You all know by now that the Mid Atlantic had massive amounts of snow dumped on them this weekend. We woke up Saturday morning to a foot on the ground – and with windy, blizzard-like conditions all day, we ended up with another 1-1/2 feet by dawn on Sunday. As a junior in high school I experienced the blizzard of 1996 – an event much like this with 5+ foot snow drifts and nearly a month of snow days and delays to come. To this day I remember the magic of that snowy month with fondness – well, except for shoveling the sidewalk – I never really liked that part of snow!
As a parent of 3 young kids, my views of the snow have changed (hopefully temporarily). Snow is exhausting, sometimes frightening (losing power, which it seems we always do), and messy. I used to love the snow, but now, in my advanced age, I dread it. Why? Here are my top 5 reasons:
1. Getting Kids Dressed for the Cold
My kids are difficult enough to dress in every day clothes. So, getting each child in long undies, snow pants, wool socks, boots, a t-shirt, hoodie, gloves, hat, and jacket is a NIGHTMARE. Nine different articles of clothing multiplied by three kids is a lot of clothing. The process of getting the bulky clothes on the kids is hard enough, but coupled with trying to find where I stashed the clothes to dry from the last outing, it is not a pleasant experience.
I decided this year that I would get my gear on before dressing the boys because I knew as soon as they were dressed, they would run to the door and somehow I would end up out in the snow in a robe and slippers. However, since it took 20 minutes to dress the boys, I was overheated before I even got outside. Not my best plan.
The summer we moved into our house we bought a snowblower, as we knew there was no way that we would be shoveling our long, large driveway. Luckily we do not have any sidewalk to do, but the driveway in and of itself is a major hassle. My lovely husband nearly crippled himself – spending at least 6 hours over the last 2 days clearing us a path to the street. However, with local estimates for a driveway plow (according to a local parenting board) running $175-$400 if you can even find someone who has time to come out, I am glad we bought our clearance-priced snowblower that summer.
3. Monitoring Food Rations
We did a huge shopping Thursday before the storm. Even though eggs and milk were out at the food store, Walgreens had both so we were fully stocked for the snow event.
So we thought.
We started meal prep Friday evening with the items, like meat, that would need to be immediately tossed should we lose power. We made it though the weekend with power, but – with 4 hungry boys in the house – we also made it through most of the food.
Last night I made box pasta (a travesty when you live near an Italian store and are used to fresh pasta), which my husband refused to eat. He made a can of chili over rice. The kids ate hummus and carrots and a bit of my pasta. It wasn’t our finest meal. It is difficult to plan for losing your electricity while still stocking the house with food that you’d like to eat. We are still working on this.
4. Sledding (the Uphill Part)
I loved sledding as a kid. Loved it. I remember going to the hill at the elementary school and sledding with my classmates. I also remember how we would sled right down the street next to our house with the neighborhood gang. Sledding then was fun.
Sledding in 2+ feet of snow with toddlers is NOT FUN.
The kids are too short to walk up the hill themselves, so you end up pulling them in the sled as you do high knee lifts while pulling a 60 pound weight behind you.
Then the snow is not packed enough to get a good run so you have to repeatedly propel yourself down the hill with your arms (like a swimmer doing butterfly) until you get a good track.
Once the track is done, the kids are too cold/hungry/tired to sled, so you never do get that good run in.
5. Watching the Kids Bounce Off the Walls
I am fortunate in that my kids like each other. And of course I love spending time with my kids. However, running around outside is a major part of our regular daily routine and the mountains of snow have made that a bit more difficult. My kids need room to burn off energy or my oldest gets feisty and my middle gets whiny. So far we have:
… made Star Wars Millennium Falcons from paper plates…
… asked our clothing “if it brings us joy” (books are next) …
and created a Valentine’s Day boxcar, played iPad, done puzzles, played games, built magnetic villages, and watched the football game and too much Calliou.
Have you found a way to love the snow as a parent of young kids? Share your secrets!