Tag Archives: parenting humor

How to have the perfect apple picking experience

The sky is a perfect cerulean blue, there is a hint of chilliness in the air and if you listen hard enough you can almost hear the screeching death wail of summer. It’s finally time. Time to go apple picking! Because you promised yourself you would give the kids less stuff and more experiences. Which you didn’t actually mean but then made the mistake of mentioning it to them after your second glass of wine last night and they have NOT forgotten. 

The first thing you’ll want to do is get an early start. Because everyone else has also decided today is the perfect day for apple picking. And no, it doesn’t matter what day you pick. It’s always that day. 

Of course, this means gently herding everyone out of the house. And when that fails three times, screaming at everyone to hurry the hell up and get into the goddamn van. Which they will absolutely do after three trips to the bathroom, a meltdown over a weird sock bump and a fruitless argument about how many stuffies everyone is allowed to bring (in theory none, in practice three each). 

Now, no family-friendly fun-filled trip to the apple orchard is complete without a scenic drive down some picturesque roads. Try to remember this beauty and wholesome moment together as you finally arrive and immediately get into the Parental Parking Lot Fight. Because the driveway is right there. Right THER…well, you passed it. No, that’s the exit. Turn LEFT! Right THERE. See the sign! No, to the LEFT. Not that parking lot, it clearly says birthday party parking, the OTHER one. 

Don’t worry though. Any lingering anger over parking (and then getting out and then getting back in and parking again because you were wrong, it WAS the birthday party parking lot you were supposed to go to, not that you’ll ever admit you were wrong, the signs are stupid and confusing), will eventually dissipate when you head to the cashier and the Sticker Shock sets in. Because it IS that much. And no, it doesn’t include that. Or that. Those are separate tickets. 

But hey, you made it! It’s important to note here that the first ten minutes of apple picking is the Actual Genuine Fun Window. Savor this. Even when something in a hay bale bites your butt, ignore it because the kids are literally full of joy right now and running around in nature, squealing with delight in the fresh air. It’s downright magical. This is the time to take 600 almost identical photos. 

Soon however, you’ll notice how hot it is. It’s really hot. Stupid hot. Because every year you think September will feel like fall but it never does. Why did you wear a sweater? And why is this orchard so big? Oh, and look, somehow your youngest pulled off an entire branch of an apple tree even though she is the size of a pixie and you could yeet her over to the pear tree section if so inclined. And you don’t even know where your other kid is. 

This is when you’ll remember you saw a hard cider tent on the brochure. 

In total, there will be no less than five sibling fights, three tantrums and one dramatic storming off (before said stormer realizes there is nowhere to storm off to in this godforsaken Land of Endless Apples). Feel free to get creative with your hissed threats. As in “I swear to god if you little gobshites don’t knock it off we will sell you to the farmer and he will use you as scarecrows.” And don’t worry if anyone else hears you. They will be too busy threatening their own kids. 

After lugging a gigantic bag of apples around (one bushel being the equivalent of 780 apples) there is nothing you’ll want to do more than rest and have a hard cider. Which is why next on your agenda is going through the mazes! All three of them! None of which are anywhere close to you or close to each other.  

The first maze will take forever, which is why when you end up coming out the entrance you accept victory because at one point you did have a fairly legitimate fear you would die in there. 

Luckily the second maze is kids-only. Make sure to stand in the hot sun next to the super chill parents that use phrases like “it’s such luxury garbage” so that you and your partner can bond over how much you hate these other parents while you wait. 

Time for an apple cider donut break! Which you’ll awkwardly eat standing up on exhausted legs after standing in a 20 minute line because one of the kids saw a bee over by the picnic tables and refuses to get within ten feet of them now. But the good news is the hard cider tent is also nowhere near the apple cider donut stand. 

After fighting over caramel apples (because you are NOT getting back in that line) and pulling the youngest out of the goat pen that she somehow managed to get inside of, you will be ready to pack it up and call it a day. Once you find your other kid. 

