While I dearly love both my little angels, and the little angel that is still making me barf everyday, there are some days when I sincerely question my ability to be a good mother. It’s really weird how different people use different things to measure the kind of mother you are. Over at MMW, there is a fun post about ‘what kind of mother ARE you’, and evidently, one mom thinks that if you don’t take your kids sledding, you aren’t worth your salt.
So, that brings me to sledding with kids. There are many things about mothering that I love, and there are many things that I am challenged by. The faces of my children sleeping, the sweet little sighs of a newborn, the feel of chubby arms around your neck, rollie-polie babies in the bathtub, little voices calling out “mama”, and so many other things fall under the heading of LOVE IT. The “Not so Much” column has things like poopy diapers at dinner time, barf down my back at the grocery store, years’ long sleep deprivation, stitches in places that should never see a needle, and sledding with little kids. Yes, that’s in the right column, you read me right, sledding with kids.
It is supposed to be fun. The Norman Rockwell painting make it look fun, the Currier & Ives paintings make it look fun- Notice a trend? They are paintings- I don’t think there are any actual, unstaged photographs of a family with small kids having fun while sledding. Why? Well, let me tell you.
Snow is very pretty. I acutally love living somewhere where it snows; after a lifetime of living in California, it is refreshing to actually have it look like Christmas at Christmas. The problem is not with the snow- it is with what taking little kids out in it entails. Snow is cold. So kids need lots of layers- things like thermals under a snowsuit, parkas, warm socks, boots, mittens, scarves, hats and for Jeffrey, he must have his ear-muffs. You get all this on one of them, and then you start on the next one- and there has not been yet invented snowboots that a kid can get on themselves. When they are bundled up appropriately, you get yourself ready. Almost there- you can taste the snow, you are so excited.
Then, the first one has to pee.
You rush to the bathroom, peeling off layer as you go, trying to unbuckle bib’s and get the pants down in time, but alas, the yellow wave has crested. Now, you have to strip said child down, find new, dry clothes, and start the whole process over. You, meanwhile, are sweating buckets because you are in your parka and scarf, and are running frantically around a heated house. The other kids are waiting by the door, and if you take much longer getting the pee-er ready, the next one will have to pee, too. And, if you are me, you will have to stop and barf sometime during this little charade, at which time you might pee yourself, too. Sound like fun yet?
SO, you finally make it outside. The temperature for the day is about 20 degrees, but with the windchill factored in, you are looking at about 8 degrees. The snow is deeper than the kids imagined, and immediately the littlest one looses a boot when he takes a step, and begins to scream because his foot is in cold snow. You haven’t even gotten the sleds out of the shed yet. Fix the boot, get the sleds, and begin the climb up the hill. Put the kids on the saucer and let ‘er rip- hooray, they are sledding! At the bottom, the disk tips and they faceplant in the snowpile. The bigger kids think this is fun, but the little ones are crying again, and you have to slide down and pick them up and dry the tears. Two more times down the hill, and they start to complain about being cold and wet. You have been outside for about 15 minutes, and now it is time to go back inside.
When you get inside, the lovely, white powdery snow begins to melt, and you now have colossal puddles in your kitchen, along with a gargantuan pile of very wet, heavy clothes and boots. There is water everywhere, and you cannot attend to everyone at once, so someone is crying because they are cold, and the other one can’t find his pants, and then he stepped in melty snow with his new dry socks, and so on and so on…
The bottom line? An hour of chaos for 15 minutes of fun? There is nothing you can try and sell me that will convince me that’s a good bargain. If my kids are going sledding, ever again, it will be with their dad. I will stay home and play Betty Crocker, having hot chocolate and brownies ready for them when they get back. If that makes me a bad mother, bring it on! That’s the kind of mother I AM!