My Working Mom Perspective: Hot, Cold and Snow Days

My Working Mom Perspective: Hot Cold and Snow Days via


Yet again another early dismissal, it was too HOT for the kids at school. “Don’t they have air conditioning” my mother questioned. I replied a reluctant, “Yes they do, but I guess other schools don’t.”


I left work every day at one o’clock during that week of steamy weather, so hot that it would fry an egg on the playground blacktop {it’s true a weatherman even tried it.} I schlepped E to the office with me {I’m lucky like that} and made him sit and do homework or draw. He was bored and I was annoyed, because I couldn’t get any work done with him in my office. I was also annoyed that I had to stay late that week to make up the time I took off to go get him.


Fast forward to the Polar Vortex, and it’s the same situation only this time it’s so cold it will freeze an egg on the playground blacktop. I’m tired of the phone ringing and if I ever meet our Superintendent of schools I might just kick him in the shin. Actually better yet I’ll have him babysit my son and all the other children of working and single-working moms who have had to struggle to find childcare, pay for childcare or jeopardize their jobs to accommodate for Mother Nature’s wrath.


Don’t get me wrong I love a good snow day like anyone else. We cuddle up, play games, drink cocoa, watch movies and enjoy time together. But…there comes a breaking point and that happened when I realized my vacation time at work was gone. Poof! Vanished in the blink of a half a dozen “snow” days and regularly scheduled “no school” days.


I’ve discussed these “panic” school cancellations with friends over dinner.


“Do you remember walking to school when it was cold?”


“Yes! I think there was time it was 80 below and I still had to walk. Oh, and it was uphill both directions and all I had was windbreaker.”


Ok, maybe that last part is an exaggeration and maybe we are just getting old, but seriously…I felt like we had school no matter what. I remember riding home on the bus in blizzard-like conditions. When I was in middle school I remember walking to school without a hat, because I didn’t want to mess up my AquaNet do, and my ear getting a smidge bit of frostbite. But my ear is still here and I survived. Sometimes I feel we are in a society of overly sensitive administrators who are so scared they will be “in trouble” that they overact. We live in Iowa, it’s going to be really freaking hot and it’s going to be really freaking cold deal with it.


While I understand this year is an anomaly, it’s been so very hard on the working parents in my office and other businesses around the country. There has to be an easier way … I’ve pondered the idea of creating a babysitter phone tree. The biggest issue is many of our babysitters are college students and they never did cancel college classes. {Ironic since half of campus has to walk EVERYWHERE, but I digress} I do have a high school student on retainer. However, when I heard E had pretended she was a Tauntaun and rode her around the house, I doubt she will return.


The biggest solution would be if businesses were more accommodating to these parts of parenthood. Allowing more flex-time or the ability to work from home on days when really no one should be out and about.



This is obviously a bigger battle than can be fought within the confines of my tiny little writing space, but I just want all you parents who have sacrificed your family vacations in the name of “snow” days to know that you are not alone.


I’m now going to hide in my turtleneck until summer, when it’s warmer and I get my vacation days back.


Red Turtleneck

My Perspective: Adults Want Gifts Too

Under the soft glow of the Christmas tree there they lay. Boxes of various sizes wrapped in Santa paper, his jolly face smack dab in the middle of swirling ribbons, which covered his hair making it look green instead of white like the snow. I made my way slowly over to the bounty of gifts. Tip toeing on little barefoot feet so as not to arouse suspicions. It wasn’t time yet, but I was so excited. I just wanted to see one. One shiny box that was mine, touch it, feel it, shake it.



Finally, I spot one, a tiny package carefully wrapped and full of ribbons. “You can open one tonight,” said my mom. “Then you need to save the rest till tomorrow.” Without hesitation I snapped the ribbons and ripped Santa’s face in two.


Ironically, I don’t remember what was in the box. Probably a pair of earrings or a necklace, but I DO remember that feeling.


You know the feeling of being special enough that someone would want to give you a gift. I also remember the next day, when I was so excited to give my mom her gift that I didn’t even care about my own.


There’s some special about giving and receiving gifts, it makes my heart sing. One of the five love languages is gift giving, it’s a way we show each other we care.


Unfortunately, now that I’m 40 I guess gift giving is a faux pas. “Oh, consumerism is running rampant. We must stop this mindless gift giving.” Whoa fella slow down…my gift giving isn’t mindless. I solicit lists, and spend painstaking hours finding THE gift to ensure my recipient’s heart will melt upon first sight. I want to see tears people!


But alas, this year a lot of our gift giving is falling by the wayside. “Let’s just do the kids,” my family laments, “because Christmas and gifts are more for the kids than adults anyway.”