Oop, but you forgot about the third maze and you PROMISED. And yes, the third maze is in the complete opposite direction of the parking lot. On the plus side, you will be only the second loudest arguing family in the maze, the first being the one led by Nate, as in “Dammit Nate, how do you keep finding every single dead end!?” If you make it out alive, you’ll hope to befriend these people who are just as miserable as you. 

It goes without saying but the hard cider tent is also not inside this maze. 

Finally it’s time to head home. After buying two gigantic pumpkins PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE that you’ll have to lug all the away across the parking lot because you just don’t have any fight left in you. 

As you drive away, you will finally see the hard cider tent. You give it a sad little wave and head off into the sunset, on your way back home where you will look up apple pie recipes that you never actually intend to make. 

So, how was school today?

Well, the first week of school is officially over. And what an amazing week it was!

I think.

I actually have no idea what is going on, because small humans are awful at communicating (albeit very good at communicating awfully loudly). So far, this is the information I’ve managed to glean from our chaotic post-school conversations:

No one noticed the first grader’s very new, very super cool LOL doll-thing snack bag. 

Third grader: Zombies!

OR HER NEW LIGHT UP SHOES!

Third grader: Zombie blood! 

Someone did mention her dress pockets though.

Lunch on Wednesdays is pizza. Duh. Everyone knows that. 

First grader is pissed they haven’t learned science yet. 

I did not pack them nearly enough snacks. 

So many more graphic details about zombies for some reason. Random reference to Minecraft. 

THEY’RE STARVING. 

First grader got a lollipop from someone. She thinks their name might be Fuchsia. 

Third grader’s teacher’s name is pronounced Frlskjfkshfkjsh (98 percent sure this is incorrect).

First grader LOVES her teacher. Teachers. First grader has three teachers this year ??? One is Mrs. Theolien. One has blonde hair. One is *indecipherable murmuring*

Zombie blood coming out of all kinds of eyeballs! And butts! And penises! 

First grader can take out TWO library books this year. 

I bought the wrong cartoon-shaped graham crackers. 

Apparently all zombie content is related to playground game and/or unsanctioned LARPing during class time. Or video game ???

Third grader can TOO wear a hat all day in the building, MOM.

Yasmin has better snacks. 

ON CHICKEN PATTY DAY THIRD GRADER DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO EAT ENTIRE CHICKEN PATTY. THIS WAS NOT OK. 

There are anywhere from two to five third grade teachers. They all wear glasses. One is a man. Although he might teach fourth grade. 

Once again, the first grader did not do any science experiments involving goggles and dangerous chemicals that go BOOM. 

Third grader may have illegally drawn a few new pages in his comic book during class time but the POINT IS he didn’t get caught. 

Comic book is about zombies. 

Wait, maybe Fuchsia isn’t her name. It might be Sparkle Shine. 

Third grader has a locker! His very own! 

First grader is devastated that she has a mere cubby. 

Third grader’s locker doesn’t have an actual lock, if that makes her feel better. 

It weirdly does. 

Can first grader spend the night at Lollipop Girl’s house, whose name is definitely Jessamalyn, this weekend? Or maybe her name is Fuchsia? Yeah, definitely Fuchsia. PLEASE?

Third grader’s socks felt weird but he didn’t have a tantrum because he was at school. Also he is going to be a zombie for Halloween. 

MOM! PERIWINKLE IS MY BEST FRIEND! WHY CAN’T I SPEND THE NIGHT AT HER HOUSE?

There’s no place like home alone

So…here we are.

Hey. 

Hi, I guess. 

Sorry. This just feels so awkward. It’s been so long since we’ve been…alone. As I’m sure you’ve heard (or actually not heard by the silence that has blissfully descended), the family is gone. Off visiting the in-laws. It’s just you and me, house. 

You and me for an entire week. 

I know, I can’t quite believe it either. You can thank the airlines and their ridiculous ticket prices. 

