We've made it, folks. Winter is over and we've come out the other side in one piece. It was touch and go for a while — especially that day I had to shovel my extremely steep, very long driveway twice — but it's spring now and the worst (or at least the majority of the worst) is behind us. But we're not out of the woods yet. The crocuses and snowdrops may be peeking out of the dirt and the birds may be chirping, but there are early spring problems every parent has to deal with.
Actually, let's go ahead and put an asterisk after that "every." If you're a Southern California or Florida parent or something, let's face it: seasons are nothing more than a formality for you. You will not, and cannot, understand the struggle those of us who live in places with variable weather face. (So help me God, I will bring my wrath upon the first one of you who argues that's not true because "last week it was 55 degrees out". Stop. You're embarrassing yourselves. Call me when walking outside hurts your face.)
But for most of us, early Spring is a tricky time and is best described as a sort of Winter/not-Winter limbo where anything can happen. The problem? We rarely know exactly what that "anything" will be.
The Wardrobe Guessing Game
In early spring, every morning begins the same way for me:
Because is it going to be a 67 degree day or a 37 degree day? One is just as likely as the other. Or is it going to be one of those days that starts 37 degrees and winds up 67? How are we supposed to even deal with that? Am I sending my kids to school in parkas or sundresses? "Just send them in layers!" you may say. Oh, OK, cool. Are you made of money? Because dressing either of my children in layers is just another way of sending them to school with a hoodie they're bound to lose forever.
When Do We Pack Up The Winter Clothes?
Because are we really trusting that winter is over? I've literally had my family's winter wardrobes out until Memorial Day because you just never know, do you? I've been through this before, my friends. The minute I put away my kids coat we will get a random snowstorm in June and I'll have to go dig it out.
So Much Mud
Between Spring showers and snowmelt, there's just puddles and muddy messes everywhere, especially if, like me, you basically live in the woods. The other day my son was playing outside and came to the door covered in mud from a simple slip. You know it's bad when a 7-year-old child looks at you deadpan and says, "I need to get in the bath now."
Peer Pressure Coat Issues
This is, like, a thing... and I wish it wasn't.
OK, so you have a group of kids playing outside on an early spring day. Some parents think it's cold and put their kids in jackets. Other parents think it's warm enough and let their kids play sans jacket. And without an obvious standard, this is a source of tension.
"Billy, keep your jacket on."
"But Daisy doesn't have to wear her jacket!"
"Well that's up to Daisy's dad."
"It's not faaaaaaaaaaair!"
And it's a whole annoying thing, because every parent in this situation feels like an asshole for one reason or another. It's so much easier when the question of whether or not to wear an outer layer is obvious.
Winter's Last Hurrah
When you've finally accepted the idea that spring has arrived — and you've already packed away the winter clothes — winter will throw one last going away party, usually of epic proportions. Just that one last cold snap or blizzard that sends you into a spiral of weather-induced hopelessness. Jon Snow's face up above? That's the face all our souls are making.
Having To Restock All The Warm Weather Toys
Sidewalk chalk. Bouncy balls (that somehow always go missing or inexplicably deflate). Bubbles. If you are of the Easter celebrating persuasion, I highly recommend having your kid's Easter basket to serve as your "I was going to buy this stuff anyway so here: a bunny did it for you."
The Question Of When To Buy Warm Weather Clothes
As parents, we are always extremely aware that our kids will outgrow clothing in the blink of an eye, so we put off buying new clothes (especially seasonal wardrobes) for as long as possible in order to get the most use out of them. When I buy my kids spring clothes I want them to last through the summer. Who has the time or money to buy a spring and summer wardrobe? I've got things to do, you guys! Plus, I buy most of my kids clothing at Target and that is a dangerous place for me and my bank account.
"Well I Don't Want To Go To The Playground *Every* Day..."
It never fails. Every year, on the first really nice spring day we get, I take my kids to the playground for the first time in months. After that, they want to go every single day. And, for starters, sometimes it's still going to be just a bit too cold for my liking. I'm sure they'd be fine, since they're all running around, but I'm just sitting on a cold metal bench and, well, no thanks.
They're Still Not Used To All This Sun
"Why is it dinner time?"
"Because it's 6:15 pm. This is the time we always eat dinner."
"But the sun is out!"
"Yeah, what can I say? Daylight saving time is stupid."
"I want to keep playing."
"Oh, we do not have time for this."
"I'm not even hungry now! I want to plaaaaay!"
"Damn you, daylight saving time..."
If your kids are school age and you're a stay-at-home or work-from-home parent then, congratulations! You're routine is screwed to hell for the next week. If you work outside of the home, congratulations! You need to find (and pay for) some sort of activity camp to occupy them for the next week. Awesome. As for the daycares that close the week of Spring Break... what even is your point? You're terrible.
Arguing About The Fact That It's Still Too Cold To Go Swimming
No, my darlings, we cannot take the inflatable pool out yet and I super can't have this argument every day until mid-June.