Dear parents of kids where it snows on the kids

by Janelle Hanchett

Hey there, people parenting in the snow.

I just spent 48 hours with four kids in the snow and I have a few questions for you.

In short, how the ever-loving fuck do you do this?

I wasn’t even in real snow. I mean, I was. There was white cold stuff on the ground, but it wasn’t snow-ING and the roads were mostly clear and it wasn’t 9,000 below or whatever the hell it is in Winnipeg. It did, however, require “snow gear,” which took approximately 2 weeks to compile and about the same amount of time each morning to put on the kids in question.

  1. Socks
  2. Snow boots
  3. Snow pants
  4. Something to wear under the snow pants
  5. Bib or jacket
  6. Something to wear under bib or jacket
  7. Hat
  8. Mittens
  9. Underwear

Ok. Now. We need to back the fuck up here. This is not right. You cannot possibly put ALL THESE CLOTHES ON ALL YOUR KIDS ALL THE DAYS.

You don’t really have to do that, right? You don’t really have to keep together and get on the actual bodies of children nine items of apparel?

What if the toddler pukes? What if the baby has a blow-out? How do you change diapers at all actually? What about the obligatory 4-year-old clothing strike? How do you not lose mittens? Do those bastards ever stay on? How do you keep your baby’s nose warm in the stroller? Can you even use strollers? How do you fit all that shit in cars? Where do you put it while you’re in a restaurant? How do you drive on slippery roads with the kids fighting in the back? How do you not die on icy roads I ask you? How do you nurse?


This is impossible. This is not a thing.

Y’all are some goddamn heroes.

On Saturday morning, after we finally got all four kids into their “snow gear” – um, I don’t dress my 14 and 10 year olds, but I do remind them of their stuff (especially the 10-year-old) because otherwise it ain’t pretty – and I felt like I had been hit by a small truck, we stopped at a stop sign about 12 seconds from the house and my toddler gagged on some food item and puked all over his snow bibs. All in the zipper and shit. I’m sure that was a rookie move (putting the kid in the bibs before arrival), but it occurred to me in that moment that I could never, ever do parenthood in the snow.

I would die. I would have one. I would have one and then, I would regret it.

Slipping on ice. Getting cold. Keeping mittens on (that shit is like whack-a-mole on meth). Kids who need to pee. (omg diarrhea. taking sick kids to the doctor!) Jeans touching snow and thereby rendering themselves unusable for 9 hours. Drying out 12,000 articles of clothing every day.

You know what I have to tell my kids when they walk out the door? PUT YOUR SHOES ON.

And 8 months out of the year, even those are relatively optional.

Also, that feels hard somehow.

Okay, water and sunscreen. More requirements. But you need those things too. For a couple of months my kids may need some sort of rain slicker but the Good Ol’ California Drought has mostly taken care of that inconvenience (this is a joke. The drought is not good. In fact, please put on your “snow gear” and do a rain dance before my state becomes a desert).

Parenthood is hard for everyone – except of course that handful of mommies in small, dark corners of the internet – and it’s not a goddamn competition, but I personally do not understand how people navigate it in certain conditions. For example, twins.


Omg twins in the snow.

Forget it. I need some tea. I feel actual fear.

That was so much work. SO MUCH WORK.

And yet, you do it.

It is, however, very pretty, and very fun, and I feel so lucky to get to visit there. And the kids loved it.

We’ll definitely be back.

In a fucking year. 

This shit is amaaaaazinnnnnnnggggggg!

This white shit is amaaaaazinnnnnnnggggggg! Now give me a minute to remove my mitten then play in the snow until my fingers are so cold I cry but I refuse to wear my mittens because I’m 20 months and this makes sense. Yay snow!

168 Comments | Posted in I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING HERE. | February 22, 2016
  • Dani

    Shit. This was the wrong time to read this. We’re off to the snow on Friday for the weekend because my three year old has never seen snow and we’ve had an unseasonably mild winter so I’ve been feeling a bit cheated out of fluffy socks and boots. Now I’ve read this I’m wondering if I’m mad.