Wow, I can’t even remember the last time it was simply us. It’s been, what, years? Between having small children and then the pandemic with all its remote work and school. You look good, by the way. Although you’ve changed a bit. Though I suppose I have too. We both look older. And after the pregnancies, we both have things that were never put back the way they were. We definitely both creak and groan more. Now if only I could pass mine off as “it’s just my body settling,” eh?

Again, I apologize. I tend to make bad jokes when I’m nervous (and also pretty much during every other emotion, but I digress). 

This is silly though. Back in the day, we spent plenty of time alone together. You’ve seen me naked, for god’s sake. Like A LOT. And you’re still the only one who knows about the weird thing I do in the shower. 

Speaking of bathrooms, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea that whenever I go in there it will still be in the same state I left it in. No towels on the floor. No giant mystery mounds of toothpaste in the sink that everyone SWEARS they didn’t do. And, oh my god, this week all pee will actually end up in the toilet where it’s supposed to be! 

We’re LIVING THE DREAM, dear house. 

So, what should we do? Do we reenact “Home Alone” or “Risky Business” first? Or eat? On the couch? While binge watching all the old “Sex in the City” episodes so I can say “wow, this has not held up well” every seven minutes? Or NAP! Oooo…should we nap? Just a nice little 14-hour nap? Or maybe light a bunch of candles and write all my very deep emo thoughts in a journal, straight up college style?

Even better, I could work on the truly terrible first draft of my novel without stopping mid-sentence to scream “turn off the kitchen light!” or “stop murdering each other, you’ll get blood on the floor!” 

Or…do you want to maybe get a bit naughty? Perhaps break open a bottle of wine, turn on some music and FINALLY go through the kids’ toy boxes? We can actually throw crap away! Without tiny humans wailing their keening songs on your floor. (And maybe then I’ll stop having that nightmare where I die under an avalanche of dismembered Mr. Potato Head body parts and what I hope are chocolate-stained stuffies). 

Or, even naughtier, let’s order an irresponsible amount of Chinese food even though we have a fridge full of healthy groceries and spend two hours complaining to my mom on the phone about my ungrateful children. Oof, I got goosebumps just thinking about that one. 

Man, I tell you what, house, I am so happy right now. 

Oh, don’t look at me like that. It’s not like I don’t love my family. They are the best thing that has ever happened to me. Truly. 

The best thing that happens day after day after day after middle of the night after before dawn after day to me. 

I can’t wait to miss them.

Geez, why is mom so angry?

A Poem

Stop

Please stop 

I said stop it

Oh, come on!

Why would you do that?

No

Knock it off

Are you listening to me?

Why? 

Get that out of your mouth

I’ve asked you three times

You need to apologize 

Are you listening? 

No. 

Seriously, WHY? 

Not there!

No, you go get it

That’s why we don’t do that

No! 

WHY?

Do NOT talk to me like that

Go get a towel please

What were you thinking? 

Absolutely not

Don’t make me say it again

Gross 

Stop!

What did I just say? 

Nope

NOOOOOOOOOO

Did you hear me?

STOP STOP STOP STOP STOP STOP

Do that again and you’re grounded until you die

Yes, I am a big meanie

Go to bed

Did. You. Hear. What. I. Said?

Please

Seriously

Come on

I feel like you’re not listening

GO TO BED

I used to be fun, you know. 

One more time or so help me…

Yes, I love you too 

GET YOUR LITTLE ASS TO BED BEFORE I…

The Tell-Tale Candle

(Based on an Actual True Story)

(With only Minimal Exaggeration)

(…And Mild Plagiarism)

You’ll fancy me a madwoman. But the event in question I am about to relay has sharpened my senses–not destroyed–not dulled them. 

Above all was the sense of acute hearing. Even prior to this dark episode, my ears have long been able to detect a baby’s snuffle during the darkest parts of night, suss out a dog preparing to vomit on the only carpeted room in the house, and predict the utter destruction that is about to occur in the sudden space of a toddler’s silence. 

