Cooler weather inevitably leads to the dreaded snow day. I’m not talking about those Nor’easters when everything shuts down and the whole family gets to curl up at home with hot chocolate and a roaring fire. I’m talking about those days when school shuts down (or is delayed) for 2” of snow, you have a 9:00 AM meeting with a client, and your spouse has a meeting at the exact same time. In other words, those days that send two-career families into a frantic frenzy of rescheduling, lining up child care, and arguing over whose meeting is more important—all before that first cup of coffee.
Here’s one trick that saved us time, money, and sanity. We banded together with a small group of parents, and we switch off watching our collective group of kids when school is cancelled. One parent watches all the kids while the other parents work, and on the next snow day, a different parent has kid duty. Each parent misses one day of work for every six snow days, and because the kids play together, the parent who is on kid duty can usually work from home. Plus, with six parents in the mix, it is unlikely that everyone will have an important 9:00 AM meeting.
Not only does this arrangement save our collective sanity, it also allows each parent to conserve his or her vacation time/PTO. Snow days and sick kids used to eat up all my time off. Now I can use my PTO for fun activities—such as vacation days or . . . you guessed it, boating.
To give credit where credit is due, this plan is the brainchild of our friend who is a game theorist—thank you, Alex!