    We have most of the snow gear which, yes, has taken forever to get together (my lack of organisation on this front is why we didn’t go last year). At least, I thought we had most of it. What the fuck is a snow bib? Please tell me that’s something I already have, lost in translation (I’m not American). Isn’t special pants special gloves special shoes normal warm coats and jumpers enough? Please tell me it is because I already spent most of what I have buying the above, and I got it all second hand. I dread to think how much this stuff would cost people with pride.

    • Angie

      Snow bibs are overalls of the insulated variety. It won’t let me paste a picture but I looked up the British equivalent (assumption on my part, sorry if I’m wrong) and it says that Brits call them Dungarees. If you have separate snow pants and a heavy coat you wouldn’t need the bibs in addition. They are more popular with children here because they stay up easily and if you wipe out while skiing or sledding you don’t get snow down your pants/up your shirt. Hope that helps!

      • Courtney

        My kids love wearing bib overall snow pants they wear them in the snow then add rubber rain pants on top to play in the slush an mud

    • Amanda

      If you buy mittens that are a bit longer (kombi or jupa brands are good) put them on before the coat… then the sleeves will hold them in place for you and no snow will get in…
      Trust me… I am Canadian 🙂

      • Susan Wagner-White

        Then there’s always idiot strings 😉

        • Courtney wiesenfeld

          Just saw your comment about kids wearing bib overall snow pants an rain pants on top do girls do this as well as the boys

    • Dannielle

      “I dread to think how much this stuff would cost people with pride.”

      I love this. So much.

  • Heidi

    We live in Michigan. I can’t even explain to you how we do it. It’s awful. I think because I’ve known nothing else, the torture is lessened. But every year at the beginning of winter a part of you dies a little. And we’re used to it so a good coat and 5 pairs of gloves (for when they are constantly getting lost) is all you need unless you’re sledding. What the hell is a snow bib?!? That, and we just go as few places as possible. Add some Seasonal Affective Disorder to all of that and you’re a recipe for a hot mess.

    • Carrie B

      This year Michigan hasn’t been so bad. At least SE Michigan.

      What if the toddler pukes?
      –Sucks any time of year. I’d rather smell chilled puke than hot car puke.

      What if the baby has a blow-out?
      –Sucks any time of year. Grin and bear it. Take turns cleaning if there are more than one of you. “I’ll take the car.” “I’ll take the baby.”

      How do you change diapers at all actually?
      –Kind of a challenge in the back of a car in winter. One parent changes diaper, other acts as protective shield. Or you carry your kid into the house.

      What about the obligatory 4-year-old clothing strike?
      –Haven’t gotten there yet. Hmm…

      How do you not lose mittens? Do those bastards ever stay on?
      –Mitten clips. Or the dorky “string through the coat but not long enough they’ll strangle themselves, only long enough to keep the mittens in place”. My preference is the latter. My 3 yr old’s preference is to lose the mittens. Ususally he wins.

      How do you keep your baby’s nose warm in the stroller?
      –Little babies just get a blanket draped over the stroller. Otherwise? Loose layers. When toddlers, those infity scarves are awesome.

      Can you even use strollers?
      –Haha. There are usually people who do the sidewalks. Usually. Maybe. Um… put them in a sling. Or hibernate until Spring.

      How do you fit all that shit in cars?
      –Teleportation. Worm holes. You just “do”.

      Where do you put it while you’re in a restaurant?
      –Back of the chair. Classy.

      How do you drive on slippery roads with the kids fighting in the back?
      –Threats if they’re cutting up. But you just tune it out like normal.

      How do you not die on ice?
      –I’ve had some pretty damn close calls, including falling while pregnant on ice and spinning out on the expressway. Soooooo… luck? God? Angels? Spaghetti Monster? Copious fist shaking at dumb drivers.

      How do you nurse?
      –In a warm car if you’re not in a building. Or, um, under a really fluffly blanket that rides the line between “warmth” and “smothering the child”.

