Thursday night: everyone was SUPER excited about the snow day.
Friday: Moms across Memphis were beaming happily at their kids’ wide eyes and smiles when they woke up and looked out the window to find their neighborhoods covered in white. The excitement was almost too much to bear. Some moms were even spotted outside playing amongst their little cherubs despite the frigid temperatures. Cute pictures of kids making snow angels and little ones stuffed into snowsuits filled social media – and we all loved it.
Fast forward to today: Wednesday. With a weekend and a holiday thrown into the mix, we are on DAY 6 OF NO SCHOOL.
Has your beaming face turned into a screaming face? It’s hit Facebook as fast as a scandal hits Star Magazine. Memphis moms have turned to the one place they know they can vent in an attempt to not feel alone in the dire situation they’ve found themselves in.
Instead of asking the neighbor to borrow a cup of milk, requests are being made to borrow cups of wine. Calls have been put into the in-laws. To babysitters who live within walking distance. And in some instances, there are moms who have even attempted to leave their homes in this dreadful weather. Because maybe, just maybe, if they’re lucky, at least one of those little cherubs will fall asleep allowing for just a bit of a reprieve from the chaos.
Some of you, though, are having no luck at a reprieve. I’m talking to you, Mom, sitting on the couch holding that cold cup of coffee you poured this morning, staring into space as your kids run around like tiny tornados in your living room. Or you Mumma, who is feeling guilty that even the sound of your kids laughing together is driving you nuts. (No shame, we’ve all been there!) I’m also talking to you, who is hiding in the bathroom right now reading this (no worries, that’s where I am right now while I write this), ignoring all little people summoning you, just to catch a moment’s peace.
Friends, I homeschool 3 small children, all of whom are boys, if anyone gets it, it’s me. I’m here to give you permission. It’s past lunchtime. If you’re still in your pajamas, I give you permission to stay that way, and your kids too. I give you permission to let your kids have more screen time than usual, and if you feel it’s safe, maybe doze off for a few while they’re occupied. I give you permission to give yourself a break today even if you feel like you’ve given yourself a “break” the last few days. Truth is, a break for a mom at home with the kids isn’t really much of a break anyway. So if you’re losing your mind today – deep breaths, and do what you need to do to survive without beating yourself up. It’s not like this is a common occurrence that the people of Memphis are getting snowed in; there’s a light at the end of the tunnel here, trust me.
There are days when I’m at home with my kiddos that I feel are a total loss. Days when I’m not sure when the whining, and the fighting, and the crying began. And I’m even less sure of when it will end. Here are some of my go-to tricks when I’m feeling desperate.
Read a book out loud.
This sounds too easy and most of you will think it won’t work. But really, what do you have to lose here? The trick to this is: do NOT announce what you’re doing. Do NOT ask what book anyone wants to read. Pick up a kid’s book; maybe one they haven’t heard in a while, and simply start reading out loud like you love it. This works with my 9-year-old, as well as my 3 and 5-year-old. You might have to fight through it for a few minutes. If they say they don’t want to read, just tell them you’re not reading to them, you’re reading to yourself. Kids don’t expect us to play hard to get; works like a charm!
Make a normal activity out to be way more amazing than it really is.
“Hey everyone! Guess what we’re doing to do in five minutes?! PLAYING MOVIE THEATRE! Everyone find a seat at the theatre, the movie is starting soon, and I’m providing free snacks and drinks!”
Maybe throw some blankets and pillows on the floor. Whatever you need to do just to change it up enough so that it feels different and special. Get those kids watching a movie and go get something done, or take a coffee break!
For the: “there’s nothing to do” kid.
If you have a child who frequently claims there’s nothing to do while standing in the midst of one million toys (I personally produced one of those myself), then I recommend this: pose whatever you want them to do by letting them choose between two things. And by choosing between two things I mean: “So here are the choices for things to do right now: you may either: empty the dishwasher or play Legos. Which do you choose?” If they still give you a hard time, make them empty the dishwasher!
Give them a “play” bath.
This is great for some of the younger kids especially, but this also works surprisingly well with my 9-year-old too. I have 3 kids and my goal is usually to sneak just one of them away for a tub. Let’s face it, taking one kid out of the mix is game-changing. I’ll get some toys, fill the bath with bubbles and tell them they don’t even have to wash, they just get to play or relax!
Keep reminding yourself that your kids’ routines have been thrown off too. As much as they might love that they don’t have school, it’s definitely throwing them off as well and they probably don’t even realize it. So cut them some slack too. You’re almost there, girls…and I’m pretty sure it’s 5:00 somewhere!
Bottoms Chin up!