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Sunday Morning Tea: surviving snow days, mom temper tantrums, and links for you

by Meagan Francis on November 17, 2013

snow day

I’ve been experimenting with new names for our weekend series and Sunday Morning Tea is speaking to me – it feels cozy and warm and peaceful and Sunday-ish, doesn’t it? Let me know what you think!

This is the view that welcomed me when I opened our front door Tuesday morning. 

Yes, we get a lot of snow here in the southwest corner of Michigan. They call it “lake effect” snow, and it can be bountiful and unexpected – and strangely isolated to certain pockets of the region.

But it’s been many years since we’ve had anything near this kind of snowfall in early November, and we definitely weren’t expecting to wake up Tuesday with the news that our little city – (incidentally, just our city; surrounding areas got much less) received 17 inches of snow in one 24-hour period.

Look! The trees hadn’t even gotten around to dropping their leaves yet. (What a sight it was, later that day, to see the bright reds and yellows and oranges falling in earnest against the white backdrop of the snow!)

Snow days can be so magical. We stayed in our pajamas and ate French toast and bacon for breakfast; then the younger boys dared Jacob to jump in the snow in nothing but a pair of shorts. He was happy to oblige – for a bounty of five dollars:

We laughed, we lounged, we messed up the kitchen and then cleaned it up together. It was a wonderful morning.

Of course, as can also happen on snow days, at some point I started to get kind of – okay, really – cranky.

Maybe it was the third time I had to pull Clara’s mittens off to remove caked-in snow from her wrists, or the third time one of the boys tromped in from playing outside and got snow all over the hardwood floor.

Maybe it was when I had to hide in my bedroom to write and they still kept knocking on my door to ask me questions – inexplicably, since Jon was also home and right in the same room with them.

Maybe it was when I decided to write off getting any work done for the day and figured I’d make a big dinner instead, and the boys all piled into the kitchen pawing at each other at precisely the time I needed to take something out of the oven.

Yes, I had more than one little temper tantrum. 

When we sat down to dinner, still flustered and flushed, I paused before taking a bite, and said “You know what? You all got on my nerves today. Every last one of you!” 

Forks halted halfway to their mouths, the kids all gave me that uh-oh-mom’s-about-to-blow sideways stare I’ve come to know so well.

Jacob bravely asked what he had done to incur my wrath.

“You came running into the kitchen when I was about to take the roast out!”

“What about me, mom?” Owen asked.

“You were smacking around that half-deflated balloon in the dining room and it was really loud!”

“I didn’t do anything, did I, Mom?” William said hopefully.

“YOU? Wasn’t it you who wanted another drink of water when I’d just started the dishwasher?”

By this point we were all laughing as my accusations became more ridiculously detailed – and obviously, once I said them out loud, minor. “Ah, well, you guys – you know I love you, but sometimes, Mom just gets kind of grumpy…and you guys really can be annoying,” I finally finished.

The air cleared, we all dug in and enjoyed the rest of our meal.

I can’t always pinpoint the source of mom-crankiness. Sometimes it comes out of nowhere, triggered perhaps by hormones, perhaps by a day gone too far off the usual course, perhaps just by the fact that living with five children can be really annoying at times.

But I no longer try to force a smile and grit my teeth through it. Our house can be explosive and loud at times, but I’d take the laughter, ribbing and honesty over quiet, bottled-up stewing any day.

And I still love snow days, even if, by the mid-afternoon mark, I’m usually chomping at the bit for the kids to go somewhere – anywhere - that doesn’t require me to struggle with boots and mittens and snow pants and hats.

sunday reads

As usual, Sarah and I pulled together a handful of stories we think you might like to read this week. Here are some links that caught our attention!

And over at Babble, I’ve got a fun slideshow up – all about teaching kids lessons in good sportsmanship from their favorite Disney movies. I hope you’ll check it out: How To Be A Good Sport: 7 Lessons From Disney Movies



{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Yvonne November 17, 2013 at 9:13 am

I love the title “Sunday Morning Tea”. As soon as I saw the tagline I wanted to read it.Thanks for sharing about how you get grumpy with your kids. I do too and likely every other women on this earth. It does seem to come over me out of nowhere. My husband never ever gets like that. No fair !


Carla November 17, 2013 at 11:33 am

I look forward to what you share on Sunday mornings!


Tragic Sandwich November 17, 2013 at 11:36 am

I love “Sunday Morning Tea” as a title–and I’m going to have some in just a few minutes! And I think we all get grumpy with our kids for the same reason they get grumpy with us. Because we are human!


Lindsey November 17, 2013 at 11:38 am

I always love your links. I particularly like the piece – featuring you! – about raising boys. xox


Jennifer L.W. Fink (@jlwf) November 17, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I love “Sunday Morning Tea.” Sounds comforting and cozy and relaxing.

I also love your complete honesty with this post! Yes, living with kids can be annoying, and every single parent will have temper tantrums. What I love about your post — and what was illustrated so beautifully in your story — is that you show these moments as a normal part of life. n so many homes, anger or frustration or hurt feelings are a ticking time bomb. You show us (and your family) that it’s all normal. You get frustrated sometimes. You get crabby sometimes. And it’s OK to feel that! It’s OK to feel it and express it, and life can go on from there. That’s a great thing to teach your children, and a great thing to teach all of us. Thanks for sharing, Meagan.


Meagan Francis November 17, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Aw, thank you Jenny. You’re so right that crabbiness is a part of life, and I never want my kids to feel like they have to walk on eggshells around me OR to feel like their behavior doesn’t affect me (because as silly as the things I was pointing out were, the truth is that, as a package, they were being pretty obnoxious!) still, nothing they did was so awful that it was worth ruining a dinner over…for myself OR them, and I find it’s just better to have a mini blow-up and then move on :)


Joyce Day November 17, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Hi Meagan,

What a warm cozy post – you are amping up my excitement for winter! I am a cold weather girl and I love snow days too:) We have a fantastic fireplace and I can’t wait to use it again.

Unfortunately, we are hunkering down to avoid tornadoes today! Two were in our area this morning:( The wind and rain has blown away most of the rest of our fall leaves, which feels a little strange because it is so warm! We are in the 60′s here!

Anyhow, have a lovely day!


Meagan Francis November 17, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Joyce, there were tornado warnings all over our region today, too. Hope you are safe and snug at home!


Meagan Francis November 17, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Thanks, everyone, for the feedback on the new title – I think I’ll keep it!


Kimberly Sneed November 17, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Thank you Meagan {and Sarah} for including us in Sunday reads! What an honor! I love the name AND loved your Babble article! We just watched Planes last weekend and I thought it had such a good message too! Always nice when shows can teach our kids something valuable! :)


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