      • Joelle

        I love this! Great answers! Im from the 9,000 below Winnipeg area…this is a daily occurrence and struggle with a toddler and newborn. You just do!

        • KAYLA

          I am also from Winnipeg. It feels like -9000 today. I’m done. I’m hiding in my house until winter is over. My kids don’t need to go to school, right??
          I kid!
          It’s hard and annoying and god damn cold, but we’re a strong bunch!

      • Nicole

        Haha! I’m thanking the spaghetti monster that I live in Florida! You are super mom!

    • Angie

      I’m originally from Michigan and moved to Idaho in 2012. Even after four winters in Idaho I’m still shocked by how mild and short it is. Living in Michigan from birth to age 27 you get used to bracing for winter. Once it starts you’re used to being cold, damp, snotty, and bundled up to the point you can’t lower your arms for about half the year.

      In Idaho, it doesn’t get super cold until late November or December and we’ve been in the 50-65 degree range since mid-February. Very hard to get used to the drastic difference. I tell you what though, I don’t miss it. I haven’t had to scrape my car in the morning but once all winter and our snow shovel only sees action maybe three times every year. One drawback, no more snow days. 🙁

  • Angela

    Let them go out in it once with out all the stuff. They will figure out how to get it all on themselves really fast. Except the littles of course. 🙂

    • Fiona

      You would think this logic would work, but we have this conversation at least once a week at my house, in VT, where it is regularly snowy and icy. I’m sure at some point my daughter will figure this out but at almost 3 she seems to have short term memory loss about the negative implications of not wearing adequate clothing when outside – particularly gloves and socks.

  • Aurelie

    Canadian mamma over here, with two young kiddos. To be honest, I don’t know how we do it. It just happens. Let’s just say the first day of spring when we can finally ditch snow pants is The. Best. Goddamn. Day. OF THE YEAR.
    Also? I avoid going out unnecessarily with kids at all cost. Getting ready for school is bad enough.

  • Daddy Scratches

    You would have really enjoyed the blizzard we had here in the Philly area a few weeks ago. And by “enjoy” I mean “hate with a white-hot passion.”

  • Charlie's Mama

    Always on point, Janelle! Too funny. I was exhausted too after the snow gear and I only did one child! And then when their hands get so cold that they throb. I would come in from the cold and thrust my hands under the hottest water from the bathtub tap – never felt a thing! LOL. I’ll take the beach over skiing any day!

  • Angela

    PS: mitten clips or a string tied to the wrist of each mitten then strug through the sleeves and behind the neck.

  • tam

    I don’t even think about it. You want to play, then go out and play. I don’t buy boots, though they do have gloves and hats which depending on how warm or cold it is even with snow on the ground, they may not wear anyway. Even with the polar vortex from last year, I wore a fleece the whole time with just a long sleeve shirt underneath and my car was in the shop and I had to walk my 13 yr old to the bus stop 15 mins away (walk time, not drive time) in -4 weather. They want to play in the snow, put an xtra pair of socks on in their tennis shoes. They usually last outside for an hour. I don’t even think about it. You get used to it.

  • Giseli Freitas

    I’m from Brazil. I now live in Canada. The end.
    No, Wait! Wait! *hysterically laughing* Picture HALLOWEEN in snow gear: under all that, there’s a hidden Elsa or Anna or any other costume you cannot see and spent $$$$$ on it.
    Now fast-forward to Easter: egg-hunt in snow gear.
    Yeah… Go to Canada, they said. It will be fun, they said. FML.

    • Toon

      Regarding halloween, you put the costume over the winter gear.

    • Sav

      Hahahahaha! Best comment so far. ????

    • Kelly

      There’s a reason my sister and I were ghosts for several years in a row. Throw a sheet over the winter gear. Done. BUT – buying a costume 1-2 sizes too big works too. Except when they need to wear it indoors for the class party. FML.