Oh, no it’s not.


I spend all year thinking of things to put on my list. Yes, I have a list. A running list that I add items to throughout the year.


Not because I’m greedy, but because I spend the money we have on groceries, toilet paper and diapers instead of that cute sweater from LOFT. There are items on the list I’d NEVER buy for myself, like cozy PJs or sheets. Heck the last time I bought sheets was three years ago and that’s only because there were holes in them.


We aren’t poverty stricken or anything it’s just I can’t justify spending money on those things. It seems extravagant. So I just save them for my Christmas list.


I’ve gotten the stink-eye from relatives about the list. Shaming me and poking fun by giving me their lists with items like a new house, or a million dollars. HA, hilarious…


I make the list because otherwise I’ll end up with a random giftcard to a random place that we don’t even have here in Iowa {yes that happened}.


Some crazy people have suggested that gifts are fine, but “let’s do something handmade or homemade.” Ummmm, yeah…I am NOT the person to handmake or bake anything so your gift will still be coming from a mall or most likely Target because I’ll have to buy diapers and toilet paper while getting your meaningful gift.


Here’s the deal, I want to feel that excitement of opening gifts just as much as my six-year-old {why do you think I “help” him open gifts} It’s not even what’s inside that matters in fact, you could wrap said box of diapers and toilet paper, pop it under the tree. I’d be as excited as I was that Christmas morning, because you thought enough of me to save me a trip to Target {even though I love their popcorn}, so I can sit on my butt and watch Glee.


This year before you send out that email telling the family to nix the gifts this year or give someone crap over their Christmas list, maybe rethink the gift giving. Remember the TRUE meaning of gifting isn’t about the gift so much as it is about making someone feel special.  Once you see the smile on their face you might feel special too.

My Perspective: Apologies and Eye Rolls



“Shit” I mutter to myself and then immediately mouth “I’m sorry” to the little old lady crossing the street who almost ended up meeting the front end of my car.




“I’m sorry” I tell little red as I reluctantly yet swiftly exit his preschool classroom while a chorus of screams and tears follow me down the hall.




“I’m sorry” I repeat over and over as a client berates me in front of my co-workers, and tears burn my eyes.




“Mommy, can you play with me” the big boy inquires. “I’m sorry” I say guiltily, “I still need to make dinner.”




“You awake” my husband asks. “I’m sorry” I mumble sleepily from my comfy place on the couch.




“I’m sorry” has been on my lips more than ever this past week.


I’ll admit I’m a chronic apologizer. Heck I’ll apologize that it’s raining or that I wore the sweater you hate, whatever it is I’ll apologize for it.


It’s truly a sickness, and I’m truly getting sick of it.


Sure there are moments a heartfelt “I’m sorry” is needed. Like the above scenarios. But there are also times, like one of the above, when I just want to say…


“Seriously? Cut me some slack. Have you never ever made a mistake? Sometimes shit happens and I’ve already apologized FIVE times so get over it already.”


Yeah…I’d like to say that.


But instead I kowtow to the bully and take the verbal beating, which makes me look and feel like a wimp.


I’m not sure why I do this. Perhaps it’s because I hate confrontation or I just want to make everyone happy {it’s the Libra in me} or because at a certain point NOTHING I say is going to matter…heck even the “I’m sorry” doesn’t matter.


Ahhh…maybe THAT’S why I say I’m sorry so much. Because I want it make a difference. The more I say it the more I hope it will make you less angry, sad or frustrated.


Yep…I think that’s it.


But it won’t make a difference unless the person at the other end of the apology acknowledges it, and let’s admit it no one does. Well, not in a positive way.


I’ve had my apologies greeted with one finger salutes, more yelling, some eye rolls and a “poopie mommy”.


That’s harsh…


I get it. I totally do.


I’ve been on the other end of an apology and kind of blown it off. Let it fall out of the givers mouth and die in the air with an impassioned eye roll.


However, I’m trying to change that.


If there is a family issue I make sure we all say “I forgive you” to the apologizer. It really does solidify the meaning behind the apology. The offender feels better, because let’s face it they already know they’ve screwed up, and an eye roll isn’t necessary to affirm that fact. And seriously after you say “I forgive you” it douses the mads, sads and angrys a little bit.


I’m also trying to change my chronic apologizing. It’s boring and I’m sure you’d like to me say something more profound like, “bummer”, “that sucks” or “well crap”. I also might say things like “I totally get it”, “I feel your pain”, “I want to make it better” or I’m might just give you hug.


Tonight when I inevitably get cut off on my way home from work and the driver gives me the “I’m sorry” hand wave I’ll remember to greet that apology positively instead of with a one finger salute.