Polar Vortex Wreaks Havoc on Mommydom

Or 5 Natural Disasters Caused by Snow Days

To the unrivaled jubilation of parents everywhere, the polar vortex finally loosened its icy grip on the nation.

As schools and daycares re-opened, a collective roar rose. Exhausted mamas danced in the aisles of Target as the reality of an uninterrupted and much-needed shower sank in.

This mama was no exception.

After two days of daycare closures, bookended by two-hour delays, I fell woefully behind on everything. I declared my home and office disaster areas.

A polar vortex has nothing on my girls.

When the delicate ecosystem built upon childcare is overturned, it creates the perfect storm. Snow days quickly spin into full-blown natural disasters.

1. We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

Left to their own devices, Bean and Monkey turn a room upside down faster than an F-5 twister.

With herculean strength, they fling blocks, puzzle pieces, and books to the far corners of the room. Monkey topples kiddie-sized furniture, and miniature tea cups skid underneath the love seat to a dusty grave.

A shocked and shattered doll lays face-down, bloomers mid-thigh, fabric tooshie exposed to the world.

Dazed, I pick my way through the debris. I shake my head in disbelief and mutter, “It sounded like a freight train.”

2. Rockin’ the Richter Scale

With three hours of back-to-back teleconferences Tuesday morning, I called in reinforcements. I hastily gave the sweet, innocent babysitter instructions and locked myself into the guest room with my laptop and headset. 

As I tried to concentrate, the house shook below me. The windows rattled. Piercing screams punctuated the chaos.

I cautiously made my way downstairs and took it as a good sign that the babysitter hadn’t taken cover under the kitchen table.

I quickly retreated before I felt the aftershocks.

3. Don’t Anger Madam Pele, Goddess of Fire

At the height of the vortex, there was a cataclysmic eruption in my house. 

I’m not talking about Kilauea’s casual burbling on the Big Island. Those flows mirror the laid-back spirit of Hawaii, taking their sweet Aloha time before pouring into the ocean. 

I’m talking about violent, pyroclastic blasts reminiscent of Mount Vesuvius. An eruption so sudden and ferocious its hot, turbulent cloud races along the ground and consumes everything in its path. 

As pressure and pent-up energy build, the mountain can no longer contain Mother Nature’s fury. The top blows, and Pompeii crumbles. 

Wait, that wasn’t my kids. That was totally me.

4. It’s Like a Heat Wave

As the mercury dropped outside, I sweltered inside.  

Skin dry from the furnace, I dragged my parched body across the scorching desert and searched for an oasis. Or a fountain Coke. 

I was dizzy. Exhausted. Confused. Classic signs of heatstroke.

Wait! Are my precious daughters sitting down and playing together quietly?

Nope. Just a mirage.

5. Better Build an Ark

Despite countless time-outs (Monkey), tantrums (Bean), and tears (Me), the storm brought plenty of rainbows. Sweet moments flooded me with joy.

Story time snuggles. Sloppy kisses. Belly laughs. Blissful reprieve while the girls napped.

Squeals of delight – mostly from me – when my husband walked through the door and announced we were going out to dinner.

No cooking, no cleaning, and a change of scenery? Swoon. Knight in shining armor.

Later, when the meteorologist announced a steady uptick in temperatures, the floodgates really opened.

The next morning I dropped the girls off and returned to my quiet office. With a to-do list stretching for miles, I hunkered down and got to work.

You know what? I missed the storm.

Icicle photo by: spike_dennis

How did you survive the polar vortex?

71 thoughts on “Polar Vortex Wreaks Havoc on Mommydom

  1. UmmmI barely survived it if you must know! Pompeii crumpled in this neck of the woods too! Those darned 2 hour delays threw everyone and everything off….the kids, me, and me, and me….Fortunately, we are back to seasonal temperatures. I really hope you’ve been able to get your hands on a fountain Coke!
    Ilene recently posted…Saying Goodbye to the Skull CapMy Profile

  2. Well done! That was fun. I SO remember the panic that used to ensue around here when there was no school. I’d scramble to find a neighborhood sitter who could come to my aid so that I could work. Now when we have no school, it’s an inconvenience…I get less done, but not significantly so. The kids are old enough that I can keep my nose to the grindstone without too much interruption. You’ll get there, too!
    misszippy recently posted…On (short) track for SochiMy Profile

    • It’s amazing how quickly they learn to gang up on mama!! And, yes, we’re missing the playground big time right now. Bean has been bummed out because they haven’t been able to play outside at daycare all week.

