Surviving Winter With Kids (Without Losing Your Mind)


Surviving Winter With Kids (Without Losing Your Mind)So here’s the deal, you guys. I have four kids (all boys), homeschool, and suffer from anxiety and depression that is exacerbated by winter’s lack of sunshine. Being at home all day, every day without being able to go outside, enjoy the sunshine, or do all of those wonderful things one can do with a gaggle of boys during the long days of summer is enough to make me clinically insane.

I kid you not, while typing that last paragraph I had to race off to the kitchen because someone broke an antique bowl – the second in 24 hours – and there was glass scattered all over the tile floor. This wouldn’t happen during summer because at 6:30pm my boys are outside playing. It is now dark as midnight, we’ve been home all day, and they are all absolutely bonkers.

I hate winter.

Hate it hate it hate it.

I try so hard every year and this one is no exception. I swear that I will not complain, I will be all Norwegian and embrace koselig, and do all the things one can only do during winter! Then January (also known as a cold, grey, bucket of suck) rolls around and I spend my days staring out the window like a sad puppy while the kids scream and watch tv and we hate all the things.

This post is my way of finding things I can do to hate winter less.

Despite 36 years of life and 10 years of motherhood, I still can’t seem to gather my thoughts and remember what to do, so I’m making a list and sharing it with you. We can hold each other accountable, offer reminders, and refuse to be sad little Belles in the midst of what can only be described as Sherman’s last punishment of the South.

  • Exercise every day. Every. Single. Day.

    Typically during hard training seasons I take 1-2 days off from working out each week so I can fully recover and train hard the other 5-6 days. During the winter, forget it. If I don’t get a good sweat on my mood is worse than awful. Battling depression when the weather is working against you takes doing absolutely every other thing you can do to stay something short of miserable. I’ll go to the gym and work hard most days, but even on “rest day,” I’m going to get moving. Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood or a dance party with the kids, nothing perks me up faster than endorphins.

Exercise = Endorphins = Happy
  • Go outside!

    It’s been in the teens in Chattanooga this weekend and I am just not cut out for that kind of cold. Bundling up and braving that chill will do wonders for your mood and your kids’. Fresh air, rosy cheeks, and a little running around will offer a reset in the middle of a dreadful day.

This is a kid who doesn’t mind the cold!
  • While you’re outside, get in the car and go somewhere!

    Sitting at home and staring at the piles of undone chores and schoolwork we need to complete is enough to make me want to hibernate until April. Buckle up, turn on some music, and go run a couple of errands. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, and thankfully we live just over a mile from Target.

  • Bring your favorite smells inside.

    Whether it’s candles or essential oils or something yummy baking in the oven, a comforting smell inside your home can work wonders for your home and your mood. Right now I’m diffusing patchouli and orange because it reminds me of summers during college. Whether Doterra, Young Living, or some delicious candle from Marshalls, you can’t go wrong with a happy scent when you come in from the cold.

  • To help your kids manage the cold, dark days of winter offer up some hot chocolate or a midday bath!

    It’s special, unique to winter, creates awesome memories, and will warm up cold fingers and toes.

Marshmallows will definitely score you some extra mom points!
  • Find something active for your kids to do every day.

    Especially if you homeschool or if your little ones haven’t started school yet, being stuck inside leaves a lot of energy all bottled up that will come out at all the wrong times (see example of my broken bowls above). Just like you need to move every day, so do they! Go to the Y, take a long walk around the mall (or Target!!), sign up for Homeschool PE, or play a winter sport. Make sure those kiddos are burning off that energy in good ways, instead of breaking dishes or jumping on your furniture.

  • Finally, remember that it’s just a season – both literally and figuratively.

    Winter doesn’t last forever, your kids won’t be little forever, and you won’t feel like you’re trying to lasso a group of wild monkeys forever. Being a mom during the winter months is a special kind of hard, but spring is coming. So get your sweat on, wear some fuzzy socks, fix your kids some hot cocoa, and sit back with a cup of coffee. Just make sure you drink that coffee fast because the kids will soon be playing in the toilet or swinging from the chandeliers and cold coffee is particularly annoying when it’s freezing outside.

What do you do to chase away the winter blues? Share with us by leaving a comment!


  1. All excellent reminders. Fortunately, my gaggle is a bit older, and in school. So they went back today. But the last week and a half (thank you snow days – NOT!), they have been booooored. I kept my sanity by offering them crafts while I exercised, and then we saw every kid movie available at the dollar theater. Keep pressing on, fellow mama! And invest in a good bottle of Vitamin D. It has changed my life this winter, for mood’s sake.

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