The Work-at-Home Mom's Guide to Snow Days - by Emily Cretella for MotherHustle
This isn’t my first snow-deo: here are my best tips for being a work-at-home mom and dealing with incessant snow-day school cancellations.

I’m a lifelong New England girl, so I shouldn’t be complaining.

But I am. WTF, snow.

In the past week, my kids have had three snow days. Three. And, it’s March. And, mama’s got shit to do.

Because that’s the trade-off of running your own business, right? There’s no calling out. There’s no putting-it-off. Your business keeps going — unless it doesn’t. So you need to keep up with your workload, and your clients, and your team, and your daily to-do’s, if you want to keep this whole thing in “balance.”

Well mamas, lucky for you: this isn’t my first snow-deo.

I’ve now been in business for myself for 6+ years and, during that time, I’ve had two kids that have had tons of snow days and rain days (yep, rain days) and wind days (YES, wind days) and school delays of one kind or another. So I’ve kind of got this whole snow-day/work-day thing figured out.

Here are my best tips for being a work-at-home mom and dealing with incessant snow-day school cancellations:

#1: Get up early.

I know, I know: you night-owl mamas are cursing me right now. But if you know snow is in the forecast and you sleep in until your kids get up, you will regret it later. Let me repeat that: YOU WILL REGRET IT LATER.

Get up early and organize the details of your workday before the kids get up. Respond to emails, reschedule meetings, finish up that due-today project.

Try to tie up immediate ends before your children start pulling at your pajamas and asking when they can go outside. This will seriously help to lessen the overwhelm of a looming “wasted” day.

#2: Schedule everything.

School-age kids are used to structure and schedules. (Have you ever seen how down-to-the-minute these school days are scheduled?!) I know that my kids do so much better when timeframes are involved. An entire open, free day may seem exciting at first … but given completely free reign over their time (and the house) usually leads to quick chaos.

Now, I’m not saying you need to take the fun, free-play out of the day. Just naming time periods, and putting a “start” and “stop” time to timeframes, helps kids understand that no, it’s not snack time, or lunch time, or TV time, or dinner time yet.

Some common activities that make it on to our snow-day agenda include:

  • Crafts
  • Baking
  • Reading
  • Kid-choice
  • Board games
  • TV
  • Video games
  • Chores (see #2)

On the first of our (many) snow days, I created our “SNOW FUN!” agenda myself, breaking the day down hour-by-hour and setting general activities for each time block. After my kids got the hang of it, they began “helping me” by creating their own. It was nice to sit down in the morning and plan our day together — and it got them to be more apt to abide by the schedule since they created it.

Snow day agenda / schedule for kids

An example of one of our recent snow day schedules (@motherhustle)

#3: Put them to work for you.

Of course, snow days are supposed to be fun. I look back lovingly on my own days spent building snow forts, drinking hot chocolate and watching every ’80s cartoon imaginable. But snow days are also LONG. You can still fit in all of those idyllic snow-day activities and put your kids to work for you.

Here are some around-the-house chores your kids can help with so that you feel productive at the end of the day:

  • Folding laundry
  • Washing dishes
  • Cleaning their rooms
  • Sorting through old toys and books to donate
  • Trying on seasonal clothes to see what needs to be replaced
  • Meal planning
  • Dinner prep (chopping, washing veggies, etc.)
  • Vacuuming or dusting

Feel free to set up a reward (bribe?) system to incentivize them. Fold laundry? Extra outdoor time! Wash dishes? Extra screen time! This snow day should be a win-win for both of you.

#4: Alternate together time with separate time.

It’s super easy for mom guilt to settle in on snow days. You have a lot to do, so you try to keep your kids occupied so that you can work. But then you feel bad about not spending enough time with them. The ridiculous cycle is endless.

To combat this, I make sure I have set times during the day when I’m involved in their activities, and set times when they’re on their own. I’ll sit down and do a craft with them, or bake some cookies, or read them stories. Then they’ll have time to play together, or watch TV or play on a tablet. That’s when I’ll grab my laptop and get to work.

Making sure you pay attention to both sides of the motherhustle on snow days is the best way to feel good at the end of a (looooong) day together.

#5: Give yourself some friggin’ grace.

TV time is fine. Tablet time is fine. Fighting-over-a-stupid-little-toy time is fine. Let your kids do their own thing. Don’t feel bad about taking those breaks, even if you DON’T have to get work done right away.

The best way to survive a snow day with your kids is to maintain your own sanity. And if that means drinking all the coffee, or letting them watch Moana 10 times in a row, or having a big glass of wine at dinner, you do it mama.

Thankfully, snow days are not EVERY day. Take it for what it is, do what you can, and then take Elsa’s advice and let it go.

Do you have any other snow-day survival tips for work-at-home moms? Share them in the comments below or over on Facebook and Instagram!


Emily Cretella is the founder of MotherHustle.com, as well as the copywriting and content marketing firm CursiveContent.com, where she helps clients create + share stories their audiences love.

She adores being mom to her two little ladies and drinking obscene amounts of coffee from mugs with pithy sayings. Find her on Instagram, and learn more about ways you can collaborate with MotherHustle.

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  • Catherine

    Good advice. It’s been rough! Especially with a toddler who isn’t quite skilled at playing ALONE yet!

    March 25, 2018 at 10:20 pm

  • […] Before you know it, you're the point person for everything – finishing up what's left of the dishes, being available for package deliveries, and (worst of all) being the babysitter when school declares "Snow Day!" […]

    May 7, 2018 at 9:30 pm

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