Chicago mom shares sanity-saving tips for brutal winter

This particular winter is starting to wear on even the snow day loving soul. It’s been long and brutal and it’s not over yet! We’re just beginning February and if you have been in Chicago for any length of time you know that winter here can easily go through March, sometimes into April. Does that have you booking plane tickets, huddled in a corner sobbing?

For mothers especially, I think long brutal winters can be a detriment to mental health. Aside from the cabin fever and the kids bouncing off the walls there is the lack of sun, the more time spent in close quarters with people, and the messes! So many messes! It can break down even the most stable eternal optimist.

So what’s a mom to do when the forecast is calling for at least 12 more inches this week? Here are five things you can do to help save your sanity in this never-ending winter without hiding in a closet with a box of Girl Scout cookies.

1 Make Me Time a priority

When you have small children at home and you can’t get outside to let them run around the playground, there is a good chance that you spend 10-12 hours of your day with someone touching you. If you are anything like me, that’s about 9-11 hours too much. Remind yourself, and your spouse, that me time is not selfish. A happy mom is a happy home (and husband!). Make sure that you schedule at least five minutes of me time a day, even if that is in a closet or locked bathroom.

2 Hide in the bathroom

I find that the best way for me to recoup my mental health is to hand the kids to dad and go lock the bathroom door. I take a long hot bath or shower and drown out all the noises of bedtime gone awry. Take in your favorite magazine, or my own favorite personal indulgence my laptop set up on the counter playing a Gossip Girl marathon. If your husband complains it’s taking too long, just tell him you’re shaving, then fully submerge your ears underwater and zen out.

3 Limit your housework

When you spend every single day in your house without leaving, the messes multiply quickly. The walls start to move in and it feels like your house is shrinking by the minute. The reason is because your kids are in the house with you all the time and they are bored, too! The only cure for their boredom is to get out every single toy they own. Sadly this is the worst thing for a mother’s sanity. If you try to keep up with it you will spend your winter running in circles and going slowly insane. I only clean in the morning, while all the kids are up and playing. I choose one room that they are not in and let them go to town in the others (baby gates for the win!). While they nap, I turn a blind eye and focus on number 1 or 2 above.

4 Embrace the crazy

Sometimes you just have to embrace the insanity. Head out in the snow with the kids and fall backwards, tell them you’re making a snow angel and catch a quick nap. Declare it pajama day and have a Netflix movie marathon with popcorn for lunch. Listen to our I may be Crazy playlist on Spotify {Not safe for little ears} and rock out while hiding from the snow.

5 Act like a cat

If the sun is out, there is one place you will find me in the afternoon, which happily usually coincides with naptime — the leather chair in our office. The sun shines in and it’s the warmest spot in the house. When the winter is pulling you down and sucking all the life (and vitamin D) out of you, curl up in the sun with a cup of hot coffee and be restored.

Most importantly, give yourself and your kids grace. This winter it’s been long, and cold, and hard on everyone. They are tired of being stuck indoors staring at our face as much as we are tired of listening to them bicker. If we’re lucky there will only be six more weeks of it!

What are you tricks for staying sane this winter? Please share!

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