  3. “A polar vortex has nothing on my girls.” Bwahahahahahaha. Oh, my gosh. That is the funniest line ever!!
    This post just had me laughing, nodding, and smiling. You have totally captured the essence of the unexpected snow day. They are crazy, loud, fun, exasperating, sweet, beautiful…all of it. We’ve had some of our sweetest days and fun family times in these stolen days (as well as time outs and arguments). I love them, but MAN I am always the first one at Target the day they go back to school! :D –Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently posted…Pinterest Nightmare #648: The Human SlingshotMy Profile

    • Thanks, Lisa! The toughest part was how cold it was. We just couldn’t get out to do anything, and everyone got a little nutty! I eventually bundled the girls up for a trek to the bookstore and pizza slices for lunch. Carb coma = long naps!

  4. We didn’t get hit with the Polar Vortex, but have been in the midst of insane (even for the PNW coast) rain. We have a few alerts for high winds through tomorrow (as in 40+ mph).

    Even with all of the rain, we do what we do… carry on. We’ve spent a fair amount of time outside and have cleared a size able portion of our land (opening a 30 foot area so one can see a 100+ yr old pine). We’ve made regular trips to the beach. We’ve made forts inside, too.

    The beauty of it is that with Scott and I both working from home, being home with Susanna is just the norm. My heart is filled with love and gratitude that she adores being outside- even in the cold wind and rain, and Scott and I can rework our schedules to meet our family’s needs in a heartbeat. Hence our home…

    Tumwater Shores aka Heartbeat Water Shores (Tumwater is Chinook jargon for waterfall which is literally translated as heartbeat water).
    Wendy @ New Moms Talk recently posted…Thousands of Words (aka Photos Galore!)My Profile

    • We normally get out to play, rain or shine, but it was just too darn cold! I did bundle the girls up for a trek to the bookstore (train table!) and a mommy-daughter lunch outing. Tumwater Shores – lovely! I hope you have a DIY sign project planned for that!

    • Thankfully I was able to reschedule most of my meetings for Monday, and I caught up (somewhat) after they went to bed. It made for a very long day, but at least I got to enjoy some extra time with the girls, chaotic as it was!

  5. haha!! This is beautiful. Mother Nature. Writing.
    I’ve pretty much lost so much of my momentum/peace/energy/anything due to frigid weather. I am not at my best. I have been far worse, far worse in the past, which leads me to believe that all those non-medicated anti-anxiety measures I take (talking, breathing, exercising, writing, etc.) are actually working.
    And I’ll be in Disney soon.
    And wait..where was I? I just had to run downstairs because Des bonked his head, and then I got distracted by counting coins in the coin jar to see if we have enough to splurge for a nice lunch.
    Tamara recently posted…When Co-Authors Team Up!My Profile

    • I hope you had enough in your piggy bank to splurge on a nice lunch! I took the girls out for pizza on Monday. Our Mellow Mushroom (do they have those up there?) has $1 slices on Mondays. We braved the chilly temps to take advantage!

  6. Okay- this is seriously the most BRILLIANT post I have EVER read describing the days at home with kids…!!! Every single mom can relate to every SINGLE thing you shared!!!

    But here’s where you have a gift- the WAY you shared it. OHMYGOSH hilarious! I call this one of the “CLASSICS”.

    My favorite of the year… Oh wait, it’s been like ten days. ;) My favorite of 2013!!
    Chris Carter recently posted…This is How God Works…My Profile

    • Thank you so much, Chris! This comment made my day. Heck, since we’re only 10 days in, it made my year! So glad you enjoyed it. I’m slowly shifting through the debris…

    • Ba ha ha ha. Don’t make me laugh. My girls are in full-time daycare. When people ask me if they stay home with me while I work, I try to contain my laughter. There is NO way I could work in a corporate job with my children in the house. I had to work after-hours earlier this week to make up for the time they were home.

    • I’ll definitely be a little sad when the girls no longer want/need to distract me from my work. Hopefully they’ll still want to go out for pizza lunches and make sugar cookies for afternoon snack!

  7. I know times were different when you were little, but I loved days off. Of course it usually meant snow so we bundled you up and send your brother and later your little sister out in the snow to play. Then it was strip off the wet clothes and spread them out to dry and wait for the next outing. In the meantime it was snow cream or hot chocolate and a movie. When you got bigger and there was no school, we ALL slept late and I didn’t go to work either. As an adult, I still wish for a snow day so that I could stay at home, take a nap, drink hot chocolate and watch a movie. Of course in Georgia that is a rare, but I can still wish!
    Glad you survived, but the winter is not over yet!
    Love you!

    • I remember making snow cream! And I’ll never forget the blizzard of 93 when the snow drifts were over our heads. The problem with these snow days was lack of snow and temperatures to low to get out and play! Love you too, Mom!

    • The volcanic eruption was partly due to my lack of activity! I was THRILLED to get out for a trail run on Wednesday when the temps warmed up. 25 felt downright balmy!

    • I don’t know how you survive Maine winters. Lots of hot cocoa, I hope! The buildings south of the Mason Dixon just aren’t equipped to handle that kind of cold. Apparently a lot of the schools closed because of heating and water issues. Lots of frozen pipes. Yikes!

