What to Do, What to Do? (A Tale of Winter)


Yesterday was our second snow day of the year. Our second 6-8″ inch storm. Our second day of being trapped inside. (Because honestly, there’s only so long my two-year-old wants to be outside before she starts asking to go in or taking her boots off. She hates shoes. Socks, too, so I should probably count my blessings she kept those on.)

I should also count my blessings that this isn’t last winter. Otherwise known as “Everyone in Massachusetts Goes Truly Insane,” or “Sorry You Can’t Play in the Snow! It’s Over Your Kids’ Heads!”

(Can you tell I’m still suffering from a bit of winter PTSD? This is a picture of our Winter 2015 snowman being buried by more snow. He eventually disappeared completely.)

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I enjoy being with my daughters. I enjoy games of pretend. I enjoy coloring and Play-Doh and tag.

I enjoy all of these things. The problem is that over the course of the day, we end up doing many, MANY things. Kids have a short attention span. So we can end up doing coloring, watercolors, Tinkertoys, the kitchen set, and reading all in one hour.

And then…it’s 9 am and we have the rest of the day to get through.

I’m not one of those moms who think television is the devil, so they do watch a few shows during the course of the day.

And then…it’s 10 am.

So we bake cookies. Then, after ten minutes of two girls eating more dough than makes it onto the cookie sheet, I stick the pan into the oven.

And it’s 11 am.

Is it lunchtime yet?

Here’s my question: am I the only mother out there who sometimes just plain doesn’t know what to do with her kids?

Okay, not really. We have toys. We have blocks and cars and a mini trampoline and tons of art supplies. We break news things out and rotate between old things, but sometimes it never seems like enough.

When my Facebook feed is filled with Pinterest-worthy photos of kids conducting snow science experiments.


When the idea of finger painting (or worse–kinetic sand) fills me with dread.

When I miss my old definition of “snow day,” that lovely time filled with relaxation, reading, and TV show binges.

When I suggest what I think will be a super fun activity and I get totally shot down.

I know I’m a good mom. I know I’m a great mom. I’m the mother that only I can be. I’m the mother that my kids need, want, and love.

I don’t feel good, though, when I can’t think of a bloody “new and exciting” thing to do.


When I get frustrated that my younger daughter won’t sit through an entire episode of Doc McStuffins so I can crash on the couch for a half hour.

When I’m always trying to figure out what will “engage” and “inspire.”

When I’m tired.

Maybe I’m doing enough.

I’m never going to be one of those moms who overschedules their kids, with an activity (or two or three) for every day of the week. I know the value of down time.

So why don’t I let myself have downtime as a mother? Not necessarily time where I stop mothering, or shut myself in my room with the door closed and the fan on to drown out any noise (although I have done that before and it has been truly necessary).

But time to let the girls wander the house. Time to let them figure out what they want to do, whether it’s E lying on the couch flat on her back, with an umbrella open over her head, twirling it around, or L trying to fit through the cat tree.

That could be a way to get from 11 o’clock to noon.

I know that I have things to work on as a mom. But my harshest critic is myself. (As usual.) I take the girls to storytimes and dance and playgrounds. We color and read and paint.

Maybe I’m not the best with funky, super original craft projects. Maybe I get discouraged when I suggest playing with blocks and they shoot me down.

Whatever. That just means we can focus on something they’d like even more.

And if I can’t think of something?

I’ll wait until they do.


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1 Response to What to Do, What to Do? (A Tale of Winter)

  1. Joan says:

    It gets a little easier as they get older. I got to the same point you did and finally just scheduled time for them to get bored. Time that I was “off”. I picked like 45 minutes and sat down with a cup of coffee and refused to come up with anything. It was brutal the first week. But then they started doing a little more by themselves. And now they are older so I feel much less guilt about saying “Sorry – go amuse yourself.”
    And also my kids binged played video games Friday and half of yesterday because I was tired. And burnt out. And I’m not my best me if I don’t get some time to not be “on”. To not pretend to be riveted by Pokemon or whatever pretend drama they are playing.
    In short, don’t feel guilty. You aren’t the only one. My feed yesterday was fllled with snow science and on stellar days yeah I do do that stuff but it isn’t always, and it certainly isn’t bad to just give them time to exists, to be comfortable with doing their own thing, or to indulge in binge playing Mariokart.


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