    • Tina

      Easter egg hunt outside ??????wth???? What part of the country are u from …that shit only happens on movies lol

  • Billie

    Lol!!! I live in Alberta, Canada and Yep we have so for about 6 months of the year. It’s hell with tiny humans! And my humans are tiny, 7 month old and a 2 year old. you can’t put the winter coats on until after you have arrived at your destination because the carseat straps will be too loose therfore endangering your child on the 5 min trip to the grocery store. So you are putting their coats/hats/mitten through the open door of your vehicle in minus a million degrees…. For a 30 second walk across the parking lot, only to have them want to rip it all off the second you get in the store because it’s too hot for that shit inside. FUN! But it’s not always super cold, we get some pretty nice days too, and those days where we can play outside in the snow make it worth it to live here. Plus, you know, summer.

    • Jenny

      Fleece with a zippered front is my solution to this. Not ideal (fleece still compresses a little, but not like puffy coats do), but unzip, strap kid in, zip over clips. Double layer (sweater and coat) when it’s really cold. And a separate snow suit to actually play in.

  • Samantha

    How do we do it? I grew up in it, so I already knew. You put on the long johns under the snow gear and you pack up the clothes to change into after. Mittens? I got my children gloves and they were not clip on or fastened with a string that went behind them. I crocheted one. Sewed it into the gloves and THAT went behind them. Extra thick socks. Oh. Wal mart bags over the socks and into the boots. Not fashion savvy? Don’t care, their feet (and long johns) are dry. Scarves are amazing for keeping necks warm and dry, after the snow play.
    I live in NC now, but when my kids were little, we lived in Va, the state that seems to be hit with a blizzard once or twice a decade and so yeah, the kids are all, “I Wanna Go Play” and you learn quickly. “Have you eaten/drank/peed?” You keep those clothes on the top shelf during the off season, or they will get lost and then you have a child out in the snow with a sock on instead of mittens and you hope their snow boots still fit.

  • Laura

    North Idaho with a six- and two-year-old here. I think what drives me the most nuts is that unless I go out with them and cruise direct them, they spend about a minute and a half outside. Then they rush in drizzling slush and mud and snot and wet clothes (less one mitten which I find tangled in the lawnmower in spring) all over the entire house, and demand hot chocolate.

    Being honest here, I often declare it “the wrong kind of snow”, offer preemptive hot chocolate, and suggest a little Peppa Pig. She goes out in the snow a lot, so I figure it’s almost the same.

    • Kerry

      Laura, we are the same soul. 🙂 Love it!

    • Kamie

      I have used those exact words a hundred times, “the wrong kind of snow.” Glad to know I’m not alone! I’ve got 5 kids and honestly, most of the time, whoever says they want to go outside first gets to wear the boots that actually fit and the single pair of gloves that hasn’t been lost and aren’t the tiny knit ones you get at the dollar store. Normally they don’t last too long anyway, but the real trouble comes when my boys, who are now 12 and 14, have to go on the “Klondike” camp out for scouts. Yes, camping in the middle of the freaking winter. I hate it, and I’m not even the one going! My son came home this weekend with stories of three different times his feet or hands were so cold he couldn’t feel them. And not because he didn’t have good enough boots and gloves (we bought them especially for the stupid thing), but because he is a 12 year old boy and he jumped into a snowbank and lost one of his boots. So his friends dug for it for 20 minutes before finding it, all while he sat without a boot on. I love winter, and I love living where it is cold and snowy, but there are limits!

  • Stèf

    Thank you! I feel like a hero today! (Montréal)

  • Robbyn

    I just feel happy to be heard. …alberta, Canada here. ..preach

  • Sarah

    I am living the twins-in-the-snow dream. You forgot to mention the meltdown that happens once one is all bundled (and overheating) while you try to wrangle the other into their snowsuit. All for the 30 second walk to the car, at which point you have to take it all off again because they can’t wear any of it in their car seats.

  • Katie

    I think it happens because we don’t know what 8 months worth of sun and no footwear even looks like. More of us would probably go on strike if we got to parent in California.