  8. Your descriptions are fantastic, and I’m with you 100% on the Mt. Vesuvius thing. Actually, when the late text for school closing came in today, I lost it. Because we didn’t have water in the house either (joys of life on a farm with a well). I took a walk in the icy rain and cried, well wailed really, outside. (My kids are older than yours- they could manage 15 minutes on their own while mom had her breakdown. )
    All is better now… And I can smile at your struggles as well as my own. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone! ;)
    Julia Tomiak recently posted…What Were the Most Memorable Words of 2013?My Profile

    • Sometimes a good cry is just what the doctor ordered. If we can’t take a deep breath, assess the situation, and then laugh out loud at ourselves, we’re in big trouble! Hokie or Wahoo, farm gal or city girl, motherhood is tough stuff!

    • Thanks, Lauren! I had fun writing it. I definitely have to pinch myself when the girls are playing nice to make sure it’s real and not just a figment of mommy brain!

  9. Oh my, this sounds soooooo familiar. And then, to top it off, my son was sick Wed. adding ANOTHER day to our winter break! I was never more excited to go to work than I was yesterday. Love your hilarious list!
    jan recently posted…Be PresentMy Profile

    • How sad is it when we’re ELATED to go back to work?! Even my daughters were itching to get back to a routine and were practically out the door as soon as they woke Wednesday morning. They wanted to go to daycare and see their friends.

  10. What a witty post to describe the natural disaster going on in your house while the polar vortex raged outside! I bet the babysitter had a tough time convincing your two little forces of nature that even though you were home, they really couldn’t bother mommy right now. Glad you survived!
    Meagan recently posted…Would You Rather…My Profile

  11. I remember one year when Chris was deployed and the boys were 2 & 4 – OY!!! It snowed the day he left and during the weeks he was gone I think we had no fewer than 5 snow days (no preschool for Jordan). All my friends thought snow days were so great but that’s because their husbands would be home at the end of the day to rescue them – it was a long winter!!!!
    I’m glad that you survived the “polar vortex!!!”
    Kim recently posted…A Week of Ups and DownsMy Profile

    • OY is right! Solo parenting is tough even when the weather cooperates! I’ve had to travel for work a few times during January, and it never fails that a winter storm hits while I’m gone. I feel so bad because my husband has to scramble to make arrangements.

    • Don’t you just love the government holidays and breaks RIGHT AFTER the Christmas holidays?! Seriously, I love my kiddos, but we just spent days on end together. Non-stop. We don’t need another day off yet!

    • Thanks, Jill! Have you gotten out to play in the snow? When the temps warmed up on Wednesday, I escaped for a blissful trail run. There was still some snow on the trails, and it was awesome! Not enough to soak my feet or slow me down, but enough to make it an adventure!

  12. Yes. Absolutely. All of it. My children had a cold before it rolled in which left us stuck inside for a good two weeks. Totally obnoxious. I said a prayer for all teachers and daycare providers the day it lifted. I can’t imagine what it was like dealing with 20 cabin fevered kids all at once. Or, rather I can. I used to teach. Hell.
    Jean recently posted…Past the ExitMy Profile

    • My girls were practically begging me to take them to daycare when it re-opened. I can’t imagine the patience – and massive amounts of caffeine and Tylenol – necessary for teachers to survive that first day back!

  13. You’re hysterical!! There were similar scenes at my place. When nap time would finally arrive, the living room looked like a twister had ripped through it. This mama was SO HAPPY when it was warm enough to get my little dude outdoors for some rampaging – it’s hard to wear him out in a small Brooklyn apartment! Glad everyone there survived, & big props to your husband for being wise enough to take you guys out to eat!
    Carly @ Fine Fit Day recently posted…Fit Mama Friday – Meet AlexaMy Profile

    • Thank goodness my girls could burn off some energy running around the house, even if they left a path of destruction! Yes, my husband is a wise man…and on the short list for sainthood for putting up with the three crazy ladies in the house!

    • The fact the snow days came right after holiday break made the whole situation even crazier! My girls were begging me to go back to daycare by the third day. And I shoved them out the door so fast their little heads are still spinning!

    • No need to apologize, Amber! I’m so behind on my blog feed that I’ll never dig out. Gotta love those spunky girls…in small doses and preferably in wild, open spaces!

    • Yes, Mother Nature was a real MoFo last week! I’m praying she doesn’t go all PMS-y again next week. I’m traveling for work, and my husband might not be here when I get back if daycare closes for any length of time!

  14. Oh my goodness I barely survived that one… And then it happened again this week! Praying that I make it to spring now!
    Followed Tamara here and couldn’t resist clicking on this post after a week of way too much winter :)
    Tricia recently posted…We will take walksMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by and sticking around, Tricia! I’m escaping the polar vortex this time around. I’m in California this week for a business trip, so I’m enjoying the warm weather but suffering from a major case of mommy guilt!

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