Us vs. Midwest Winter


winter4:45 pm

As I start to finish up work tasks for the day, I look beyond my laptop and out my home office window. That familiar gray blanket sky looks right back at me. I suddenly become sharply aware of how dark the room is. 

Why is it so dark already? 

I turn my lamp on and perform the classic I’ve-been-at-my-desk-too-long stretch. I look down at my feet, covered in socks that are surely intended for mountain climbing. So. Cold. All the time.

While I’m ever grateful for my work-at-home mom life, I’ve noticed it adds a little something to my particular brand of crazy while navigating the brutal midwest winter. Do I get to stay inside in my mountain man socks all day and hide from the cold? YEP. Does this mean I don’t even step out into the real world aside from the five-minute daycare pickup routine? Also, yep. When I worked in an office regularly, I dreamed of working from home life, especially come winter. Now that it’s a reality for so many of us, I’ve found that I have to carve out purposeful time out of the house to save my mood, my sleep, and my sanity. 

Why is it that April-December seems to fly by in a matter of weeks in the midwest, leaving the other three months to tick by over 5,293 slow days?! Years ago, I would fill my days off with the kids with museums, trampoline parks, and indoor playgrounds. Nowadays, it’s a hard pass on our most beloved activities to avoid the germs waiting for us around every corner. Sigh.

So what are we to do while we sit here waiting for that glorious moment when spring peeks its head from behind the curtain of clouds? Embrace it. All of it. 

The cold. I hate, and I mean HATE being cold. But I find it essential for myself and every member of my family to get outside once a day and breathe. We put on all the clothes, head out to our backyard or our local trail, and notice nature. Observe things that are not the inside of our house, for crying out loud. We make it as long as we can, then we scramble back inside and usually appreciate our home just a bit more afterward.

The moods. I first noticed my “seasonal funk,” as I like to call it, back in high school. I just cannot with the gray sky and the endless 30something temperatures. It gets to me, and I see it getting to my husband and kids as well. We try to be mindful of the power of a long winter day to wreak havoc on our moods and give grace where it’s needed. This, too, shall pass!

The crazy. Winter brings out the balloons, the nerf guns, the Solo cup towers, the (gasp) Play-Doh. It’s a big hot mess—every single day. Many days, as I work from home, I step right over every little item like a minefield on my way to warm up my coffee. My house is less chaotic once the winter passes, and I cling to that thought as I ball up a giant unraveled spool of streamers cascaded down our stairway. 

Here’s to all of us, forging on with heads down into the winter months before us. May you be warm, may you be calm. See you at the pool in June.