Winter in Wisconsin…what can I say? It sucks! I hate most everything about it! There is a brief moment following Thanksgiving where I envision a beautiful, white Christmas. But I guarantee you in that vision I am most certainly inside a warm house, sipping a hot beverage, simply admiring the view through a window. Because, of course, freshly fallen snow blanketing the neighborhood is beautiful to look at. But that is where it ends. Once the holidays have passed, I dread the long, frigid, dark months ahead until spring.
Somewhere in the dusty corners of my brain, I have some memories of enjoying the snow when I was a kid. Probably because, as a kid, getting a lot of snow also meant getting a day off from school. A day to build igloos and snow forts, have a snowball fight, give your sister a much-deserved face wash, or simply wander the neighborhood with a shovel hoping someone would pay you to shovel their sidewalk.
But since getting older, winter and snow have taken on a whole new meaning. Winter in Wisconsin means idiot drivers, higher heating bills, and the joy of not being able to feel your face. Now shoveling is your duty and responsibility instead of an easy way to earn money. Gone are the carefree days of getting off of school and goofing around with your friends. Most businesses do not close for snow, namely hospitals which is where I worked for many years. So, not only do you not get to relax and take the day off, now you have to dig your car out (if you don’t have a garage) and pray that it starts. Because as fellow Wisconsinites know, winter also means an increased probability of car trouble.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Add kids into the mix, and I can come up with a whole new slew of reasons to hate winter.
Remember how a blizzard when you were a kid meant getting the day off from school? Well now it means my kids are off of school which is the exact opposite of having a day off for me. It means I will spend the day bundling the kids up to go outside a la Randy from A Christmas Story. Then five minutes later unbundle them to use the bathroom (even though I repeatedly asked them if they had to go prior to dressing them), only to bundle them once again.
In my free time, I will most likely be mopping up the ice, cold puddles on my floor from the kids walking through the house in their boots (although, of course, I told them not to.) And then later, attempting to dry out four sets of coats, snow pants, boots, hats, scarves, and mittens so they can do it all again tomorrow.
And once the snow is on the ground, this is a near daily experience. Every school day I have to pack each piece of snow gear on them or in their backpack so they can play at recess. And of course, it comes back sopping wet for me to dry out and pack again the next day. It’s like my worst winter nightmare on repeat for four months straight.
Winter with kids also means that getting out of the house to go anywhere will take ten times longer. Finding every piece of winter clothing left all over the house because mittens and hats have a tendency to wander off on their own. Arguing with my teenager about why it is necessary to wear a coat, hat, and gloves when the wind chill is -20˚. Warming the car up for the younger kids because of course they cannot wear their coats in a car seat. Then, packing all the gear to bundle them up for exiting the car when we eventually get where we are going. If we ever get where we are going.
I try not to pass my disdain for winter unto my children because I know they love it. I enjoy watching them play from a window inside my warm house. And obviously, I live for that small amount of quiet time I get when they are all playing nicely outside. Plus, it has the added benefit of getting them away from their phones, tablets, and computer screens which let’s face it, kids are in desperate need of these days.
In recent years, I have even gone so far as to acquire a decent pair of boots and snow pants. Yes, that’s right, I hate winter so much that for many years I did not even own proper gear because I had zero intention of going outside.
Now that I own proper gear? I still don’t go out in the snow much.
But once or twice a winter, when the perfect day appears…sunny, above 30˚, enough of the right type of snow on the ground (yes, there is a right type of snow), you might find me willing to take the kids sledding. You may even find me enjoying it.
Every other day of winter? Look for me indoors.