Being a Midwestern kid, I've always loved when the summer heat transforms into cooler fall temperatures, hinting at the first snowfall of the year and ushering in holiday gatherings with loved ones. In other words winter, and all things associated, brings me joy. Ahh, yes. The simple things in life. Now, all these things I used to look forward to may never be again because, you know, motherhood. I'd be lying if I said there aren't winter activities I may literally never enjoy again now that I have kids. Sometimes this whole, "you have to sacrifice certain things because you're a parent," thing gets out of hand.
Before I had children, my partner and I did whatever we wanted. Oh, the freedom we straight-up took for granted. Of course, I love being a mother and I love my two children, but having kids changes the way you do literally everything. Whether it's sledding or planning what to buy for Christmas, life is just different. Even the transition of spending the winter months as part of a couple, to spending those winter months as a family, alters the dynamics of the house you call home. However temporary, it is what it is and while there are plenty of activities I enjoy doing with my kids, there's also a few I really don't enjoy participating in at all. Then, of course, there are the things I enjoyed long before my children were a twinkle in my eye, that are no longer feasible.
Life changing after you have children is no secret, but the small (and large) ways it actually changes can be somewhat shocking. So if you're starting to realize or have already noticed that the following winter activities are ones you can no longer enjoy thanks to your littles ones, take solace in the fact that you're not alone. Winter can be a pain for all of us who made the decision to procreate. #Solidarity
It's not so much that shoveling snow is fun to the point that I couldn't wait to do it. It's just that, in those child-free days when it did snow enough to shovel, there was little debate about getting out there to get the job done. My partner and I could take as long as we wanted, call it quits whenever we felt like it, and volunteer to shovel for other people if we had the time.
Since having kids, shoveling is a prison sentence where one of us waves the other off, not knowing when he or I will return. The job may or may not get completed and the kids may or may not decide to go out and destroy the progress being made. Usually, it's the latter and by the time the driveway is clear, my partner and I are ready for a martini.
Snuggling Up By The Fire
Sounds romantic, right? Well, it was. When it's cold outside, a good snuggle with your partner will warm you right up — unless you have kids. This once dreamy scenario has now morphed into an argument over who sits next to me, who touched who's toys, and the constant need to yell, "Don't touch the fire!" every few minutes.
I've never been very good at ice skating, but in those early days of our relationship, it was fun to give it the good old college try with my partner. With all the hand-holding and support, it made me feel closer to the guy I decided to spend the rest of my life with, you know?
We recently tried to take our daughter ice skating. Yeah, that won't be happening again. We spent the entire time holding the side rail and helping her off her butt. Oh, and the tears. So. Many. Tears.
Making A Warm Mug Of Hot Cocoa
I love a hot cup of cocoa when the snow starts to fall. Something about it just reminds me of an old movie.
Going through those motions used to calm me but with kids, I'd say those motions have the exact opposite effect. If my oldest sees me gathering ingredients to make the drinks, she wants to make it herself. Fine. I want her to be independent, so I'll let her. However, this is when she'll probably catch something on fire in the microwave (true story), and all our drinks will be burnt. Don't even get me started on the marshmallows (no one needs a whole bag in their cup). At least she did it herself, right?
Setting Up The Christmas Decorations
When my partner and I set up a Christmas tree before kids, it was a quiet night. We'd take turns placing ornaments where we'd like them, laugh and reminisce about old times, and maybe even end up beneath the tree (if you know what I mean). While I love the idea of setting up decorations with my kids, reality is way different than the picture-perfect scenario I have long envisioned.
Last year, they fought over one ornament the whole night only to end up losing it, then crying over the hot chocolate that burned in the microwave. This is where memories are made, people.
Staying Inside All Day
If you have children home from school because of snow (or the holiday season), you do not want to stay inside all day. It doesn't matter if the snowstorm from hell coated your entire town. You'll find a way to get out of there.
You'll find a way.
The Holiday Gatherings
The holidays are about togetherness. Except, once you have children, they're about getting in and getting out before any damage has been done.
If my daughter woke up too early, my son missed his nap, and the "lunch" has been scheduled at some ridiculous time in the afternoon, I can assure you; this will be my fastest eat and greet you've ever imagined.
Traveling Somewhere Warm
One Thanksgiving, my partner and I missed all family events and ran off to a big city to celebrate alone. It was romantic and wonderful and I still think about it from time to time. It's something a child-free couple can really appreciate — the last minute getaway. No stress, just love.
A couple years ago, we took our kids down south in February for a little vacation that revolved around a race I had scheduled. We quickly realized there would be no more "last minute" and the kind of spontaneous romance we took advantage of, was essentially gone. It's all about the kids' comfort now and, honestly, my sanity.
Oh, baking. How I love thee. I used to take part in those cookie exchanges where I'd bake a certain amount and trade off, returning home with dozens of different cookies. It was so much fun, I can't remember why I stopped volunteering...
Oh, yes I do. My kids. I've tried to keep up this tradition a number of ways: baking alone, letting my kids bake something simple, and teamwork. I'm sure you can guess which direction I often have to take and why I've cut down on my baking.
Building A Snowman
I admit, I didn't build that many snowmen in my life prior to having children. The times I did, my brother wrecked them with his toys. I see where my hesitation lies. Now, I get the same reaction when my kids are involved. Whether the carrot is ripped off or the body is kicked to its side, at this point my back hurts and I'm tired so why even bother?
There's plenty of winter activities to do once you have kids that are actually a lot of fun — they're just not the kind of activities you'll find on this list. If you're in the same boat as we are, hang in there. I hear spring is just around the corner (and a whole other list of activities you probably won't enjoy).