Winter took its sweet time showing up in MN this year. We enjoyed an extended fall, with temperatures hovering at or above freezing through much of December. If you’ve been to MN in the winter, you know it is not unusual for it to snow at the end of October – rain in December is almost unheard of. Then we took a trip to Florida over Christmas, and came back to actual winter.
Suddenly it matters if the kids have their coats zipped, and hats and gloves on before we go out the door. And since we’ve now entered the reality of subzero temperatures and wind chills, the car often needs to be warmed up for a bit before we drive.
You guys, I wasn’t ready for ‘real’ winter even though I had all of December to prepare for it. And it’s REAL. Yesterday it was colder in MN than it was in Antarctica. At 8 am, it was -13 degrees and felt like -30 with wind-chill. Brr!
With winter’s sudden arrival, I realized just how much I had forgotten. I have been seriously, SERIOUSLY, underestimating the amount of time and preparation it takes to get my pregnant self, two children, and all our STUFF out the door.
We have been late on more than one occasion. And when we get there…we’re a little discombobulated.
The only one to blame is me, and the fact that my brain has not adjusted to needing more time to get us ready and out the door. It no longer takes 5 minutes. It takes at least 10, and that assumes we know where all hats, gloves, and coats ARE, and that the two year old does not take them OFF after I put them on her.
Does anyone else have this problem?
I’ve RE-learned some important lessons about going out in winter weather with little kids now that winter has arrived:
- It is required to get my head out of the sand and check the weather the night before or first thing in the morning. This lesson was learned very quickly after being surprised with subzero temperatures while out and about with children who were not properly equipped with hats and gloves. Yes my friends, I’m THAT mom with the frozen, crying kids – mom of the year over here.
- Double the normal amount of time it usually takes you to get out the door. And if you have more than one child, add a minimum of 5 minutes per child. Trust me. It’s better to be early and calmly bundled up than to be underdressed and stressed when you get there.
- Pack the car first with all the stuff and start it BEFORE you try to dress your children in winter gear. This will prevent them from stripping off their hats and gloves while you’re outside.
- While you are packing the car, make your children use the bathroom to prevent potty panic and having to undress a child before even getting out the door. Always check diapers BEFORE you bundle them up. Changing a diaper afterwards is no small task…talk about being late!
- It is absolutely necessary to have a backup set of hats and mittens for each child by the door (preferably where only you can reach them so they don’t disappear). There is no guarantee you will be able to find what they need when trying to get out the door. Our kids like to play with them, or I find them soaking wet from snow play the day before (because I regularly forget to put them in the dryer).
- Yelling does not help things go faster. In fact, it makes things take MUCH longer. Speak softly. Crying children with wet faces in subzero temperatures does not work well. For anyone.And I know better – remember, I already learned what my impatience teaches my kids as I rush them out the door?
- Dressing warm is more important than fashion. I’m not a terribly fashionable girl as it is. When it is this cold, all effort at style goes out the window. I’ll take warm over cute any day.
- Oh yeah, don’t forget your own hat and gloves. Getting 2 kids out of car seats and into any building takes longer than you want to. Your ears and fingers will thank you.
- Accept it. Complaining and pining away for summer does not help either. We CHOSE to live in a state where the air HURTS your face in a matter of seconds, causing tears and boogers to freeze (yes that really does happen). It isn’t a choice to hibernate and stay inside – we could be in here until spring! That isn’t much of a life at all. So, layer, bundle, plan ahead, and go live life well.