Alas, it was upon the happy occasion of my youngest child’s 6th birthday that this ability of mine took a nightmarish turn. My beloved, in the throes of a celebratory whimsy, purchased a musical flower candle to place atop our daughter’s traditional confectionery treat. One small flame, and the candle burst into abundant light and song, mesmerizing us all with its electronic birthday tune. 

A short while later, our faces besmirched by frosting, we went our separate ways, mine to the kitchen to confront the towering heaps of dishes that were in dire need of a soapy hand. I had yet to even roll up my sleeves when I first heard it. The familiar song sung by the unfamiliar electromechanical voice. It was the candle, now darkened, now purposeless, waiting for me while still robustly wishing many more upon a child who was now absent. 

My blood ran cold. I searched, searched again, oh how I pursued the button that would end this tedious melody sung by no one. Swallowing my panic, I brought the accursed object to my good husband, who had no better luck than I turning it off. On and on it sang.

Cautiously, oh so cautiously I carried it back into the kitchen. 

What to do? 

You should have seen how wisely I proceeded–with what foresight–with what dissimulation–I went to work. Oh, you would have laughed at how cunningly I hid that candle inside the fridge. Behind the milk, to the left of the spicy pickles. Ha! Would a madwoman have been so wise as this? 

That night, however, the devil’s hour itself and none other, there came to my ears a high-pitched cheery sound, such as a haunted candle would make when enveloped by refrigerator staples. Slowly, the sound became more distinct. ‘Ere long I felt myself getting pale. It continued and gained definiteness. I gasped for breath yet my family heard it not.

For seven long nights this continued, keeping me awake, frantic. It grew louder and louder! Every night, louder than the last! And yet my children would not let me throw the demon torch out for they had grown attached to the unnatural artifact. I even began to hear its sinister song during the day, my children’s endless foraging for snacks (as is the custom during the summer season) bringing fresh sound waves of horror to my senses. 

Upon the eighth night, I discovered what I must do. Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. That it would all end soon. That I could MAKE it end. To think that there I was, slowly lowering the knife, no one in the house even dreaming of my secret thoughts or deeds. I fairly chuckled manically at the idea, which is perhaps how my husband heard me and upon seeing my form bent over the still singing candle, and knowing my personality intimately, immediately figured out what was going on and grabbed the knife from my hand. 

“What the hell are you doing?” quoth the husband. 

“Making it stop,” quoth I. 

“How do you even stab a candle?” 

“You can stab anything if you’re sleep deprived enough.”

“I’m getting worried about you.”

“Nevermore!” 

The husband led me gentle back to the bedchamber, assuring me the battery would run out soon. By morning he proved correct, the unholy candle making sound no more. I heard it not that day.

But as darkness fell, there it was again. Plain as day. (But at night.) How the candle mocked me. Have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but an over-acuteness of the senses? It grew louder, I say, louder every moment. Oh god, what could I do? I foamed, I raved, I swore! A LOT. Still my family continued living as though nothing was amiss. Was it possible they still heard not? 

Now a new anxiety seized me. It would never end. Thus, I dug out the waxy corpse from the trash, removing it, examining it. Yes, it was stone, stone dead. And yet…

“Nevermore…” I whispered to myself. 

“Where the hell did you get a crowbar!?” quoth the husband when he found me with the crowbar.

“NEVERMORE!” I shouted gleefully, still hunched over, trying to figure out how a crowbar actually worked. Because anything was better than this agony. Anything more tolerable. I must bury it beneath the floorboards!

“Here, honey, have some wine,” quoth the very handsome, smart husband. 

Swiftly I gave in, dropped the crowbar and had a glass (two). For what else could I do? 

Alas, I can still hear it. That cursed thing. That melodic device from the bowels of Hell itself. Even now, three (four) wine glasses in, I hear it. 

Perhaps I am a madwoman afterall. 

But at least now I hum along. 

Happy birthday to you. 

Happy birthday to YOU ALL.

*laughs in demonic voice*

Welcome to summer school, kiddos

Well friends, we almost made it. Just a few more days left of school! Who is ready for summer!?

