For parents who’d already blown through their repertoire of “things to do with kids when you’re stuck inside” — and also exhausted their patience and vacation days — this past week was particularly cruel.
First the snow dropped, or didn’t, forcing the closure of schools on Wednesday. Then, as if intentionally hitting moms and dads when they were down, a pro-snow day study dropped. Done by an assistant professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, it concluded that snow days don’t, in fact, have a negative impact on learning, a finding that threatens to embolden superintendents to err on the side of cancellation.
Psychologists have yet to name the combination of despair and bitterness a snow day can trigger in grown-ups, but it’s not unlike the famous stages of grief described by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Based on interviews with house-bound parents, they are:
Denial: “If they were going to call it they would have called it already.” “It doesn’t look like it’s accumulating.” “The meteorologists are always wrong.”
Anger: “I stayed home last time — my husband/wife is staying home tomorrow.” “Let my boss spend the day with a 2-year-old and see how easy it is to get work done.” “When I was a kid they
never canceled school.”
Bargaining: “If they don’t cancel school I promise I will: a) chaperone a field trip; b) get off my phone when my son steps up to bat; c) ensure my kids floss.’’
Depression: “I’m going to be stuck at home with a toddler and a kindergartner and they’re going to want to go sledding.” “I am powerless over the hot chocolate and brownies I bought in a pathetic attempt to make the day seem festive.” “That brown-noser in accounting is going to make a play for my job.”
Acceptance: “My children are going to spend eight hours playing Madden.”