Guest Post—Amy Dix on Winter, Kids, and Keeping Your Sanity

Since I’m (still) in Nashville, I asked Amy Dix of Housewife Hacks if she would write a guest post for me, and to my delight she agreed. When I first ran across Amy and Housewife Hacks, I was smitten with a) her super-cool retro logo and b) her fabulous tips on saving money (She is truly “thriftilicious!”). But when I read that she lives nearby AND has three boys as well, who are ALL PRESCHOOLERS, I knew that she was one of my people. I know you’ll enjoy the post she wrote for us, and I hope you’ll visit Housewife Hacks as well!

Dear Iowa Winter,

I am so over you.

Winter in a cold locale is particularly brutal when you have young kids. They need to expend their energy (i.e. “craziness”) but it often doesn’t feel worth the effort to bundle them all up, warm up the car, and go. I’ll admit to being something of a homebody during the winter season. Like Paula, I have three little boys, ages 4, 3, and nearly 2. I wonder if our local Parks and Rec would consider opening an indoor track for preschoolers. My boys just need to run,GGGGG run, run, and then run some more.

I’m always looking for cheap, easy ways to entertain them. We’ve busted out the crafts; those work pretty well if I can distract my little guy, otherwise grabbing, shoving, and tears ensue. The older two boys love anything sparkly that they can glue onto paper. They’re also infatuated with markers. Why is that? Crayons play second fiddle around here. We tried the invisible markers but they somehow saw through my ploy and the novelty of the special paper wore thin after a day.

What seems to really do the trick is keeping it simple; throwing pillows out into the middle of the room and telling them that they’re special islands that they have to jump on to stay safe from the alligators. They seem to delight in the thrill of the scare and the macabre; they are, after all, little boys. We crash matchbox cars. We make snow ice cream. We make up games with silly instructions. One day, in desperation, I dragged my toddler’s crib mattress onto the living room floor and just let them jump. It bought me a good 45 minutes of “peace”. Shrieking, yes; whining and squabbling, no.

The common component actually is just me; they want my participation. After months of being indoors, they’re tired of each other. I’m tired too. It’s hard to let go of the to-do list in my head and actually stop and just hang with them. But by spending those minutes throughout the hours, our days seem to go more smoothly. At least until just before dinner time, when the chaos starts to bubble and a well-timed DVD saves the day; mama needs sanity too. I’m so curious about how everyone else is faring this winter. How do you make it through the days?


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