My second day of preschool was a SNOW DAY! Instead of entering the world of four-year-olds, I learned exactly how difficult it is to be the mother of two preschoolers when it snows. My son was excited to play in the snow; he has been asking to go outside since the blizzard three weeks ago. Timing and weather hadn't yet permitted it, and I couldn't devise a legitimate excuse this week. After all, childhood in winter is all about playing in the snow.
So I pulled on my long johns and turtleneck and dug out the kids' snow pants. By the time I had found everything, my daughter was throwing a fit because she did not want to go outside. Alone with the kids (my husband was clearing the driveway), I told her exactly what I had just said silently to myself - "Winter is about playing in the snow. You are going outside."
Learning from my friends, whose statuses have documented their frustration at having bundled their children only to have someone yell the dreaded words, "I have to go potty," I started our dressing routine with a trip to the bathroom. It was my son's turn to throw a fit. He regularly attempts to control his life, and mine, by choosing when and where he goes potty. My request pre-snow play did not fit into his scheme.
But eventually they both had finished in the bathroom and by some miracle after my son was dressed in his snow pants, my daughter decided that she, too, wanted to play in the snow. Bundling them, although tiring, was relatively easy, and after I gave up trying to get the "thumb in the thumb hole and fingers all together" and just shoved the mittens over their hands, we trekked outside.
As I hiked up and down our hill, making a sled track, dragging the sled, and carrying a child, I ignored the cold and thought only of the calories I was burning. Surprisingly, I enjoyed our time in the snow, and by the time we were ready to come in out of the cold, my sitter had arrived. I was free to focus on my "to accomplish over my winter 'break'" list that is conveniently written on "sticky notes" on my computer. (My favorite function on my new Windows 7 machine, btw.) Having stayed home due to the weather, my husband set up shop in my home office. Together, and independently, we worked the rest of the day away. He called clients, returned messages, and monitored the market. I wrote a grant. Both of us dealt with interruptions from the kids as they peeked in the office, opened the door and requested our attention.
Throughout the day, as I toiled with the words and numbers on my computer silently, my husband commented several times on how hard he was working. I ignored most of what he said, figuring he was somehow sending me a message that his job was hard. But I already know that he works hard. I also know that he doesn't truly understand the stresses and difficulties of my job and that he sometimes thinks that because I work often from home that I somehow don't work as hard.
Spending the day together in my office helped him to see that I do, indeed, work hard. At the end of our afternoon together, he said, "You work hard. You've been sitting there quietly working all afternoon." With my back to him, I smiled as I hit the send button on the grant I had finished writing. Then I turned to him and said, "I work hard every day. This is what I do for my job."
He nodded and closed his laptop, leaving the room to change into workout clothes. I stayed in the office, tackling my to-do list, for another hour before I ended my snow day.