  • AJ

    Live in Sweden and what can I say, you teach the kids from an early age to dress themselves (or you make it your hubby’s job to dress the kids????)!

    • Ria

      That’s my tactic too….its dads job to get ready!

  • Cynthia

    All I can say, as a true Canadian lol, from Northwestern Ontario, it is part of life. Yes it is a hassle, but I love winter and the snow and all that stuff. All I will add to the legitimate comments of all the mothers here, is that when they hit about grade 8, it is a non-issue. At that age or possibly a little younger, it is NOT COOL to wear warm, snow resistant apparel. Instead you shiver to school in -30C plus a wind chill, in your hoodie, and runners. However, by the time they reach about grade 11-12 and older, common sense prevails and they start to wear winter apparel again and mock those youngerlings who think COOL and FREAKING FREEZING are the same thing. I am currently counting the days until spring. Keep on doing what you all do. You’re doing a great job being moms.

  • Tuna

    A few thoughts from the land of ice and snow:

    1. For little ones, one-piece snowsuits and mitten clips are essential.
    2. One hour of playing in the snow will tire them out for the rest of the day.
    3. Driving on ice means slowing way down and watching for those drivers who think they can out run the snow by punching it.
    4. I can’t give any potty training advice as I have blocked out that period of time. Somehow I managed to train 2 kids and navigate the snowsuits.
    5. Bribery works. Offer your kids hot chocolate with marshmallows if they behave, and maybe put a little something extra in your own hot choc. 😀

  • Heaether

    Ok… I have one for ya mama. On a long road trip I got food poisoning. I had to wait in traffic to get to a rest stop. I was dying. Explosion of bowels soon….dying. I was alone. With a 3 yr old and a 1 1/2 yr old. When I finally made it to a parking spot at the rest stop I looked back to see my practically naked children. Where the hell did their clothes go????? It was fucking 3 degrees outside and I had 9 layers strewn all over the floor of my van needing to be put back on my kids before dragging their asses to the restroom. It. Did. Not. Happen. I will spare you the details. However, there was a basket, the back of my van, lots of eventual cleaning and am now forever called the Van Shitter. Stupid Ass Winter!

    • Amy

      Thank you, I love this because it is a worse story than I yet have. With 4 young kids (including twins), I have peed myself and the car a few times. That makes us great moms because we choose to soil ourselves rather than abandon our offspring to reach a bathroom in time. You rock,Van Shitter!!

  • Terri

    Minnesota mom here… and our kids where that stuff daily for 4 to 5 months of the year. It’s a PAIN! We do start training our kids early to get themselves dressed in snow gear. It’s the only way to survive. I’ve got to give props to all the preschool and elementary teachers. They’re in charge of getting classrooms full of kids in and out of that stuff multiple times a day (off when they get to school, in and off for recess, and on again before they go home). I don’t know how they do it, but they rock at it!

    • Megan

      Yes! The teachers are amazing! Sure, my 4 year old some-what knew what she was doing when she got dressed to go outside but 50 days of 4K later and she’s the fastest ever at getting ready!

  • Jenny

    YES!! Everyone here in Oregon is always so excited when it snows and I enjoy it for about five minutes then they start trying to go out in it at 7 in the morning while still in their pajamas and no socks and I spend half an hour getting them outside to find that they want to come in, or some of them at least, just a few minutes later and they are soaked despite the number of waterproof snow equipment and they sludge about the laundry room making MUD and wet everywhere so I can’t walk in there in my socks. Then a few minutes later they want to go back out in it so I have to dry all the things in the dryer. And it’s like that all day long. I just pray it’s not a weekend when it snows! Can you tell I grew up in Texas? ; )

  • Katie

    Yes, so much fucking truth here!
    I have 3 boys under the age of 4
    and we live in Oswego up in New
    York right on Lake

    I feel like I am dying all winter, haha.
    Especially when you dress
    3 squirming shouting boys, (2 with
    special needs) then walk them all
    out to the car just to take off snow
    Suits and snow overalls and coats
    because they can’t safely wear them
    in their car seats.

