My Love Hate Relationship with Winter as a Parent

I have always disliked winter.  I prefer long sunny days outside being warm with plenty of things to do.   For years, I would spend much of winters inside wrapped up under blankets. Depressing I know. My first winter as a parent was painful. It was cold. I was stuck inside with a newborn who I didn’t want to have to go through the work with of bundling up just to go to the bank or grocery store.  The first 4 winters as a mom of two boys I was cranky. We kept up the pace of wrestling and ice hockey matched with clubs and school commitments. This was while I worked full time and my husband had his shifts away at the firehouse. I spent much of the time dragging the kids bundled up whining everywhere. They had cabin fever when they were home and not doing something structured.  Let’s not even go into the time change and the havoc that it always wreaks on our lives. We will just say evenings were a nightmare. No one was happy. Last winter as I sat very pregnant on a wooden bench in a cold wrestling room, trying to contain my then 3 year old to an acceptable level as we watched the 6 year old, I decided enough was enough. The next winter I would have 3 kids and I wasn’t doing this anymore.  No more planning winter away because what else was there to do. No more suffering going out in the cold to keep up our schedules. It was time for a change in my mindset and our winter season as a family.

This winter has been an experiment.  After the first week of November we were done with sports except one night of ice hockey which thankfully my husband does that commitment.  The rest of the nights we stay home. Every. Single. night. I thought we would go crazy. That we would all be staring at each other bored and depressed.  I was wrong. Do we have arguing between the boys? Yes, but it’s the same as any other day, any other season. Do the kids get bored? Yes, but again, same as any other day, any other season.  Do they drive me crazy some nights, big YES. But-my husband and I have noticed some major differences. With the exception of Tuesday nights, we eat dinner together at a decent time and it’s an actual meal.  We talk about our days. We’ve started playing games together. My boys go to bed earlier (I actually kind of like the time change now) and I don’t have to hear whining when I wake them up to go to school. We can spend time with the baby and have a routine, which after dinner and homework, usually consists of playing, snuggling, and talking.  We have time to enjoy our infant-not rush through feedings and changings. We are rarely rushed on these nights. Laundry has actually been (sorta) kept up with. It’s not all sunshine and happiness all the time, but I think this time has worked wonders for all of us.

Tomorrow night, indoor lacrosse starts and my “winter” as I know it is over.  I know we still won’t be quite as booked as in the spring, but I still have a little bit of sadness as I think about our slow evenings without commitments starting to come to an end  Tomorrow marks the beginning of “gearing back up” and more nights of quick dinners in passing and trying to get kids in different directions. This also means later nights of arguing for them to get clean and get to bed. I know winter as a season has just begun but now I will look on the rest of the season with a new outlook.  I will try not to focus on the cold and the dreary it used to bring me.

Winter now will mark our time to reset as a family. Reset with rest, good food, snuggles and time together.  I’m not sure I can say I totally love winter, I’m not crazy, but I do love what this winter has taught me and the memories it has already brought our family.

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