How to Handle the Moments of Motherhood We Know We Should Like, But Don’t


(Less than 3 minute read)

I hate the cold. I hate bundling up to walk outside. I hate getting in a cold car. And I really don’t like snow. I am happy to look at it a few times a year from inside my warm house and then say goodbye and move on to spring. I always wish I had a reason to move to a place that had no winter, but I don’t, so here I sit staring at about 6 inches of snow in my backyard.

When Saturday morning came with the kids running into my room screaming, “There’s snow! Snow! Can we pleeeease go play outside??”, my anxiety went up with the thoughts of the bundling up, the wet clothes, the complaining of freezing wrists, and the thought that I may have to go out there and play. 

Yep. I admitted it. I don’t like to play outside in the snow with my kids. (GASP!) Is this the girl who is building a whole brand on connecting in the small moments and making memories and bonding with your loved ones? That’s me! I will fully own the fact that I don’t wake up on a snow day and get excited to watch all the joy my children will have playing in it. Because instead, I wake up selfishly thinking of the ways it makes me unhappy. 

Now, I will say that much of this is because of a little three year old that lives with me. My older children can dress themselves and actually do a fine job with staying warm so that isn’t my concern. It’s my boy who cannot dress himself, has to be dressed in many clothes of which I have to find, and does not know how to keep his hands and neck covered when he plays in the snow. 

It’s also because of what happens when the kids come back in from playing. They take all their clothes off outside (except the bottom layer). They lay it all over the minivan in the garage or in a pile on the floor just inside the door, not even actually in the laundry room. Then they expect to go back out in a few hours and I’m expected to dry everything and have it ready to go for rounds two and three. 

If I could just stand behind my window and watch all the fun from inside my warm and dry home, I would be perfectly happy to share the joy of a snow day with my children. But the three year old needs an adult and the other ones beg for us to come play with them and the clean up is kind of a pain.

So yes, I do not like snow days. It’s one of those parenting moments that I know I have to do to give my children awesome childhood memories and make them have the best experience - hot chocolate when they come in, warm clothes when they’re ready to go back out, and the willingness to go out when they want me to come play with them. 

We are not called as parents to love everything we do. I think there are some moments we have  to make happen because we know it’s the right thing. We may have to do a little pretending that we are happy or maybe we are honest - like I am with my kids about the snow - but they see us do it for them anyway. In the end the values taught could be self-sacrifice or compassion or simply just taking time to spend a moment with someone you love. 

Whatever your reaction to these “special moments” with your children, or anyone else, I think the greatest question we need to ask ourselves is: when this is over, am I going to regret not doing this? If the answer is not an immediate “no”, then we need to get over our issues and make it happen. 

So how did this weekend turn out if I know I’m supposed to make some moments happen? On Saturday, my 11 year old asked me if I would play with her. I said, “Nope.” I was in the middle of some things at home that I really needed to get done and her dad was outside playing with all of them already. They were having a lot of fun. I felt confident saying no to her even though it was one of those special childhood moments. I also knew that more snow was coming which meant I had a chance on Sunday. It was okay for me to not say yes because it’s okay for my children to see that I don’t like to do everything. (Give me a diving board or a water slide or some fun playground equipment in summer and that’s a different story.)

Snow day number one was full of fun childhood memories that I watched from the window. Day two came with more snow and little eyes wondering if mom was really coming out, so I made it happen. I took a deep breath, bundled up, embraced the cold, and went sled riding with my whole crew. It was a blast. I love having fun with my kids. I love laughing so hard we fall over. I love connecting one on one playing outside. I love making memories that don’t happen every day. I love saying yes when I really want to say no because I know that one day I’ll miss that moment. But I hate the cold. I really do. 

Jennifer Zumbiel