Fall is my favorite season. I adore the cool, crisp weather and the rainbow of foliage. Halloween is the best: dressing up the kids, walking out in darkness, and feeling the magic in the air. Then follows the march of happy holidays: Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas (we celebrate them all in my house!). I even like when the weather gets a little chilly. There is nothing more comforting than a cozy sweater and hot chocolate as I sit by the window watching the first snow.
But then January arrives to slap me in the face. And there are no holidays left to sweeten the blow. It’s just weeks on end of bleak, depressing white nothingness.
I live in the Northeast. The last two winters were particularly brutal. There were a couple of weeks last February when it just wouldn’t stop snowing, and the temperatures were below freezing every day, so the world was basically an ice dome. I fell on my butt more times than I could count. And my kids pretty much ice-skated to school.
Because I was curious (or masochistic), I recently looked up the weather predictions for this coming winter. It doesn’t look good. At all. This coming winter is supposed to be just as bad as last winter.
Before I became a mom, I didn’t care at all about the weather. In fact, I kind of didn’t get why anyone talked about it ever. If it’s cold out, you wear lots of clothes; if it’s hot out, you wear less. Easy peasy. Then kids entered the picture, and oh my goodness gracious, I began to despise Mother Earth and her fickle ways.
With kids, it’s not as simple as just staying home on the days when school is canceled, or it’s too snowy to go out. In theory, I actually LOVE staying home; I’m quite the homebody at heart. And I do enjoying hanging out at home with my kids. But after an hour or two, everyone starts to go stir-crazy. They start asking for endless screen time, whining their heads off, arguing with each other and me.
I know I could just bundle them up and take them out for a bit of fresh air. But helping them get dressed in their snowsuits is an epic affair. Once they’re dressed, they complain that they’re too hot or suddenly need to use the bathroom. Finally we get out, and they want to go back in after ten minutes because their fingers have turned to ice. And then it takes just as long to get their snow-covered clothes off, and now my kitchen floor is covered in dirty slush, and I just want to cry into my mittens.
I’m not sure if it’s Seasonal Affective Disorder or what, but the last few winters have pushed me into some dark places. It’s isolating enough to be a mom sometimes, but when school is canceled every other day and you’re ice-locked in your house for weeks on end, that feeling of utter dread is a million times worse.
Yes, I know I’m being a Debbie Downer. I know I should just live in the moment and sip my pumpkin spice latte. But as the days get shorter, darker, and colder, I can’t help but brace myself for what’s to come.
I’m thinking I should start brainstorming some kind of winter survival kit. I should scour the Pinterest boards for cool projects to tackle when we’re stuck indoors. But anything beyond papers, markers, and glue totally intimidates me. And really, my kids have little interest in them these days. I can plan on trying out new board games, making obstacle courses, baking cookies, and throwing disco dance parties, but even those activities—which sound awesome now—will get old after a few days of being stuck inside.
Maybe the only thing to do is to just grin and bear it. And start stocking up on extra chocolate (hello Halloween candy my kids didn’t know I stole). And wine, of course. You can never have too much wine—plus, it increases your body heat!
Mostly, I hope that by airing my complaints early, I’ll have nothing left to say by the time that first storm hits. I know I’m pushing my luck, though. But I’ll do anything to increase my chances of maintaining even an ounce of my sanity through another awful winter.