Here in Boston we’re staring down snow day number five out of the last 10 days of school. It hasn’t been called yet, but as we’re expecting another foot of snow I’d say things are looking good/bad (depending on if you’re a six year old or the parent of a six year old.) Not that we haven’t had our glorious snow day moments of sledding, snowperson building, hot chocolate sipping, couch cuddling, crafting, and cooking. We have. But we’ve also had tantrums, crying, whining, door slamming, and, once, a chair throwing. Oh, and shoveling, snow blowing, de-icing, roof leaking, and pre-storm grocery shopping. We all feel a little cooped up. A smidgen of cabin fever. The teeniest bit of, you know, INSANITY.
Thankfully, I have a plan.
Last week, between snow storms, I had coffee with a friend. When I asked how she and her family had managed during the two feet of snow and two days of no school, she said, “Yeah, Jillian watched five hours of TV straight.” I waited for the hurried apology that usually follows such a confession. The and-oh-my-god-I-feel-so-bad-about-it or the and-I’m-such-a-terrible-parent-and-person. But instead, my friend just said, “I got my work done and no one yelled.” And she didn’t even whisper the part about five hours of TV. SHE IS THE MOST BRILLIANT AND AWESOMEST FRIEND EVER.
I have felt bad about TV for years. YEARS. I worry that I let Zoey watch too much. That her brain is rotting out of her head and it’s all my fault. That all this excessive TV watching proves I’m not a good enough parent. And so I make her turn off the TV even when I’m fatigued, in pain, and frankly, have no business interacting with another living thing. Then I yell. Sometime she cries. And things are worse. And I curse myself for not doing what I know I need to do, which is use the TV to my advantage.
Lately, I’m getting better at reasoning with myself. It’s only PBS Kids. It’s not like it’s FOX news. Or porn. I try and remember that sometimes TV can keep the peace in the house. It can give us all the extra down time we need to get through the day successfully.
So that’s my big snow day plan: TV. We will play in the snow (meaning I will watch Zoey from the living room window as she frolics about). Zoey will drink hot chocolate with fresh and buoyant little marshmallows (Points for me! I remembered to buy marshmallows so now we can throw out the stale ones left over from 4th of July!). We will yet again make some kind of craft involving pipe cleaners, ribbon, glue, glitter, and the last remaining shreds of my patience. We will watch TV. For as long as necessary. And instead of feeling guilt ridden and ashamed, I will feel smug and joyful. Because that’s what snow days are all about. Bring it on, third blizzard of 2015! Bring. It. On.