Snow days and all their complications

I really hope everyone in Australia is safe.

Those of us in the US and Canada seem to have been having a lot of snow lately.

I called a snow day for my kids today, despite the fact that the mayor kept the schools open. I could only do that because I was able to work from home today, and let the kids watch a lot of tv and whack each other with lightsabers while I work and lock myself in the bathroom when I need to talk to clients.

How the heck do we work this out? Individually and collectively?

What do you do if school is cancelled but you still have to be at work?

What do you do if school is NOT cancelled but in your judgment it's too dangerous to take the kids in, but you need to work?

I ride the same train to take my kids to school that people were stuck on for 10 hours when the blizzard hit after Christmas. I just couldn't imagine putting my kids on that train, not knowing how or if it would run.

Do you have options? How do you get your kids to school or daycare? Do you have a back-up plan?

27 thoughts on “Snow days and all their complications”

  1. We are lucky in that 3 days a week our son goes next door for daycare. It’s literally out our door, around a post and into theirs (it’s an apartment complex). So no worries about snow days here. But, we don’t really get days off work for snow days (it takes a mega-event up here in MN), so once he’s in school I’m not sure what we’ll do.

  2. My husband is a professor in the same county as our daycare and so far any cancelation has been the same for both of them (generally, cancelled on the threat of snow).I however, work in a hospital, so I drove in Monday morning, spent the day retreiving RNs (bonus of being a yankee in the south – I am USEFUL!), spent the night, and went home yesterday.
    I will be interested to see about tomorrow. In my eyes, everything could have been running today but I may end up taking the day off if Husband works but there is no daycare … just dunno yet.

  3. One of the benefits of being a teacher is that we get snow days, too. So that made it easy this morning. However, where I work does a better job of clearing the roads than where I live, so I had planned to call off anyway, if it was bad here, regardless of what my school did. Coordinating care for my daughter when she is sick is harder. I rely on my mother, but she works also, and isn’t always available.

  4. We had really spectacular snow and ice in December in the UK, and there were at least two mornings where we set off with our two year old to work and daycare and had to turn back because there were no spaces on the buses or trains and we couldn’t keep waiting with him in the freezing cold. And there was very little information about whether his nursery would be open or not, which was frustrating as we would struggle into work only to find that one of us had to turn round and do an hour-long commute home with a grumpy toddler. But this was all very mild in comparison to the stories of others.After losing nearly a week of work in total, the best (or worst) was having to email an editor in Chicago to say that an assignment would be very late due to 5cm of snow.

  5. My youngest son’s daycare is where I work (although managed by separate companies so snow days do not always correspond between the two). My eldest son attends a school at the top of a ridge in our city. If we don’t think we can get there safely, he stays home with my husband, who works from home. That’s pretty rare, though, maybe once a year or less. When I save up enough leave, I hope I’ll just use them as snow days when I want to/feel I need to.

  6. It depends on the severity of the snow. Yesterday’s snow day was the type that occurs most frequently for us: the school district closes but our son’s afterschool program opens at 8 AM for the day. (And we LOVE them for it.) If the weather was more severe and the afterschool program couldn’t open, the next plan is to bring him into campus with us, and shuttle him back and forth between our offices so we can take meetings without our son. Those are really the only tough days, because we have to do a quick rescheduling of both of our days so there’s no conflicts and come up with an “entertainment kit” for our son. (one thing that has helped: keep some crayons/paper/small toys/kid-friendly snacks in my desk. Then you always have something handy for those days). If the snow is any more severe than that, then we’d all stay home.

  7. If it looks like bad weather is coming, I always re-arrange as much of my day before as possible so I have the maximum amount of “at home” work possible. And make sure I take home any needed paperwork. Inevitably I end up working at night after the kiddos are in bed.

