March in the upper Midwest is a particularly hard time of year on parents: even though the temps start to warm up, there’s dirty snow and/or mud everywhere, the temperature fluctuates wildly, it’s gray and rainy, the playground is wet and miserable. It takes twenty minutes to get a preschooler dressed to play outside, then they splash around in a mud puddle for two minutes and come back in soaked and needing new clothes. Indoors, cabin fever rages and boredom and frustration take hold. It’s easy to retreat to the sofa with the remote and wish for June, and I have long stated that March is the most awful month there ever could be, and almost reveled in hating its guts.
But you know what? I’m tired of despising March. That’s a twelfth of my life I’m wishing away, year after year. Besides, March is when my daughter Clara was born (a year ago tomorrow!) and I can’t go through life hating the month my daughter was born. I need to get over this animosity, stat.
Thinking back to when I was a kid, I don’t remember hating March. Instead, I would put on some boots and go stomp in a puddle. I remember how much I loved the smell of the mud. I still do; it’s just harder to appreciate it when you’re imagining how it’ll look ground deeply into the fibers of your carpet.
Can a veteran March-hater like me learn to love—or at least, appreciate—this most gray and wet of months? I’m going to try. Some ways I plan to take a bite out of the rest of the month:
- · I will take more photos. Even if I don’t love puddles, I can make the camera love them. I’m finding inspiration from this post at Bring the Family with tips on photographing kids in nature.
- · I will make outdoor play easy on myself: set up an area near the back door with rubber boots and jackets, a place where said boots and jackets can dry after puddle-splashing, balls, bats and other outdoor stuff.
- · I will create an easy-to-access, easy-to-clean area for indoor rainy-day (or rainy-week) fun complete with kid-and-mom friendly games (we like Stratego, Sorry and Old Maid), paints and paper, markers, crayons, glue and dry noodles
- · I will not fear the rain. Yesterday we got caught in a downpour on the way back from the park, and I must say, it was rather fun and liberating to just get totally soaked. Even if, between me and three kids, it created almost an entire load of laundry. (What’s with we modern mothers’ irrational fear of laundry, anyway? It takes me maybe five minutes of actual work to complete a load.)
- · I will spend some time outdoors every day. Even if it’s just standing on my back porch and smelling the mud.
Any tips for embracing early spring with kids?