From Snow Days to Stomach Bugs: A Working Parent’s Tale of Survival

Brace yourselves, folks, because I’m about to take you on a wild ride through my first week of 2024 as a working parent. From school closures to car vomit, this week had it all! But fear not, I’ve come out the other side with some valuable lessons and a newfound appreciation for wine. So sit back, grab a glass yourself, and get ready to laugh (or cry) along with me as I recount my harrowing tale.

Monday: The Calm Before the Storm

The week started off innocently enough, with a holiday on Monday giving me some much-needed quality time with the kids. Little did I know that this would be the last moment of peace, as a storm – specifically, a winter storm – was brewing.

Tuesday-Thursday The Perfect Storm

It was a domino of 4 S’s:  Snow, School closures, Sickness, and more School closures – it was like the universe was conspiring against me. My husband and I had to pull out all the stops just to keep our heads above water, juggling work, childcare, and everything in between.  Tuesday was a full day of closure, and Wednesday was a delayed school start.  Okay, breathe. At least we get a half day!  Then around 4PM I get the dreaded call: “Your son just vomited and isn’t feeling well.  You need to come get him right now.”

In full transparency, my first thought was not “is he okay?”  It was actually “Ugh, this will mean another day without childcare.  How am I going to manage?”  Upon reflection, I’m not going to lie – I feel terrible that this was my thought process.  How selfish can I be?  But as my Josie mental health coach would say: “Two things can be true.  You can be upset, angry, and worried about work – AND be a loving parent.”  I really needed that this week.

To add insult to injury: on the car ride home, he vomits again – about 2 minutes from our house.  I’m getting good at this!

Friday: Life Imitates Art

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any crazier, I had to deliver a presentation while dealing with yet another school closure. In a twist that can only be described as hilariously ironic, the presentation I had been preparing was about “Deadlines vs. Day Care” – a fictitious case study on how to handle work deadlines when day care is closed due to weather. Little did I know that life would decide to imitate art (or at least my presentation) in the most unexpected way.

As I was delivering my talk on how to navigate inclement weather and work obligations, I was literally living it in real-time. It was like the universe decided to give me the ultimate test of my own advice. And let me tell you, it was a surreal experience to be talking about a hypothetical scenario that was literally playing out in my own life. If nothing else, it added a whole new level of relatability!

But thanks to my amazing husband, I was able to pull it off and even managed to laugh about the absurdity of it all. And shout out to his company, AstraZeneca – they added as a 2024 benefit 4 days of “Family Sick Leave” – these are days – separate from PTO / personal sick days – that employees can use to care for an ill loved one.  Just knowing he could use this gave us a tiny ray of sunshine in an otherwise dreary storm.

Saturday:  The Eye of the Storm

Just when I thought I could finally catch my breath, the universe had one last surprise in store. At 3AM on Saturday, my daughter decided to add some excitement to my life by vomiting in my bed. Because who needs sleep when you can have midnight laundry sessions, right? But you know what, we survived!  And in the same way the universe throws us snowballs, it also gives us sledding hills – and my Josie vision statement popped up on my screen just as the sun came up.  It was just what I needed in that moment.

Monday: The Calm After the Storm

Now, as I sit here reflecting on the craziness of the past week, I can’t help but feel grateful for the lessons learned and the bonding experiences shared. Who needs sanity when you have memories like these? 😉

So there you have it, my friends – my week of madness that turned into a masterclass in resilience, adaptability, and finding humor in the chaos. And let’s not forget the irony of life imitating my own presentation in the most unexpected way. But through it all, I learned some valuable lessons about balancing work and family, about the importance of being able to laugh at the absurdity of it all, and about the power of a good story to bring us together. So here’s to the crazy, unpredictable, and sometimes hilariously ironic journey of parenting – may we all survive with our sanity (and our sense of humor) intact!

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