Summer school, that is! Yay! Oh yes, I know you kids were looking forward to a carefree summer full of sun and fun but learning never stops. Especially when you will be home for the next three months, wreaking havoc on my home and sanity. So welcome to Mama’s Summer School for Wayward (and Slightly Feral) Children! Get ready for exciting learning opportunities, such as: 

Are These Socks Dirty or Clean? A Symposium On Hampers

When Pants Attack! A Lecture Series On When Pants Are Optional & When They Are Mandatory

This Is Called A Dishwasher 

Proper Aluminum Foil Application On Leftovers

There Is Pee All Over The Floor: Who Should Do Something About It (YOU!) & When (IMMEDIATELY!)

Nutrition 101: If You Were Really Hungry, You’d Eat The Apple I Already Offered

Nutrition 102: No, You Cannot Have Another Snack

The Planet Is Boiling Alive & You Have Irish Peasant DNA: Sunscreen Basics For Genetic RedHeads

This Is Called A Broom 

Wet Towel Math: How To Calculate How Many More Times I Need To Yell At You To Pick Up Your Wet Towel Before You Are Grounded

You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream About Screen Time: A Seminar On How To Earn Back Your Tablet

And later this summer, we’re going to take some refresher courses before you head back to actual school, such as:

Why We Don’t Wait Until The Second-To-Last Day Of School To Tell Mom About All The Missing Library Books

Where Is Your Snack Bag From Last Year: Fun With Hazardous Materials

You Need How Many Cupcakes!? When!? Son Of A…: School Fundraiser FUNdamentals 

Curse Words Belong In The Home, Not In The Classroom

Please Learn To Tie Your Shoes, People Are Going To Start Judging Me

What I really want for Mother’s Day

What I really want for Mother’s Day:

A standing ovation every time I put all the laundry away. And while we’re at it, roses thrown at my feet every time I clean the bathroom. Which you then scurry about and pick up so I don’t have to.

Acknowledgement in the form of a shiny trophy or perhaps a gift card to the snooty fancy wine shop for being the Carrier of the Mental and Emotional Load for the family. Complete with a heartfelt speech about how stoically I carry this burden and ask for nothing in return. 

A legally binding contract, signed and notarized, that any and all sibling fights from henceforth shall occur out of my direct eyesight and earshot. 

Gasps of wonderment on a regular basis at my mastery of taking ordinary ingredients from the kitchen and transforming them into a meal, NAY! a feast! every. single. day. A feast where every dish is overflowing with love (and butter) no matter how meager the contents of my fridge. I want you so in awe at this otherworldly power of mine that you are tempted to point at me and shout “WITCH!” because how could anyone take something as simple and common as a potato and turn it into a towering mound of pure comforting flavor using merely heat (and butter) if they weren’t the bride of Satan? 

For you to bend the knee like I am Khaleesi, Mother of Ungrateful Dragons. I want you to cower in awe at my ability to rip apart my own body so that you could be freed from the captivity of the womb. I want you to gaze in reverence at my tireless efforts to then help you gain independence even though you curse me and call me a she-devil, and marvel at my self control in continuing to rule benignly and not fall into the easy trap of tyranny because you refuse to brush your teeth every morning. 

And then! Then I want you to straighten the knee so I can pull these godforsaken ballet tights up because putting on ballet tights is a life skill you refuse to learn. 

Piggybacking on that former request, I would also like a dragon. 

Or three. 

And a fur-lined cape. 

And lastly, the ability to summon from my very cells, from my very core, the pure, staggering, unconditional love I feel for you until I am so overwhelmed by the power of this deep affection that I transform into a fearsome goddess-like entity, with eyes ablaze and lightning crackling between my fingertips. And I will rise into the air, a terrifying and beautiful manifestation of pure maternal being, and in a reverberant voice I will declare “BEHOLD!” as I place my hands upon your brow so that you, for a brief moment, can see yourself as I see you. As the most perfect creature to ever grace this plane of existence despite your inability to ever pick up your socks and put them in the hamper.

