Urban Suburban Mommy

Thanks a lot, winter, like I needed that.

Know what my least favourite part of the day is? I bet it’s yours too.

Those painful minutes trying to get your kids out the front door every morning.

Seriously, at the best of times it’s like a game of Simon Says being played by squirrels with nobody trying to win. Here’s what my average morning sounds like:

Put your coat on. Where’s your lunch. Give him back his shoes. No, the cat doesn’t want to go to school. Leave your stuffie at home. Leave your beyblade at home. Put your brother’s Lego guy down. I saw you sneak your beyblade into your backpack. Why is your shirt dirty? You forgot to brush your hair. Where’s your hat? Put on your shoes! Not that jacket, the other jacket. No, you don’t have to change your underpants, the orange ones are fine.

And that’s a good day.

It’s hard enough to get them out of the house on time with all of their belongings in nice weather. The winter exits are probably going to be my undoing. I feel like I’m going crazy – and I actually feel like I deserve a reward when I get them both out of the house and to school on time, with their backpacks, lunches, indoor shoes, wearing boots, snowpants, jackets, hats and gloves.

  1. Backpacks
  2. Lunches
  3. Indoor shoes
  4. Boots
  5. Snowpants
  6. Jackets
  7. Hats
  8. Gloves

It’s only an 8 point checklist – times two boys – now how could that go wrong?

Seriously, raising children in a cold-weather climate is frustrating.

I have learned three tricks. They don’t make mornings any easier, but they keep mornings from getting harder.

Trick # 1:

I don’t care how many kids you have, if they are remotely able to wear the same size hats and gloves, go out and get numerous identical sets of hats and mitts. I like the mitts to be weird colours and patterns so that they’re easy to spot in the lost and found or lying around the schoolyard. In the morning there are no fights about “I want that hat! He took my gloves!”

Because no.

And if you’ve ever experienced trying to buy gloves in February, you’ll know they’re all gone and off the shelves. Buy early, buy often. I buy 10 pairs of the same mitts. Lose one? No problem, there are still 9 more to match the survivor.

Trick # 2:

Neon. I try to find neon jackets – or at least brightly coloured jackets. This year one is orange, the other is aqua. Do you know how easy it is to find your kids in the schoolyard, on the playground or at a winter festival when they’re in technicolour? If they leave it anywhere it’s easy to spot, just like the gloves. You’ll thank me.

Trick # 3:

Wall hooks. Each child has his own set of wall hooks by the door (we have no front hall closet). There’s a hook for the snowpants, a hook for the coat, and a hook for the schoolbag. “Mitts in the hat, hat in the sleeve” is my morning mantra and evening mantra, and I drill it into them in hopes that my dozen (did I say 10? Maybe make it an even dozen. A baker’s dozen, just to be safe) sets of hats and mitts make it through the winter. There is no searching around for stuff in the morning. It is by FAR the most organized area of my life and one of the only routines that is remotely followed. Not always, sometimes I find a coat in the mudroom and a hat on the kitchen table, but when there’s a basket of 15 sets of mitts and gloves by the front door, it’s an easy remedy in the morning.

Bonus: Trick #4:

Move to Costa Rica. 36° in the shade, you’ll never have to rummage through the lost and found for another pair of snowpants ever again!