The 6 Worst Things About Parenting in Winter

The 6 Worst Things About Parenting in Winter

From missing mittens to dripping noses, parenting in winter is hard work!

By Wendy Robinson

I woke up this morning and looked out the window to see snow. Several inches of the powdery white stuff had fallen overnight, covering the car and the roads. While it was a decent first snowstorm of the winter, it was not nearly enough to make them consider closing or delaying school (I live in Minnesota, where snow has to be measured in feet, not inches, for schools to close), and I knew as soon as I got out of bed that we would be running late today.

As a transplant from Arizona, I am keenly aware of the challenges of parenting in the winter months. These include, but are not limited to:

1. The gear: On a really cold day, the sheer amount of clothing I need to put on the kids seems ridiculous. Start with underwear, then long underwear, then pants, shirt, socks, and maybe a sweatshirt. Top with snow pants, scarf, gloves, boots, and coat and suddenly you have a toddler who looks like a starfish, unable to put her arms down. With two kids, this takes at least 10 minutes and leaves me sweaty, stressed, and frustrated at how hard it is to get gloves on a 2-year-old.

2. The wet spot: After the kids wear all the gear, they come home covered in snow or slush and you have to find places to put wet boots, dripping scarves, damp snow pants, etc. We have a mud room that will be wet and sloppy for the next several months and I’ll be mopping wet footprints off the floor until summer arrives.

3. Drip, drip, drip: From November to March someone in our house will have a drippy nose or some sort of lingering cough. Now is a good time to buy stock in a tissue company because runny nose season has arrived in the Midwest.

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4. Feral indoor children: My kids love to play in the snow, which is great way to get them outside and burning off energy in the winter, but sometimes it is just too darn cold to safely play outside. Sometimes it is too darn cold for days and days, and my kids start to lose their minds. All of the furniture becomes gymnastics equipment and I find soccer balls flying past my head in the kitchen as I make dinner.

5. Missing in action: This is another gear-related complaint. At some point every winter the children will lose something. They each start winter with multiple hats, gloves, and scarves, and by sometime after the holiday break they will be down to two mismatched gloves and one hat between them. Where does all the gear go? Who knows? And good luck finding replacements after the holidays are done and all the winter stuff has long since been sold at clearance.


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6. Time: Everything about getting out of the house takes longer in winter. You have to bundle the kids, scrape the car, and factor in extra time for slow traffic on slippery roads. All of this means one sad thing: having to get up and leave the cozy cocoon of my flannel-sheeted bed to face the still-dark morning even earlier than usual. Yawn.

It isn’t all bad, of course. There is the fun of sledding and nights spent watching movies together under a big blanket. There’s hot cocoa and baking cookies and making chili in the slow cooker … I just wish I knew where all the missing gloves go!

What is your least favorite part of parenting in winter?

Wendy Robinson is a writer, working mom, and graduate student. Someday she'd like to sleep in again. She also blogs at

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