I remember feeling a bit desperate when my young daughter became ill. I was a stay-at-home mother, so there was no problem with her care; it was that I couldn’t figure out what I would do with myself for several days trapped at home. My friend Pat came to the rescue. “When your children are sick is when you update your photo albums.” It was a perfect solution, something I could do sitting near to my daughter and something that would be nice to have done. From that point on a sick family member meant an updated photo album.
If you are trapped at home due to, say a snowstorm, what can you do to keep busy? You could of course do some housecleaning, but you will enjoy the day more if you treat the confinement as time when you get to do something different. Before stores were open 24 hours a day and movies were available to be watched at home at all hours, many of the things people did for entertainment at home involved interacting with other people.
Reading is really fun, but not everyone tried it, when I was staying home. You can read to yourself, or if you have family with you, you can read out loud to one another. I know it sounds a bit like 7th grade history class, and that is what I thought when my mother first suggested it to me. She proposed it as something to do when I was first married; she pointed out that it cost almost no money and would be enjoyable. Some books read better out loud than others do. We have enjoyed Rex Stout’s Nero Wolf books, the Anne of Green Gables series, and War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk. If you are reading to yourself, and you have already read Princess Bride by William Goldman (truly, in my opinion, the best book ever written) you might try some Tolstoy; War and Peace or Anna Karenina. They are a bit more challenging, but are good books and the fact that you are confined to your house allows you the time to get into them. It also might be a good time to try Dune by Frank Herbert even if you are not a science fiction buff. If there are small children at home, you can easily entertain them with Dr. Seuss, or the Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit series.
Board and card games are also surprisingly entertaining. If you are not certain about the rules for card games, you can easily look them up on the Internet.
Some people like to work a puzzle. Our daughter has a 2,000 piece puzzle on the dining room table as I write this. She is also challenging herself with the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle.
Experiment with hot chocolate by making real hot chocolate with milk. Better yet, try some Mexican hot chocolate as a special treat when you get back inside from shoveling snow.
Talk to each other: call your friends, e-mail your mother, invite your neighbors over for a visit.
We all hope that there will be no more snow days, but if there are, try doing something different.
© 2014 by Ruth Haag