A  friend of mine sent me a note today asking,

Can you re-post what you learned after the blizzard? Just making sure all if my ducks are in a row.

I hadn’t thought about that post for quite some time, as I had written it way back when in February of 2010, after the blizzard.  But I think it is worth sharing, as it’s always good to learn from someone who falls flat on her face in the name of parenting.

So here it is, thanks to a request from my pal Jenn.  Hopefully some other hot-shot parents out there will read it and do a little more than buy their kids paddle boats to prepare for this weekend’s hurricane.  (I’m starting by reading J.J. Newby’s fabulous Hurricane Irene: Take Time to Prepare post.)

From February 6, 2010:

How Much Snow Will It Take For Two Adults To Finally Grow Up?

Today we were nailed with nearly three feet of snow in the DC Metro area.

All week long, reports of the impending storm were impossible to escape.  Everywhere we turned, the media focused on the empty grocery store shelves, the Friday school closings or early releases, and the fact that this storm would likely cripple our area.

I am sick about how very little my husband and I did to prepare our family for this storm, and I’m hoping this was our wake-up call.  We’re in our mid-thirties.  We have three kids.  And they’re little.

We should know better–he should know better, and I should know better. This time we totally blew it, and we’re both sick about it.

So what was our problem? Did either of us make sure we had batteries and a radio, should we lose power in our house?  No.

Did we put all of our flashlights together, close to our room, in case we needed them in the middle of the night?  Nope.

Did I cook some extra meat or make easy, quick foods–to make sure we had protein–in the event that our oven, stove, or microwave didn’t work?  Ooooh, no.

Were our cell phones and laptop charged, ready to be used if our home phones were dead, along with the electricity?  Of course not. 

How about wood for the fireplace?  Was it set aside, ready to keep our three babies warm if our house had no heat?  Um, well, we had about six logs, enough to keep a fire burning for half of a day.

Did we put water aside in case our pipes froze and burst, causing us to have no running water in the house? Noooooooooo, sir.

Honestly, other than make sure we had the necessities–milk, bread, snacks, and some fruits and veggies–my time was spent hunting down new sleds for my 6, 4, and 2-year old (who, by the way, absolutely despises the snow). That’s right. New. Sleds.

New sleds.  Who does that, and why on earth would I have spent my time that way?

I spent an entire afternoon and one morning researching, calling, and driving around our whole Metro area for two saucers and one toboggan. I eventually found them–and they’re exactly what we needed after ours cracked last week, but I’m sick at how little I actually prepared for the storm in the time I spent searching for things we really didn’t need.

So last night when we awoke close to midnight at the sound of our youngest screaming, Mommy! Daddy!! My nightlight is off!!!, that’s when we realized that this storm was no joke.

And that’s when I felt like I could have vomited, because I realized how little we did to prepare and how much we could have–should have–done.  In a matter of seconds, cell phone chargers, pitchers of water, batteries, a radio, wood–everything storm-safety related flashed through my mind.  And I. Felt. Sick.

We were lucky this time (and I’m knocking wood as I say that because we are not even close to having this thing be over).  We most likely will not be able to leave our house for another day or two.  But our power was restored tonight soon after we ate our third meal of the day in front of the fireplace, after I moved all of our perishables to a cooler in the snow, and after I looked at the thermostat and saw it read 52 degrees.

With a warm house, the electricity pumpin’, and what supplies we have now close at hand, at least my husband and I can take a deep breath and vow that our trip to Grown-upville starts tonight.

When Amy M. is not waxing on about her parenting failures, she’s at teach mama, trying to be a decent, responsible, and halfway-mature parent.  Lately, though, she’s been busy hanging out with the cool cats at we teach, a group that she created where parents can share ideas and collaborate about ways to spend time with their kiddos–in any kind of weather.