I think I might have had the winter blues.
With only having one car between myself and my husband at the moment, I wasn’t able to leave the house very much. I did try to take the kids outside as much as possible, but it wasn’t easy with the ridiculous amount of layers needed, and the inability to take a newborn out into the snow for very long. Everything had to be done around the littlest one’s schedule. And so we spent far too many hours inside staring out the window.
I tried to make it fun for my oldest. We played with cars and blocks a lot — I don’t know how many zoos and doghouses I’ve built. We listened to music and sang and danced along and I tried to have some sort of craft at least a few times a week. But by April I think we were all going stir crazy. And for most of April, even if it was warm enough the rain kept us inside, though we did have some fun splashing through puddles and playing with umbrellas.
And so it was hard. Everything felt harder than it should have. It was a struggle just to put lunch on the table on some days, much less breakfast and dinner. A lot of this could be explained with me being a new mom of two, and a new stay-at-home mom, I guess. I spent most of my time trying to figure out how to do what I was doing. I guess I still spend most of my time figuring out how to be the mom I think I’m supposed to be. But a lot of it also could be explained by just not being active enough, not getting enough sunshine.
When the weather heated up, I mean really heated up, we were outside all day. We set up our little plastic pool in the morning, we played soccer and ate lunch outside and Sebastian swam. We hunted for worms and flowers and dug in the dirt. It felt like we were finally living. Everything just seemed easier and how it’s supposed to be, how I always thought staying at home with my kids would be. Even Adele cooperated and for the most part enjoyed the fresh air, though when she didn’t I was in such a good mood that I didn’t let it affect me as much as it usually does.
I see now that during the winter I should have put more of an effort into walks or just outdoor stuff. Next year will be different. Sebastian hopefully will be in preschool a couple of days a week and so all of his educational and social interaction won’t fall mostly on my shoulders anymore. Adele will be older and maybe not quite so Mama-focused and needy.
You don’t really notice the weight that’s pressing you down until you get a few warm days in a row that are spent mostly outside splashing in some water, spraying on the sunscreen. We lifted off our layers, literally in the form of jackets and scarves and hats, and figuratively, too.
Just for those few days my shoulders loosened up and I relaxed, whether the naps happened as they should have or not.
I can’t wait for summer.
*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise's Wednesday's Woman on May 25, 2011.