What I will actually get for Mother’s Day:

A breakfast at 6:30 a.m. consisting of PopTarts and a questionable looking banana, two homemade cards with adorably misspelled words, and a macaroni necklace held together by glue that is still wet. 

What I will say:

I love it. It’s just what I wanted. 

What I will mean: 

I love it. It’s just what I wanted. 

Welcome to Family Fight Night!

Hello everybody! And welcome to what is bound to be another epic Family Fight Night! We’re your announcers for the evening, Stan Boomvoice and Tucker McThundercords. 

It’s going to be hard to top last night’s bout, with its triple battle royale over the bathroom light, the Nintendo Switch AND Mom’s meatloaf, Tucker. 

It is indeed, Stan. Oh! And speak of a certain devil, here she comes, ‘ol El Diablo herself, aka The Cleaner, aka The Diva of Devastation, aka The Salty Witch with a Wine Glass. Trust us, you don’t want to mess with this mama. She’s coming out strong from the kitchen, carrying what appears to be…is that…a homemade casserole, Stan?

I believe it is, Tucker. You can definitely smell what she’s cooking. Gutsy move, that’s a gutsy move. Especially in light of her big finish last night, The Maternal Flex. I mean throwing the entire dinner into the trash can after everyone complained! I tell ya, Tucker, no one saw that coming! At this point one has to wonder if she’s simply just taunting her family with these meals made from scratch when they clearly prefer Burger King every single time. 

I’m inclined to agree, Stan. Oh-ho, and what do we have here? Looks like it’s Daddy, straight from the bathroom, aka The Pillar, aka The Keyboard Smasher, aka the Zoom of Doom. Standing tall at 6’2” and weighing in at a respectable post-pandemic weight of 180, he is every inch the mild-mannered father at the moment but when he whips out his famous Dad Voice Stunner, look out! 

Wait, wait, wait! Do you hear that? Sounds like the Second Grader Crusader, aka Doomfist, aka The Silent Fart Assassin, is making quite the stomping entrance from his room, fresh off a punishment for unsanctioned brawling with his sister before dinner. Look at his face, Tucker. You can tell he’s just itching for a fight tonight. If there is one thing The Crusader believes in, it’s extreme fairness and something in his expression makes me think he feels he’s been wronged. 

And from the corner, literally, it’s the Kindergarten Killer, aka the Cutthroat Cutie, aka Princess Black Heart. Don’t let the abundance of pink and glitter fool you, folks. She’s mini but mighty. That’s not the pitter patter of little feet you’re hearing. That’s the thump of war drums. 

And we’re off! The Crusader is coming out strong with his patented Fairness Doctrine, which is deflected easily by Mom. You know she had to be expecting this, Tucker. I talked with her before dinner about her strategy for tonight and she said, in no uncertain terms, “Who the hell are you? Get out of my kitchen!”

Those are strong words, Stan. Strong words from a strong lady. Oh! But The Crusader isn’t done yet. He’s gearing up for the Guilt Powerbomb, accusing her of not even caring about him! I can’t believe he went there!

Looks like Princess Black Heart is seeing an opportunity and might be hoping for a tag team here, Tucker. Despite the fact that she was also disciplined for her part in the earlier melee, she’s pulling out The Unexpected Apology followed by Siding With Mom! Talk about gutsy. She must get it from her mama, oh my! What do you think Mom will do next, Tucker? 

She’s in a tricky position alright, Stan. Even just being perceived as using the illegal Playing Favorites move can bring her down and bring her down quick. …Oh! But what’s this? I can’t believe it! The Crusader just executed the perfect Subtle Elbow right into his sister’s ribs! Oof, that’s gotta hurt! 

But he wasn’t quick enough, Tucker! Looks like Daddy saw and is now entering the ring. And he is NOT happy. 

