Where are the Nannies Without Borders when you need them? For working parents who have already blown through their repertoire of “fun things to do with kids when you’re stuck inside!” — and also their patience and vacation days– this winter has been particularly cruel.
And it threatens to get worse. In Boston earlier this month, on the same day that school was cancelled, yet again, an assistant professor at the Harvard Kennedy School unleashed a pro-snow day study. 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. Talk about kicking parents while they’re down.
Psychologists have yet to name the combination of despair and bitterness a snow day can trigger, but it’s not unlike the famous five stages of grief described by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.
Based on interviews I’ve conducted with house-bound would-be working parents, they are:
Stage One: Denial
- “It doesn’t look like it’s accumulating.”
- “The meteorologists are always wrong.”
- “If they were going to call a snowday, they would have called it already.”
Stage Two: Anger
- “I stayed home last time — my husband/wife is staying home tomorrow.”
- “Let my boss spend the day with a two-year-old and see how easy it is to get work done.”
- “When I was a kid they never cancelled school.”
Stage Three: Bargaining
- “If they don’t cancel school tomorrow, I promise I will: a) chaperone a field trip; b) get off my phone when my son is at bat; c) be better about making sure my kids floss, and not just the morning of the dentist appointment.”
Stage Four: Depression
- “That brown-noser in accounting is going to make a play for my job.”
- “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.”
Stage five: Acceptance
- “My children are going to spend eight hours playing Madden.”
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