Winter is when the darkness comes. It's when the sun goes down hours before bedtime, leaving you a prisoner in your own home with your children and their inexplicably unending energy. It's when you're forced to choose between hours at home with toddlers or braving the cold, wind and snow to get some peace and quiet.
The worst part about winter, however, is leaving the house, particularly swaddling your children in the layers of clothing, coats, gloves and hats that are required when the temperature is sub-zero. I'm convinced that dressing toddlers for the cold and snow should be an Olympic sport.
Don’t you worry, though: we've got your back. Here's a foolproof guide to making the task of dressing up your kids for winter totally hassle-free.
Step 1: Stay Home.
Seriously. I'm not kidding. Don't go outside. Don't do it. It’s cold out there, and windy, and your kids will complain about being outside the whole time. Plus, you don't want to be competing with hordes of Christmas shoppers, who are always on the street, taking their holiday shopping way too seriously.
Step 2: Throw Back A Cup Of Coffee. Or 5.
OK, so you’re out of milk, your kids are whining and you’ve fashioned your last clean burp cloth into a makeshift diaper. I get it: you need to go out and stock up on supplies. You have no choice but to venture out into the Arctic or starve. You’re going to need a special kind of energy, and it's one that only the magical elixir known as coffee can provide.
Step 3: Gather Everything.
Even if you’re one of those moms with a Pinterest-perfect mudroom filled with wicker baskets individually labeled with each of your kids’ names, here's a tip: no matter how organized you think you are, your kid's left mitten is going to be missing, I promise. It’s probably in the trunk of your minivan or under your toddler’s bed or in the front yard, under five inches of snow. It might be in the refrigerator. Who knows.
Step 4: Herd Everyone Into One Room And Lock The Door.
No one gets out until they’re covered from head to toe in down and wool.
Step 5: Undress Your Preschooler. Repeat Steps 1 Through 5 Again.
Because she has to pee RIGHT NOW. A fact that is interesting in light of the theatrical performance she gave on the toilet five minutes ago, calling you the meanest mom ever because you were trying to get her to pee before she was bundled up.
Step 6: Weep.
It’s OK to cry. Especially if you're crammed in the backseat of your minivan with three kids, taking all of their winter gear off, because apparently it isn’t safe to put your kids in their car seats with their puffy coats on.
Step 7: Sweat Profusely.
While your 2-year-old is in hysterics over how cold she is, you’re probably going to be drenched in sweat, cursing your decision to skip deodorant today (it’s 10 below zero, after all), because herding three kids to and from the grocery store while wearing a coat is kind of like doing step aerobics in a parka.
Step 8: Curse The Day You Were Born.
You’ve finished up at the grocery store, but your kids have shed every piece of winter wear because IT'S SO HOT AND THEY’RE MELTING and now you’ve got to choose between putting them at risk of hypothermia and spending the next 10 minutes cussing under your breath while you zip coats and shove wiggly little fingers into ridiculously small gloves only to have to take it all off again because car seat safety, dammit.
Step 9: Book A Tropical Vacation.
Because getting out of the Midwest is the only surefire way to escape this endless cycle of insanity.