No he is not, Stan. He only uses the What Did You Just Do Repeater on rare occasions. And it’s clear Princess Black Heart knows her role here, playing up her apparently extensive injuries to the audience. 

Wow, they are really going at it! The Crusader with the Moral Outrage and The Pillar with the Moral High Ground. Do you think Mom will step in here, Tucker?

She’s on her second glass of wine, it’s not looking good, Stan. 

Looks like Dad is getting ready to throw the hammer down with the Reality Check…except wait…what’s this? OH! The Crusader, out of nowhere, with the Tattle Tale! Princess Black Heart has been stealing flowers from the neighbor’s garden to make a witches brew in a hidden bucket full of water under her bed. Which is where the weird smell permeating through the entire house is coming from! Oh, I tell ya, Tucker, now the Diva of Devastation is paying attention!

I don’t believe it! I don’t believe it! Princess Black Heart, in a desperate move, is pulling out the ‘ol Play the Parents Off Each Other Hail Mary. OH! It’s a high risk move, but one with high rewards if she can pull it off, Stan. …BUT NO! NO! It backfired spectacularly! Oh, the humanity! 

And it looks like Mom and Dad are gonna tag team it for the final blows of the night, Just Desserts Means No Dessert followed by the crushingly effective Brush Your Teeth, It’s BedTime!  

Wow! I mean wow. What a fight, Stan! What a fight. Truly a bout for the ages. 

At least until tomorrow night, Tucker!

Right you are, Stan. Right you are. Goodnight everybody! 

How to play with your kids in the snow

There are some people in this world who will tell you that there is no “right” way to play with your children in the snow. These people are wrong. And probably serve their children fruit as “dessert.” 

There is a right way. Oh sure, a few details might vary and there is some accounting for individual family quirks, but on the whole, no matter how good of a parent you are, snow days follow an almost scientific formula. At least according to the data I have collected over the last seven years. 

First, any proper snow day begins by the children waking up at dawn, looking outside their window and then immediately running into your room, where they jump on your face and loudly ask if they can go play in the snow. They will then repeat this question every five minutes and whine “but you PROMISED!” over and over and over again until you finally roar “FINE!” at the top of your lungs and they scamper away squealing with delight like the relentless, adorable gaslighters they are. 

Then begins the thankless task of gathering all the outerwear, which were scattered to the distant four corners of your house the last time your children played in the snow. In between muttering obscenities about missing gloves and yelling about how in the world can all the snow boots only consist of the left snow boot, you remind everyone to go potty. Because once all these layers are on you are NOT taking them all off again. 

The next half hour is a blur of stuffing tiny humans into snowpants and socks and sweaters and hoodies and hats and one glove while still looking for the other stupid glove and sunglasses for the kid who can’t go anywhere without sunglasses and scarves and ya’ll peed, right, because I’m not taking all this off again and ah-HA! there is that other stupid glove and what do you mean you lost the first glove, it was literally on your hand, and coats with stuck zippers and I told you the other snowboots were probably by the door and push harder, when did your feet grow, why are you growing all the time, and HEY, I found the glove, it was in mommy and daddy’s room, I told you stay out of our room.

Finally everyone is ready. 

Everyone has to pee. 

Repeat. Repeat it ALL. 

Now if you have a big backyard and can simply open the door and release these loud toddling bundles into the wintry wild, stop reading here. Go contentedly sigh and enjoy a glass of wine in your dumb peaceful house or something.

For those of you who are like me and have small children in a city and thus need to “go somewhere” such as a park to play in the snow, the worst is yet to come. 

Once you finally “get somewhere” (which, regardless of how you get there, will include many complaints and gritted teeth threats) there will be approximately ten minutes of pure, unadulterated joy. This is the brief moment in time where you remember why you decided to have children in the first place and why you love them and your family and your life and how did you possibly get so lucky as to be able to share a life with these people? 

Then, just like the cheap plastic sled they sit upon, it all swiftly goes downhill. 

Soon, someone will run over someone else with their sled because the kid on the sled didn’t listen and the kid climbing back up the hill didn’t listen. Everyone is crying. 

