Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How to Be a Happy Mom, Even in February

Oh February, you get a bad rap among stay at home (and especially homeschool) moms.  You hear about those darn February blues.  

Everyone likes to moan and complain about winter. Oh..we're stuck in the house. Oh, it's so cold. Oh, I can't wait until spring.  Oh winter..oh, how horrible, ice, snow, cold.'s just winter. It comes and goes every year. 

In only four months we'll be sweating. I promise.  

But, in the meantime, don't let February steal your happiness. 

I've always liked February. 

Two of my children have February birthday.  Plus, Valentine's Day. Any day with chocolate as the primary method of celebration is a good holiday in my book. 

And, to make things even better...the Superbowl is over and done all my football hating  comrads no longer have to endure ridiculous football talk from the less enlightened. 

February is a great month....believe it or not, spring is close (no matter what the groundhog says) and chocolate abounds. Here are some ways to help you maintain your happiness and sanity....even in February. 

Go outside, as often as possible.  I think people get depressed in February because they stay inside too much.  As the Swedish say...Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder.  Which means, there is no bad weather, only bad clothing.

The Swedish also say Av barn, fyllon och dårar får man höra sanningen. Which means, from children, drunkards and madmen you get to hear the truth.  So, you know they're smart. 

Anyway, go outside.  Dress up, bundle up, put on your boots or your snowshoes, grab a sled, steal a sled  dog... whatever it takes to get everyone out and get some fresh air.  Even if it's just for 20 minutes, it will do everyone a world of good. If you live in a place with routine subzero temperatures, invest in warm outdoor clothing and get out.   The exercise will do you good and fresh air never hurt anyone.

Plus, you'll feel like a hero afterwards...which is also good. 

Sure you may be saying...easy for you say, Amelia.  You live in Virginia. Never fear, I've done my time up in frigid New England.  I've experienced winter.  And, it's not that bad.  Believe it or not, I prefer the risk of frostbite over the ever present risk of heat stroke we had to endure while living in Florida. 

So...go outside.  Even better, go to the zoo.  The zoo is awesome in winter.  Most animals tend to be more active in the cold and you get the whole place to yourself.   Winter is my favorite time to go to the zoo. 

Resist the urge to do too much baking.  When the weather is cold, and we are stuck indoors, I want to do nothing more than bake cookies.  Lots and lots of cookies.  Cookies are okay in moderation....but not as an every-other-day-thing, because then we just end up eating tons of cookies.  Usually, we stick to only eating dessert on Sunday...but when the snow comes down and we are stuck inside for days on end, it's hard to resist the lure of fresh baked chocolate chippers. Resist, resist, resist I say...because it really does more harm than good. 

Take Vitamin D3.  Just do it, it's really, really, really, really hard to get enough Vitamin D from the sun, and I have noticed a SIGNIFICANT decrease in the number of colds and other illnesses we get when we take Vitamin D on a regular basis, during the winter.  I really believe that Vitamin D3 is the one vitamin that most people DO need to supplement.  You can't really get it from food, unless you eat a ton of cod liver oil.  We're supposed to get it from the sun, but unless you work outside, you likely don't spend nearly enough time in the sun to make enough Vitamin D.  

Throw a Valentine's Day Party.  I love Valentine's Day parties.  I think Valentine's Day is my favorite "secular holiday."  Not because I like romance or anything, I'm just in it for the chocolate.  Invite a few friends with kids over, throw out some paper, crayons, markers, stickers and glue.  Let everyone make Valentine's cards to give to each other, and eat copious amounts of chocolate. Don't stress over it...just consider it a reason to have friends over and eat chocolate. 

Don't Be Isolated.  I think a lot of people tend to get depressed in winter because they tend to become a bit isolated.  Don't do that.  Obviously sickness can keep you all isolated but otherwise...get out. Hang out with friends, invite people over.  Or, if you don't have any friends...make some.  Find something to join...a playgroup, a gym, a book club.  Everyone else is looking for friends just as much as you are, so be the one to extend the invitation.  I get it's hard if you are shy..but it's also, so, so important for your mental health.  Just do it.  Use's easier. 

Pick a Project. Any project. Writing, Blogging, Knitting, Juggling. Running. Sewing. Reading.  Drinking (kidding, kidding). Just find something that gets you excited, that you enjoy doing and find the time to do it.  Having a project to work on really does make a huge difference.  Start small, but find something you enjoy as a hobby and make the time to do it.  

Do one thing.  This is my strategy for when I feel edgy or trapped or restless. I pick one thing to do and do it.  It could be a big thing or a small thing, but doing just one thing is enough to make me feel accomplished. Sometimes it even gives me the momentum to do more things, which at least makes me feel accomplished, if nothing else. 

And, if all else fails, remember that February does only have 28 March is coming soon. 
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  1. Great post! Thank you! I'm hosting my book group this month, so we'll be having Valentine's book group party -per your suggestion!

    Also, we're reading John Stuart Mill, so a little wine and chocolate will be welcome...

    :-). Theresa

  2. The go outside one is a good one! We'd been hibernating and grumpy. This week we finally just bundled up and headed outside anyways and it was amazing how much it helped our moods!

  3. Great suggestions! I always assumed winter would be a terrible time for the zoo. So many of the animals are native to warm parts of the world (like Africa), so I figured the zoo wouldn't even "let them out" of their back-room enclosures...but maybe we'll have to check it out sometime.

  4. Just so it's clear, my wife was not really recommending the theft of sled dogs with this blog entry. Such activity would increase your likelihood of going to jail and suffering dog bites. All such references are purely stylized embellishments.


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