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Snow days in April

Snow days in April

Today is a snow day.

Or, more precisely, it’s a sleety freezing rain day, which means that all the kids are home and that I’m writing this to the sound of one child playing video games, another watching cartoons, and a third listening to music. It also means that I’ve had to cancel my meeting this morning, find an alternate arrangement to drop off an advance reading copy of a book, and pester someone to pick up an order from the printer for me. It most importantly means that I won’t get much work done, either on my freelance commitments or on my personal writing.

All of which is to say, I understand why a snow day can feel like a colossal inconvenience for parents. Our workplaces generally aren’t closed just because schools are. Our responsibilities and commitments don’t disappear just because the roads are icy. Our choices are either to scramble for child care or resign ourselves to losing a day of productivity.

On the other hand, assuming that we end up taking the second option, begging out of our responsibilities and hanging out with the kids for a day of forced inaction, a snow day can also be an opportunity to have a real break from the every day grind. Whereas we often fill our weekends and vacations with all kinds of activities, a snow day comes completely unplanned. All the things we had planned to do are cancelled. We’re left with a truly empty day.

And I say enjoy it. Forget for a day that your deadlines are that much closer and your inbox that is getting more full. Forget that tomorrow will probably be a nightmare as everyone tries to catch up with what they couldn’t get done today. Forget that you’re an adult with adult responsibilities.

Instead, pretend just this once that you’re a kid again. Sleep in as long as the children will let you. Don’t bother to get out of your pyjamas all day. Make pancakes and bacon for breakfast and out-of-the-box cheese pasta for lunch. Don’t do the dishes. Have everyone bring down their blankets and pillows to the living room. Put on old school movies and watch them as a family. Eat chips while you watch. Don’t worry if they end up in the couch cushions. Make forts with chairs and couch cushions. Play spies or house or pirates or whatever people like best around your place.

In other words, if you can’t have a productive day as an adult, at least have a fun day as a kid. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy yourself and at how good it feels to forget your responsibilities for a day and have a day of actual rest. You might remember that it’s okay to be a bit lazy and gluttonous and messy sometimes. You might even discover that you’re more capable of having fun with the kids than you thought.

So, I know you probably dread snow days. I know they look like a complete waste of your time. Because they are. But you may as well waste it in as fun a way as possible. Seize the day, then fritter it away. Have a real break from being a responsible adult. I don’t think you’ll regret it.