by Jocelyn Jane Cox
Welcome to the Chronicles of Parenting by local author, freelance writer, blogger and parent-of-toddler Jocelyn Jane Cox. Read on for advice you never knew you needed and the chuckles you know you really need, tailored to those who live in the Great State of Parenthood.
What you are about to read is an act of desperation, words admittedly typed by a parent grasping at straws…for the days are short and the months are long; the trees are bare and the holidays are long gone. (My nosedive into bad rhyme schemes right there should give you an idea of my shaky mental state.) In a seasonal sense, we here in the Northeast have hit rock bottom, so we must work hard, very hard, to find some positives. Though they are few and far between and also far-fetched, we must hold onto them with everything we’ve got. This is survival my fellow friends and parents, so I urge you to take heart in the following facts:
- Snow is free! Of course, heat, snow pants, and sleds are not, but snow, at least for now, is free. And though it may arrive when it is least convenient (like on the day of that big work event you’ve been working towards for the last five months), there is no admission cost, no tax, and no hidden fees for your child to walk outside your front door and play. He or she may do so for hours on end…or, okay, more realistically, for seven minutes, until the cold seeps in. At least those precious moments cost nothing, and you can’t say that about many kid’s activities these days.
- The mall is warm! Pack up that stroller and put your walking shoes on, because there’s a place where you can do laps when the parks are too frigid. And if you happen to wander into a store (or ten) with your credit card in hand, remember that it’s actually healthy to treat yourself to colorful clothing and decorative goods to offset the dearth of sunlight. Disclaimer: this could be costly, but just think of all that money you were saving when your kid was playing in the snow (see above.)
- Illness makes the best excuse! If you can’t bear to leave your house in this gloomy weather, the good news is that you and your child are guaranteed to be sick about 85% of the next three months, anyway. You can leave your pajamas on and park yourself and your sniffly kid in front of the TV. Granted, being sick is miserable in many ways, but it does have a nice way of keeping you obligation-free. So get your favorite blanket, a box of tissues, and make it your business to hibernate.
- Indoor playgrounds aren’t so bad! Sure, they’re low on fresh air, and high on germs, but the floors are usually nice and squishy, and a plethora of soft mats decrease your kids’ bruise, sprain, and broken-limb factor. This means that, unlike outdoor playgrounds, you can zone out a bit, or even doze off…you know, take one of those naps with your eyes open. Besides, parents usually have to take off their shoes too, so this is an opportunity to show off your cute socks (just don’t forget to wear them that day…)
- No sunscreen required! Yes, there are many other annoying layers to convince (force) your child to wear – hat, scarf, mittens, and that pesky thing called a coat – but at least you don’t have to gear up for The Battle of the Sunscreen. If this isn’t a reason to rejoice, then I don’t know what is. Of course, right around May you’ll be wishing that all you had to do was zip up a jacket before going outside.
- Hats hide bed head! If your offspring rarely give you a chance to shower in peace, let alone dry and style your hair, then you are in luck because hats help you guiltlessly give up on this pipe dream all together. Even the least fashionable headgear can thoroughly cover your dirty little secret. Come summer, you’ll still have the same problem, but you won’t be able to disguise it so easily.
There you have it: if these excellent survival suggestions didn’t really make you feel better…I don’t blame you. Feel free to resume your whining and complaining – I’m right there with you.
Jocelyn Jane Cox is a freelance writer and author. Her 2012 humor book on life in the New York suburbs, The Homeowner’s Guide to Greatness: How to handle natural disasters, design dilemmas and various infestations, is available on Amazon.com. Follow her on Twitter at @JocelynJaneCox.