweet — and currently sleeping — angels.

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2. Remember my kids don’t sleep in

I smugly pour cereal when the sun comes up and open my laptop on the kitchen table, patting myself on the back for getting in two hours of work before I normally begin. What could possibly go wrong when I’m already a few steps ahead of schedule?

3. Marvel at their sweet imaginations

They’re so creative! My organized craft suggestions are met with something dangerously bordering on eye rolls and exasperation. I remind my daughter 14 times to bring back the good scissors and briefly wonder how many pieces of pipe cleaner and confetti-sized bits of paper it might take to break my vacuum cleaner.

4. Wonder if they’re in the middle of a massive growth spurt

I calmly say no to a snack at 9:00 a.m., 9:05 a.m. and 9:07 a.m. By 9:08 a.m., I give in and let them have an apple. At 9:14 a.m., I toss Peeps across the table in an attempt to commit a single thought to the keyboard without interruption.

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5. Attempt to share my work space

The kids are going to love learning a few HTML codes! Fine, yes, living room gymnastics sounds like a stellar idea. If I don’t listen too closely, I won’t hear what sounds suspiciously like a herd of elephants jumping on the couch.

6. Drown out their noise with more noise

Music makes gymnastics more fun, and I’ve always thought that I’d make a killer DJ. Five minutes later, I’m gritting my teeth. I’ve gone back and forth between the same three Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber songs 48 times before lunch.

7. Send them outside to play in the snow — the cause of this crazy day

Happily, I notice that my kids changed into real clothes sometime around 1:47 p.m. I usher them outside and only have to yell four times before someone runs back to close the door separating me from the frigid air.

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8. Realize I’m still wearing my pajamas

I wonder if this counts as a failure or a major win for minimizing laundry. Approximately four minutes later, the kids are inside, shedding wet snow pants, gloves, hats and possibly fourteen pairs of socks. They quickly change into — clean — pajamas so they can “be cozy,” and my laundry pile is suddenly the size of Mt. Everest.

9. Forget any and all screen time rules

TV? Sure! A computer game that’s somehow considered “problem solving” even though it seems to be a car driving across various bridges? Sounds great. A movie, complete with popcorn and more Peeps? That works if I can just, for the love of snowplows, press send on this email.

10. Admit defeat and maniacally check the streets for signs of plowed snow

By 3:00 p.m., when I’m normally getting ready to welcome the kids home with a smile and a — nutritious, well-planned — snack, I’m singing along to Justin Bieber, alone, surrounded by 487 LEGO pieces, a keyboard spattered with mac and cheese dust and my own tears.

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