Lessons from the Snowpocolypse
by Leila Dayne
As we start winding down what is now the 4th snow day (out of school) of this winter…with a few break days in between, I was reflecting back on how our time was spent. All of these days with no plans, nothing to do, just hours and hours of open free time. And as I perused Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pheed, etc…I saw my pictures and quotes popping up alongside other parent’s as well. There were plenty of pictures of snow angels and snowmen. Igloo’s and forts. So, according to Facebook, this is how I spent my snow days with the Tiny Human:
We slept in peacefully and woke up to the beautiful snow still falling and covering everything, making it look like a real life christmas card. We knew we were going to conquer the day.
My hair was shiny and manageable. It was a great skin day, minimal makeup required.
We drank frothy hot chocolate in oversized mugs while we ate large home-made breakfasts.
We played board games, and Legos and created our own books.
We went sledding and played outside. Frolicking in the snow like little polar bear cubs.
We jammed out to Jimi Hendrix.
‘Cuz that’s how we roll: Just another day being totally awesome. The usual.
And while all of this is basically true, I’m also full of shit.
Here’s how it really went down.
We did sleep in…well I did, but only after being woken up at least three separate times to answer various questions about breakfast, nerf guns and when we would be going sledding. Eventually I was up. Eventually.
I found the energy to get up, toss kiddo a granola bar and give him the iPad while I showered. Which then turned into a bubble bath because I decided I wasn’t up to standing up for that long. Laziness at it’s finest.
I day dreamed in the tub while relishing the uninterruptible time when the shouts broke through. Since we’ve been staying with my parent’s throughout the storm, tensions were already running a little high and the cabin fever wasn’t helping. The Tiny Human and my 15-year-old brother are more like siblings, so there’s always at least a couple fights. I shouted at the top of my lungs, hoping it would echo enough through the house and I wouldn’t be required to get out of the tub.
“SHUT IT YOU TWO!! BROTHER, STOP HARASSING HIM!! HE’S ONLY A KID!! TINY HUMAN, LEAVE YOUR UNCLE ALONE!! IT’S NOT HIS JOB TO ENTERTAIN YOU EVERY MINUTE!!”
The shouting continued…”DAMNIT!! BOTH OF YOU SHUT IT!!” I screamed before dragging myself out of the tub, hurriedly drying myself off while grumbling under my breath and also still yelling.
I threw on my robe…the universal symbol of “this is as good as its gonna get right now”. My hair was manageable in the sense that it went in a ponytail, and minimal makeup required was just me be too lazy to put any on and also knowing I would be too lazy at the end of the day to take the time to take it off.
I threw together a random breakfast of scrambled eggs, a hot dog, a cold piece of pizza and leftover cupcakes from the birthday party. Breakfast of champions, people. And I took several “spontaneous” pictures of all of us smiling 🙂 obviously semi out of focus so as not to show that, not only had I not gotten around to doing my hair or makeup but I hadn’t even bothered to put real clothes on.
(“Come on… Please. Smile dammit! Look happy! Stop making those weird faces!!”)
The kiddo went back to playing while I went to get dressed. Which basically meant I sat and checked Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pandora, etc. for who knows how long, envied everything every one else was doing and all the fun they seemed to be having. Like Like Like. Comment. Share.
And not to be outdone, I uploaded our new pictures. “Snow days are the BEST!” I wrote in the status. I’m not a total liar. I’m just good at PR.
Time passed–five minutes? An hour? When you’re blissfully ignoring responsibility, the seconds slip by far too quickly.
I was slowly layering up for the impending snow frolicking that was about to happen. We got everything put on, dug out the sleds and headed outside. And down the giant hill we went. It truly was fun…until it came time to trudge back up the hill. Obviously this is always the worst part of sledding but add in a kid wearing a pair of MY boots because he doesn’t have any, nearly a foot and a half of heavy wet snow and a very steep hill you’ve found a very special (and frigid) ring of hell.
I was cold, tired and wet. The first 5 minutes were fun, but the rest…ehh not so much. The Tiny Human enjoyed it though and that’s what matters. We finally came in and attempted to get warm. We made big mugs of hot chocolate. Technically I just poured some powdered hot chocolate mix into a mug and mixed in some water. There was now real frothiness, or anything pretty about it. We didn’t even have whipped cream to top it with. And half of it was spilled all over the counters. It truly didn’t even have that great of a taste…because I think it was an off brand.
