In the not too distant past, upon winter's arrival, I would curl up in a fetal position. I would rock gently back and forth, chanting, "Go away. Just go away," but it never would. No matter what I did, winter continued on its merry way, unconcerned in the least with my opinion.
I dreamed of moving to a warmer climate, but it would seem that Jamaica doesn't have a burgeoning demand for bloggers. I cursed my ancestors. Of all the places they could have settled, why here? Why not Florida?! I dropped the F word repeatedly—freezing. I was not a happy camper.
Fast forward to this year and I am already mourning the too short season of winter. You read that correctly. I don't want it to end, I've been having way too much fun! Here's what I did to make winter not only bearable but unbeatable in the fun books.
Nowhere is the old adage "fake it 'til you make it" more appropriate. I started to tell myself I loved winter. I found the good side in all aspects of the season, even when we were shivering in sub-zero temperatures. If it was too cold outside it meant I could snuggle under my Hudson Bay Blanket with a good book and nest. It was all good.
This was a crucial step in my embrace winter philosophy. It got us outside on cold days, and it wasn't difficult to learn. As an added bonus, the investment for equipment was minimal. Snowshoeing began to take my fake it mentality into make it reality when I began to notice the beauty found in the woods during the winter months.
For years I had a fashion over function mindset in the winter. To this day I remember breaking down crying at a bus stop in the dead of winter in my beautiful flats in -20C weather. Yeah, I looked great, like a great big fool. As the years went by I slowly got wiser, but when I decided I was going to make winter my bitch, I got down to brass tacks. In my winter attire you will now find baclavas, toques, wool socks, base layers, leather mittens, Arctic outerwear, warm boots and hand and feet warmers. Where I used to step outside and curse until I stepped back in, I now step out and wonder what everyone is fussing about.
Sometimes it's just around the block—even I can't condone hours outside when the mercury dips below -25—and other days I work hard to get 10,000 steps in my day. I can say unequivocally that this simple step has made a huge difference in my feelings toward winter. Cabin fever is a real thing people, and fresh air is the cure.
Screw that. For me it was skiing. Skiing absolutely terrified me and therefore I was determined to conquer it. From a massive breakdown on the bunny hill last year to skiing blue runs this year I can honestly say that skiing has been the final step in my transformation from winter hater to winter lover.
Now here I am mid-February and I'm already dreading the end of the season. Yeah, yeah, I know summer is coming but where can I ski in July?
Nobody can make you love winter. I'm only trying to make it the season easier for you. So unless you're planning a move to warmer climes, invest in some warm weather gear and get out there. It's a season too good to be missed.
I'm fairly convinced it's the weathermen who are responsible for this recent spate of parenting labels. I remember when the Polar Vortex used to be referred to as "good old winter" and when Snowmaggedon was simply a “snow storm.” I also recall the day when Snowplow parents, Helicopter parents, and Tiger Moms were just parents. We were all just parents–in the trenches together—no special labels required.
There are times I look at parents I know and think in comparison I'm doing it all wrong – their children just seem so perfect. And then other times where I'm fairly convinced I'm all that and a bag of chips— because my children are perfect-ish. So, who's doing it right? The truth is nobody knows because it’s a big waiting game. The final score, sadly, is often not tallied until long after we’re dead. Cheery thought, I know. I’m all unicorns and sunshine over here.
I babysat a little monster when I a teenager. This kid was only a headspin away from an exorcism and I was convinced there was only prison time ahead for him. At the time, I remember thinking his parents were obviously responsible for his wretched behaviour. Today, he's charming, successful and absolutely nothing like he was. I have no idea if this is as a result of parenting or personality.
A few years ago I wrote a Parenting Manifesto. What I said there remains true to this day. I am not interested in labels. I parent based on what was modelled for me, which is good for my kids because I have amazing parents. I also trust my instinct and truthfully I can attribute some of it to good old fashioned luck—luck, because circumstances are such that I am privileged and don’t need to stress about the basics for my children—food, shelter, water—as too many parents do.
I'm a crazy mix of Free-range, Helicopter and Tiger. Okay fine; I probably have Snowplow traits as well. I am a freaking mess, people! I guess this makes me a plain old parent—hoping to find that damn elusive manual that tells me exactly how to deal with two eye rolling tweens at the same time. If you have a copy could you send it over please?
When we were children, our parents didn't have terms to coin other parents, unless they were jerks and then you always overheard a choice name or two dropped in a whisper. Maybe, the old way of doing things was better in this case. Today we have too much conflict in the parenting trenches. On top of being worried about our own children’s welfare, we’re holding our pitchforks high for those that don’t parent their kids our way. Enough.
If you love your children with all your heart, then leave the labels to the weatherman and carry on. You’re doing it right—probably.