I feel like I’m a better mom in the summertime. Sure, winter can be nice for a day or two — around the holidays, after a snowstorm, or when it’s a particularly cozy day spent inside — but I feel happier and healthier when we are playing outside in the sunshine everyday and not getting our vitamin D from a capsule. Unfortunately, winter weather is just part of being a mom if you live in an area that gets cold and dreary at this time of the year. It has taken me many years, but over time I have learned what keeps me sane as a stay-at-home mom of littles in the wintertime.
Invest in big ticket indoor toys
When it’s too cold and rainy or snowy to go outside, indoor toys that get imaginations going and bodies moving are worth the investment. We have a bounce house that the kids have used and loved for years, a mini trampoline that is great for toddlers who need to expend some energy, and an air fort that gives the kids a fun, new space to have imaginative play.
This is also the time of year that we let the kids pull apart the couches to make forts with the cushions. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing thing, but the kids love it.
Play outside when possible
I’ll admit, it’s not my favorite thing to take the kids outside when it is cold and gray (see above where I admit to being a better mom in the summer). However, sometimes we have to get outside. If it’s really muddy, we stick to driveway play only and we take short walks around the block. Everyone feels better after getting some fresh air, and it helps us sleep better too!
If you want to spend more time outdoors this winter, I highly recommend buying appropriate winter gear for yourself. So often we’re only focused on what the kids need, but I bought myself a pair of snow pants a few years ago and I wish I’d done it sooner! Pushing kids on the swings or building snowmen is much more tolerable when you are dressed for the weather.
Embrace cozy time on the couch
In the summer, I want to be up and off the couch more often than not, but in the winter, I’m much more lenient. Whether it’s finding a few shows to watch together as a family, or curling up on the couch with some books, leaning into a slower day can be a good thing.
Get out of the house everyday
As tiring as it is to get everyone appropriately dressed and into the car for an outing, staying inside the house all winter long is not the best option for anyone’s mental health. I try to leave the house everyday, even if we don’t actually get out of the car. Pandemic times taught us that this is possible, and sometimes a trip to the Target drive up and a car wash is enough to keep us all entertained on a winter day.
Take time for you
Early in motherhood, I felt like I had to entertain my kids at all times of the day. Seven years in, I know this isn’t true. If the kids are happily playing, I make my coffee and try to eat my breakfast in peace, read a few pages of my book, work out while they play around me, or I include the kids in my own hobbies, like baking. I am prone to the winter blues, and the best thing I can do for myself is take time to do the things that I enjoy too.
Taking one day at a time is also helpful. Before I know it, the days are getting longer and I can see glimpses of spring.