Yesterday, the power was out. No tv, no movies, no video games, no internet. “What about the internet on your phone?” you ask. Well, let me tell it to you. I live in the middle of nowhere basically and to get any kind of decent use out of my phone at home I have to connect it to my wifi. Without wifi it seems to take forever to load everything on my phone and kills my battery super fast. And a dead battery during a power outage was enough to send me into a panic attack. And not just due to the lack of power.
Because–guess what? Now I have to actually spend my entire snow day with the kiddo actually with the kiddo.
And here’s the dirty little secret that I’ll never admit on Facebook: I love my kid every fucking second. Would I die for him? You bet. Would I kill for him? Hurt my child, and I will cut you. But, I don’t always want to be with him.
Oh, and meanwhile? We were out of almost everything to eat that didn’t require some form of cooking.
So, we got re-dressed. Peeling off the layers of wet clothing in semi darkness. Wiggling into something new. Trying to find appropriate footwear. Hooker heels would not be safe for slipping and sliding around in.
Tiny came in wearing robot printed pajama pants, shiny black patent leather shoes (his fancy shmancy shoes as he likes to call them), a ridiculously hideous Halloween sweater we’d got him at the thrift shop and a sombrero. I kid you not…not an eskimo hat, nor a warm ski hat…but a freaking sombrero. To say any of this was surprising would be a lie, because he is my kid and I know this.
Normally, I wouldn’t bat a lash at this but we’ve been trapped inside for days, and I just wanted a nice simple day out. I sent him off and told him to put on something normal. I hollered to my brother to get his shit together if he was coming with us. Ten minutes later, with my arms full of stuff, I was still yelling at two undressed boys. “What the hell is going on? Get dressed! Get your asses in gear, right now.” I clapped my hands like a drill sergeant and gave my best stare down. “Chop chop.” People, when you’re parenting solo and your internet is out and you wanna get food, you do what works. And believe you me, this method works.
I can go on, but you get the idea.
Yes, we did play boardgames–but by “playing” I actually mean, we played like one round and then just played with the pieces because we were all bored. Lego’s was more him playing and me lying on the floor observing and occasionally attempting to interact. And making the books was just my sneaky way to make him work on his handwriting without realizing I was basically conning him into doing homework on a snow day.
Yes, the sledding and being outside was fun. For 8.5 seconds as we went down the hill the first time.
Yes, we rocked out to some Jimi. But just for a couple of songs before the kiddo took the CD player hostage and put on his new fav, the latest Kidz Bop cd. FML, people. FML.
Yes, there were blissful moments on those snow days with my kiddo–moments I quickly captured in photographs and Facebook statuses, like butterflies pinioned to a board. “Look everyone! Look! My kid is happy! I’m happy! We’re happy!”
And yes, we are happy. Most of the time. But there are times when we aren’t. And by only sharing the cute and cuddly moments, I ignore the importance of the raw and the real hours that are spent in the trenches making mistakes and learning from them.
– Making sure there are easy and REACHABLE breakfast items available, or you will be woken up three times.
– Sometimes being a drill sergeant works. Sometimes.
– If you are in a rush, don’t let your kid dress themselves. Just pick something out quickly and toss it to them to avoid the hassle and headache.
– Purchasing an ipod and headphones just for the Tiny Humans music is a very real investment I need to make.
And instead of pretending that everything is all sunshine and rainbows, let’s be real: Parenting is ridiculously hard. And all of us do ourselves and each other a huge disservice when we pretend otherwise. Sure, there are great times that should be celebrated. Sure, when our kids do awesome things, by all means, let’s get our brag on. But let’s also not tell each other so many lies by omission.
My life on social media is an airbrushed and Instagrammed image of my real life. I edit the suckage because I want people to think I have my shit together. I give everything a hipstacular filter to make the drudgery look interesting. Most of the time, I think I’m a pretty good mom, and I think I’m giving my kid a pretty good life. But I also think I’d be a better mom if I stopped pretending, and making friends on Facebook feel like they have to pretend as well.
Keeping up with the status messages is exhausting. And it turns friends into frenemies.
Anyway. For all the lies by omission I’ve told on any tier of social media, I’m sorry. I’m really really really sorry. I can’t promise that I won’t do it again, but I can promise that I’ll try to be more real. For all of our sakes.
Because here’s the deal: Parts of my snow days sucked big time. And I’m telling you this because I bet parts of some of your days sucked big time as well. And if that’s the case, I want you to know that all my shiny happy status messages aside, I get it. And if you want to talk about parenting with me–like, really break it down so we can rebuild–I’m here.
Nobody is perfect, so let’s just stop pretending.
All My Love,