Here’s a timely question: What’s the minimum acceptable number of minutes one has to spend playing in snow with a toddler to be considered a decent parent?
Note the word “decent.” I’m not going for “mom-of-the-year” here, or even “really pretty good mom.” Just whatever constitutes a D- (still passing!) in this particular subject is A-OK with me.
Ten minutes? A few snowballs, maybe a snowman, and we’re done? Maybe a quick walk up and down the street? Can we go in now? My feet are freezing. Can we go in?
The thing is, I just don’t much like snow. I don’t like cold, and I especially don’t like being wet and cold. I don’t like having to take 20 minutes to put on eight layers of clothing for snow, and then feeling all hot and cold at the same time once I get out in it with all those layers. I don’t like snow sneaking into my gloves, which always happens, even when I manage to find the good gloves, and I don’t like my snow boots that are a size too small and possibly not even actual snow boots after all, judging by how cold my feet get inside them in just a few minutes.
But I’m not totally selfish. I get that a three-year-old thinks snow is the best thing ever, especially when it doesn’t happen often where you live. Why would you ever, ever want to come inside from that? Who am I to try to shove a lid on all that joy?
So when it snowed this week, I dutifully put on my big ugly snow pants, tried to hide my scowling, and followed my husband and daughter outside. Admittedly, the first 10 minutes were a lot of fun — especially since it was Nora’s first time in snow substantial enough to play in. But then I stopped being able to feel my toes, and I found myself looking longingly back toward the house. It looked so warm in there. So dry. So full of hot chocolate and blankets and a cushy sofa and other nice things.
Finally, the other 2/3 of the family had gotten their fill and we trudged inside, leaving bits of snow everywhere and strewing wet clothing layers all over the living room.
An hour later, of course, Nora wanted to do it again. But someone has to make lunch, I said! Please, allow me …
I came along for part of one last outing just before dark, and then took off those not-really-snowboots hopefully for good. My husband, thank goodness, loves the snow and seemed happy to be the one spending all that time out in the cold with our daughter. They took some really cute pictures out there, which I’m happy to view from the warmth of the living room couch.
Maybe that’s not how you score the coveted mom-of-the-year award, but oh well. Sometimes you go for the gold, but other times you’re really just there for the hot chocolate.