On day 5 of our snow day/weekend/holiday stretch of no school, it occurred to me why moms get so tired, but get less done when the kids are home. It happened as a culmination of watching moms corral hordes of kids through the movie theatre and then sit staring at their broken nails at an indoor laser tag playland. Moms hate snow days because when the kids are home, we have to become the entertainment provider, chaffeur, and cook for an additional six hours of the day.
I’ve told my kids, “I am not your cruise director.” Of course, they have no idea what this means, not having grown up watching The Love Boat, but I say it anyway and they give me that “there she goes again, saying things we don’t understand” look.
Nonetheless, we moms often find ourselves being in charge of entertainment, or at least chauffeuring to entertainment, otherwise, they sit on the couch watching endless, not-funny, canned laugh track kids’ TV or home decorating and cooking shows that they just truly can't find interesting. Of course, the driving takes up time we would be doing whatever it is we usually do when they're in school (laundry, housework, writing, getting a manicure and full-body massage – okay, okay, a girl can dream). And then we sit there and wait for them to finish being entertained. Eventually, the kids also want to be fed, so either we pay for a wonderful restaurant meal with kids who have been cooped up in the house or make lunch (which for some reason seems to be a lot more work when they are home than when I pack their lunches in the morning.)
As we left the laser tag place, I said to my two who were too young to be left there alone, “You know, you can play tag at home. You don’t have to go to a certain place and pay $10 to play for half an hour.” Blank stares flashed at me from the rearview mirror.
“Where would we get lasers from?” “And how would we make it dark?” “And how would we know that the other person got hit?”
I carefully explained to them that (1) they could wait ‘til dark and play with flashlights or (2) play in the day time and just tag each other. Or hey, what’s all this white stuff on the ground? Maybe if they formed it into little balls, they could throw it at each other. In the summer, they could maybe exchange it for water guns or water balloons. And they could play for however long they wanted to, not just until the timer went off. Just thinking, but these alternatives just might work. They were amazed by my ideas.
Now I’m rethinking snowdays. Next time, I’m not scouring my brain for things I can do with them in the house or places to take them when the roads are clear. I’m going to let them sleep in a little bit, feed them breakfast, pack their lunches, and then send them outside with instructions not to come back until 3 pm. I'll be inside, painting my nails.
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