  8. Well, I live in San Diego, so snow days aren’t really an issue here.We do get fire days, though- when the whole city shuts because the air isn’t safe to breathe and half of the people are evacuating their homes. Luckily, those are so rare that I pretty much just don’t work.
    And right before Christmas, we got an unexpected rain day- our day care was shut because the roads into it were flooded. So the kids stayed home with me. This was possible because I’m not working right now- I was laid off in November. See? There’s a bright side to that! (Actually, there really is, but that isn’t relevant here.)
    So anyway, if the rain day had happened and I hadn’t been unemployed, one of us would have stayed home with the kids. Back in the days when we both had jobs that could be done remotely, we might have tried having both of us stay home, and trade off kid duty. The baby just isn’t old enough to let anyone get much work done while caring for her, really. Now, when my youngest is the age of my oldest (i.e., about 3.5), I could see that changing. We could definitely use TV to let us get some work done then.

  9. I’ve never had to deal with the school district being less cautious than I am.I am able to do a fair bit of telecommuting, and my office is understanding about the need to take leave unexpectedly.
    It helps to have kids of school age — schools opened late this morning, and they dug out a board game without any prompting from me.

  10. Ugh, this issue has been killing me during this first winter as a mom!I live where it snows a lot. I also have a job where working from home is no big deal – my 8 member team is spread out among 3 states & 2 countries already anyway, so being at home for a day it’s not like you’re missing face time with anyone. So in the old days, if it snowed, I just worked from home – no problem.
    Now we have the baby, and his daycare is 5 minutes from work, which is 25 minutes from our house. He’s not even six months, so there’s no way I could really work with him at home, but to get him to daycare basically means going to work. So now every time it snows I have to decide if I want to eat up PTO or risk my life trying to get to work.
    Honestly, work is actually really awesome about it but I would rather use that PTO in the warm sunny summer to do something fun than to burn it up just sitting in my house watching the snow fall!

  11. We don’t experience severe enough weather for the day care to be closed, since it’s right next door so we walk downstairs and into the next building and there it is. England seems to get paralyzed by even two inches of snow but very rarely do offices get shut down because of it. However, we cycle to/from work so if there’s too much snow/ice on the ground, we’d stay home and work while Boo is at daycare next door.In HK (where I grew up) we would often get typhoons (hurricanes) and the city has a unified signal system that affects ALL schools and offices; so if school is suspended then work (for the most part) is suspended too. So everyone stays home 🙂 However, a lot of the service industry (restaurants, taxis, etc) would remain open because they actually continue to get business.

  12. I have 5 weeks of vacation a year and I’m currently on work furlough which gives me 10 unpaid days that I have to take. DH works at the same place and has less vacation, but usually has more on the books as I use mine for DD’s doctor and dentist appts and sick days. We have no backup of any kind, so we cover it somehow. Although, I do have one friend who is retired who said if we ever got cut short and DD was mostly recovered but not well enough for school, we could let her spend the day over there. I hate to ask, though. Our daycare was never, ever closed except for a big, freak power outage after Hurrican Ike remnants hit us. DD is schoolage now and we just take turns on her snow days, delays, and early releases. She goes to Y latchkey at her school, but they don’t provide care when there is no school. Last summer we looked at a Catholic school for her and their latchkey program had the unusual benefit of being committed to providing all-day care on snow days. Amazing.We would like to change jobs, but this one really provides for having a child in ways that others would not. I almost feel guilty discussing it because I know others have it really hard in this area. I just wish our society didn’t seem to have it in for parents sometimes.

  13. My daughter has had 4 full days of school since (I think) December 4. She hasn’t been to school this week at all, and there’s already a 3 hour delay planned for tomorrow – and I won’t be at all surprised if they end up cancelling altogether. As a Yankee girl in the south, I’m fed up! The truth is, most of the days this week were pretty bad, but all the cancellations and delays before that were pretty ridiculous.My work generally gets cancelled if school is cancelled, so that’s good. If for some reason it didn’t, I’d have to take her with me, which would not be fun for anybody. I wish I had a better backup plan, more for when she gets sick than for snow days. I’ve tried to get babysitters at the last minute in those situations, and it just doesn’t work.
    We are getting some serious cabin fever over here, and relying on audio books and netflix more than I really like.