They need a distraction. LET’S BUILD A SNOWMAN! Is there any activity that is more wholesome? Nope. At least for the next three minutes, after which you realize that you are the only one actually building the snowman and you can no longer feel your fingers. 

Luckily, someone will always, inevitably, suggest a snowball fight. What could go wrong? 

No aiming for the face, you yell over and over again. Surprisingly the kids abide. Eventually, however, you will hit one of the children in the face. By “accident” of course and not some subconscious urge. They will cry. You will feel awful (mostly). You will offer cookies and hot chocolate as consolation when you go back home. They will accept and immediately pop up like nothing happened. 

You stay until both feet are completely numb and you’re pretty sure you’ve already lost three fingers to frostbite. When you finally can’t take it anymore, you give a five minute warning. May as well have been announcing you murdered Memaw AND Grandma AND Daniel Tiger. The wailing. The keening. The dramatic protestations that if you really loved them you would let them play for just a little longer. 

Through sheer force of will (and some light dragging), you eventually wrangle them home and inside. Everyone violently disrobes, snow and ice and boots and gloves and hats flying, everything wet and gross and dirty. You are too tired to gather them all up even though you know you will later regret this. 

It’s over. You survived. 

Only a thousand more days until spring. 

How to Have a Proper Family Movie Night

Excitedly announce you are having A Family Movie Night! 

Wait for the cheers and applause that never come.  

Watch as everyone immediately starts to argue about what to watch. 

Browse Netflix. 

Calmly make a suggestion. 

Get greeted by groans and dramatic tears. 

Gently remind everyone this is supposed to be fun. 

Browse Disney+. 

Argue some more. 

Break up fist fight. 

Argue some more. 

Take weapon away from preschooler. 

Let out primal maternal scream. 

Make executive decision to watch a movie everyone has seen 576 times already.

Bring out snacks during opening credits. 

Listen to complaints that it’s the wrong brand of root beer, no one likes popcorn anymore and can we order a pizza?

It’s all we have, when did that happen, no.

Listen to more groans and dramatic, loud protestations. 

Get angry.

Start yelling back. 

Now everyone is yelling. 

Dog is barking. 

Everyone is yelling at dog to stop barking. 

Order stupid, dumb pizza.

Pause within first five minutes for Potty Break No. 1.

Answer first question about the basic plot of the movie they’ve seen 576 times already. 

Politely ask kid who keeps repeating every line to stop repeating every line. 

Start absentmindedly discussing the grocery list with partner. 

Get shushed by kids. 

Exchange look with partner and secretly do lewd gesture behind the children’s back. 

Answer 12th question about the basic plot of the movie they’ve seen 576 times already. 

Pause for Potty Break No. 3. 

Shoot down request for more candy. 

And more root beer. 

And the popcorn no one likes anymore but is somehow all gone. 

Remind kid who keeps repeating lines to stop, please. 

Tell shusher kid to stop shushing repeater kid.

Break up “I can’t hear, shut up” wrestling match on floor. 

Answer 33rd question about the basic plot of the movie they’ve seen 576 times already. 

Pause for Potty Break No. 7. 

Throw a pillow at the kid who won’t stop repeating every line and scream “knock it off!”

Pause movie so you can have family discussion on why that wasn’t actually child abuse. 

Pause for Potty Break No. 12. 

Sigh in relief that it’s finally over and you can stop stress eating pizza. 

Watch end credits until the very, very end to prevent preschooler meltdown. 

Practically hurl kids into their beds. 

Begin the unnecessarily violent movie the adults have been wanting to watch forever. 

Sigh contentedly. 

Immediately pause and escort an escaped child back to their bed. 

Resume movie. 

Jointly fall asleep 12 minutes in. 

Wake up on couch unable to turn neck for the next three days.

Forget whole horrifying ordeal by day four because you do not brain good anymore ever since the children systematically killed off all decent remaining brain cells. 

Repeat next week.