• Coach Lisa Strei

Snow Days as a Non-Pinterest-Mom

NOTE TO THE READER: This was written in chunks due to the scheduling circumstances. Keep reading—you’ll understand what I mean. 😉

If you read my blog post back from October 22nd (Balancing the Change of the Seasons—read it here), you’ll notice the first line: “I despise winter”. This winter is no different. We are on our 5th snow day in the last 7 school days. And school has already been called off for tomorrow, due to incoming bitterly cold temps (our predicted high tomorrow is -18˚). The two days last week when our school was actually in session? Well, on those days I had kiddos home with strep throat (seriously, why couldn’t that have hit on the snow days??).

As a mom of 4 who runs 2 businesses from home, I feel the pain of all parents. I look back at the days where I didn’t work for myself, and I wonder what I would have done these past two weeks. But, even then, I worked from home, so I was very blessed. My heart goes out to the parents who are reading this while taking a vacation day because they had no choice—their school was closed, their babysitter couldn’t make it into town, or maybe their daycare had to close that day. My heart goes out to the parents who are taking today unpaid. My heart goes out to the parents who have had to reschedule meetings, appointments, and other obligations because they had to stay home. God bless you all. And, God bless the families with a stay-at-home parent who is going un-phased by the sudden changes in schedules. The parent who is so adaptable that having a kid at home without warning doesn’t throw off their housework, their workouts, or getting the groceries bought for the week. They smile and bake cookies with the kids. They get out the rainy-day science kit and do fun activities. They turn their kitchen table into a sensory center and don’t get phased at all by the mess.

I wish I was that kind of mom.

The kind who grabs her camera and captures the spur-of-the-moment memories on film. And then actually develops the pictures, dates them, and puts them in a scrap book. The kind of mom who actually has the ingredients on hand to bake cookies. The kind of mom who can easily just take the day to be with her kiddos and not worry about the things she may or may not get done that day. The mom who can get on Pinterest, find some snow day activities, and do them with her kids.

But I am not. I am admittedly not adaptable. In my Clifton Strengths-Finder Assessment, Adaptability is NOT in my top 5 (it’s probably not even in my top 10). I am a planner. I took an hour on Sunday to plan out my activities for the week—when I would contact new clients, when I would do follow-ups, when I would blog (I am not writing this at the assigned time, by the way, and that is driving me crazy). I color code my planner based on which business I’m working on, if I’m working on volunteer stuff, or if I have a personal appointment. I time block. I put it on paper—black and white. It’s there. And, you know what? SNOW DAYS ARE NOT IN THE SCHEDULE!!

So, what’s a gal (or guy) to do? This is where we put our balancing hat on and do our best, adapt as much as we can, and show ourselves grace when we don’t meet our expectations. We purposely set our expectations low. Now, I don’t mean have no expectations. Rather, I’m saying that you celebrate every single win, no matter how small it may seem—don’t dismiss anything! So, you may not get that entire report written for work that day. You know what? The work will still be there tomorrow. But, if you can get a strong intro written, that’s awesome! You’ve made progress. You may not be able to make 20 new cold calls today. But maybe you can send 5 warm text messages to possible new clients. Or, maybe you can reschedule some of those appointments you had to miss because of these unforeseen circumstances. That’s important, too, right? Maybe you don’t get to shampoo your carpets on the day you had planned, or you don’t get to organize your storage closet. That’s okay! Maybe you can get a quick sweep in with the vacuum and still enjoy those fresh vacuum marks in your carpet—those are great, aren’t they? Sure, your kids may watch a little more TV than you’d like them to, but it’s not like they do it every day (turn on the subtitles, and they’re reading—boom!). Take a bit of time to play a board game with them or color—we’ve had some major Jenga towers going on at our house. And, if this blog gets written in chunks, that’s okay.

I encourage you to write down your wins. If you’re into journaling, use this as an excuse to get a beautiful new journal that inspires you. If you’re not, just buy a notebook. It doesn’t matter. But, write down what you’re grateful for, and ways that you added value to your family and your work today. A quick game of Uno means quality time with your kiddos. Vacuuming your carpet means getting up that dirt that’s been sitting there. Getting a bit of work in means less work you have to do the next day. Little wins lead to momentum which leads to bigger wins. Showing yourself grace means forgiving yourself for not getting everything done that you may have originally planned on. It’s okay! And, when that little voice in your head starts yelling at you (because those “little” voices can scream oh-so-loud, can’t they?), tell it to SHUT IT! You are doing all you can to be the best-version-of-yourself at this moment, in these sudden changes of schedule. You deserve grace, and you deserve forgiveness from that annoying little voice. Grace and forgiveness are wonderful gifts from God—we’re quick to give those gifts to others. Why can’t we be quick to give them to ourselves?

We live in a world that is go-go-go. Particularly here in America. We work through our breaks, we eat lunch at our desks, and we take our work home. For those of us based out of our homes, we never leave work. Is this good for our state of balance and wellness? I’d argue that it’s not. Work is important, meaningful work is significant, and meaningful work which you’re also passionate about is priceless. It becomes part of who we are—our being. You know what else is important to our being? Family, friends, hobbies, volunteering, reading a good book, meditation, prayer, quiet moments…These fill the soul. When our scales get out of balance by the weight of work, we need to take time for those other things to even ourselves back out. Then, we balance our being with our “doing”—the things that we accomplish. This includes the reports, the cleaning, the workouts, the grocery shopping, the cold calls…We need to have a balanced sense of accomplishment. When we have this good feeling of accomplishment (our “doing”) with a good amount of fulfillment (our “being”), then we’re in a state of balance. Is it permanent? No—that’s why you’ll see blogs and articles about the “work-life balance myth”. We have to continue to work on it. BUT, when we’re in a current state of balance? That, my friend, is a beautiful thing.

So, I may not have provided you with a bunch of snow day activities. But I pray that this provided you with some hope, some confirmation that you’re not alone with the craziness that are unplanned days off, and some tools you can use to help get you through these tougher times. If you’re interested in attending a 1-hour seminar giving you more tools to help get yourself into balance and tools to help maintain and/or adjust it, leave me a comment. I’d love to have you. You can read a description of this seminar here to give you an idea of what it entails.

BTW—this post was completed on the first day back to school, in my favorite coffee shop, drinking my drink of choice while my kids are filling their minds with learning and wisdom. This was not on the schedule. Oh well. Grace is good.

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