  14. Amazingly we have relatively not a lot of snow for this time of year. Itsnows a lot here, so we have amazing snow removal, and it takes a lot to stall the city (like in the 50-60 cm range). And winter tires here are mandatory. So, I think snow days here for schools is rare. And I maybe have one or two days per winter (if any) where I work from home because of snow storms.If we have a situation where DS needs to stay home without warning (or even with warning actually), one of us stays home, and takes a day off. I get 5 days of sick leave/ year to take care of immediate family members who are sick, so I’m often the one who stays home. As DS is 2.5, they get eaten up pretty quickly. Anyhow we always work it out as we don’t have grandparents in the city. Which I have to say we would totally appreciate (if they were near by). Worst case scenario is that I’ll work while DS naps, but it’s so unpredictable. And invariably, the days I need to work during his nap are the days of where he naps for an hour or less.

  15. No complaints here. Hubby is in a really flexible position that provides for working from home when needed, and short of program days, I can do whatever I need to as well. Super, super blessed!

  16. my god I’m crapping about this with the amount of snow we get. My work has a “come into the office even if you’re hooked up to an IV and you’re dying” mentality. Working from home is not an option (unless you’re one of the privilleged few tight with management) even though my job could totally be done from home 80% of the time. thankfully my husband has a flexible job so he would just stay home. It sucks he’s the one that has to take the fall but it makes more sense that way.

  17. We have a standing arrangement with a high school student who is in the same school district, that she will come babysit for my first-grader on snow days. I can do some work from home and my husband, a college prof, has some flexibility on days he doesn’t have as many classes. Still requires some tap-dancing and effort to get this to work, but we persevere.

  18. Like Rachel, I’m blessed. Husband has a flexible schedule, I have an understanding boss. Our daycare is in a home in our neighborhood, so, if must be, DH can get them there.

  19. We go skiing. (Seriously, this is one of the few perks of living in the mountains in the middle of nowhere.) That, and kids watch a lot of TV and nothing gets done.@Moxie’s 10-hour stalled NYC train report (eek!) suddenly reminds me of all the things we’re like “supposed” to always have on hand in the case of an emergency. But, honestly, who does? An ad on the local radio the other day reminded me that I’m supposed to keep all of the following in the trunk of my car during the winter: hat, gloves, blanket, flares, first aid kit, working flashlight, hand-crank radio, bottled water, shovel, non-perishable food, etc, etc. How many of those things do I actually have ready where they are “supposed” to be? Like one. 😉

  20. One of the (seemingly few at the moment) advantages of living in Australia is that we don’t need snow days…….bushfire days
    …flood days
    …cyclone days
    …I just got eaten by a crocodile / jellyfish / snake /spider day
    might be a bit handy.

  21. We live in New England so snow days are fairly common. Our daycare is usually good about staying open, but I feel really badly that the teachers have to come in and risk their lives on the roads. If the roads are really bad, or it’s just too much snow to clean up in a timely manner, I am capable of working from home, and my team is very flexible about that. I know how fortunate I am in this regard because my last job made you use a vacation day – even if you could log in from home and be productive.That said, it’s hard to get any work done if my son is around. He’s 5, so he can be independent for a while, and I can get bits of work done here and there, but it’s not easy. Luckily, the days he’s been home sick, or snow days, have been fairly light work days for me and we just manage it. I also have a generous amount of PTO days so I can always use one if I really need to, but like someone else said, I’d rather save those for other purposes.
    My husband can’t work from home and he won’t get paid if he doesn’t work, so he either trudges in, if possible, or sucks it up and stays home, unpaid. We always manage to make it work somehow, but man, I really don’t like getting out of our routine!

  22. this week my husband took off a vacation day on Monday (1/2 day) when my kindergartner got out 3 hours early for a storm that didn’t start for another 6 hours. On Tuesday, neither she or the toddler had school so I stayed home with them (I don’t teach on Tuesday so all I missed was a meeting).On Wednesday the toddler had daycare (‘school’) but the K-girl did not. So she went to class with me. she was bored out of her mind. And in between classes I had to prep for the next one b/c Tuesday was a bust. So from her point of view it was 6 hours of mind-numbing dullness. even with crayons and plenty of paper.
    I wish i had a high school student in the neighborhood to babysit!

  23. I always believe that everything has two side and that is why I can see benefit and loss both in all the things. I can understand complications of snowy days but because of snow we can enjoy holidays at hill station and at snowy places.

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