    Drive 7 minutes or less. Park the van
    and try to fight all their snow clothes
    back on without letting all the driving
    Snow and wind freeze the littles before
    You can re-dress them.

    Get into store, school, park, etc. and
    undress them because it’s now too hot
    for all that shit.

    Buy milk, eggs, cereal, and bread.
    Repeat infinite times…

  • Jennifer Dossetti

    I grew up in MA and our entire hallway was a pile of coats, gloves, boots, etc. The rule was if you come in without a really good reason, you’re in. You also learn at a pretty young age how to get your stuff on properly to avoid snow all up in your boots or down the arms of your jacket. It only has to happen about 50 times before you figure out, but since winter is looonnnngggg… I moved from MA to CA before I had kids. No way have I ever considered dealing with real snow and kids for more than a long weekend.

  • Vanessa

    We don’t live in a winter wonderland, instead we live in Kentucky, where Monday may come with 12 inches of snow and an Arctic blast -5 degrees, Tuesday will rain and be in the thirties Wednesday will be sunny and 60 but the friggin 45 mph wind gust will rip the awning off your house and blow you car off the road, Thursday is back to subzero but at least it’s not supposed to… wait what’s that? Oh, a flurry! wake up to three more inches. Friday 65 degrees and tornado warnings. Welcome to Kentucky!

    • Sav

      That’s us in Arkansas. Saturday it was SEVENTY FIVE. IN FEBRUARY. My kids played barefooted in the creek. Tomorrow, we have 10-14 inches of snow forecasted.

  • Angela C

    I gotta second the comment — send them out just once without it and they learn super fast (that was actually the advice given to me by my pediatrician after asking about snow-clothes related meltdowns)! Oh and — once you are in you stay in!

  • Sierra

    You have just confirmed the fact that I do not want to visit my parents in Carson City in the winter. Getting me and my husband ready for snow is hard enough. I can’t imagine getting my infant ready.

  • Rose Gilbert

    laughing so hard I’m dying! Did the twins in the snow thing! had 2 more within 2 years of the twins. 4 kids under 3. Yay me!/was I fucking crazy??? it was awesome ( cue the sarcasm!) the only reason i did not lose my mind, ( and my now teenage kids would argue that point!) was I had the luxury of working very part time and at night. Also very low standards- everyone is alive and fed at the end of the day – WIN! Yeah low standards are a lifesaver.
    thanks again!

  • Toon

    I’m from MN and here’s a few hints:
    1. Practice. You do it 5 months a year and you get good at it and they do it 5 months a year and they get good at doing it themselves. By 1st grade all I had to do was hunt up misplaced items, all the donning was done by the kid.

    2. Experimentation. I let the kid not wear things as long as they are carried. If the kid is too cold they can put their hat on, too hot they can take it off. Exception is young children and frostbite weather.

    My kid hates to wear shoes. At age three I let her take off her boots a few hundred feet from the house after warning her it was a bad idea. She cried all the way to the house but gained a firm understanding of what ‘bad idea’ meant.

    3. Spares. Machine washable spares.

    4. Potty training. I just waited til she wanted to potty train. She had accidents for a week, then potty training was done.

    5. Overheating in the car. Less bundling and a blanket in the car til the car warms up. One doesn’t have to bundle as much for 5 minute loading the car as one does for an hour of playing in the snow.

    • Karen

      Totally agree, you get use to it and so do they. I fact not long after they are doing it all on their own, they seem to figure out how to put their ski boots and helmet on, grab their skis and poles and jump on the ski bus – literally. This is the part of parenting all take every day care compared to some other things.

  • Renee

    Iowa mom here – you dress the kids when they are young with snowsuits, hats, mittens, boots; the whole nine yards to keep them as warm as possible. Then when they get to high school and they dress themselves, they go out when it is 30 below with a tee shirt, shorts, socks, Nike slides and no coat because it is in the backseat of their car. I GIVE UP!!!! For all the work it was when they were young at least they were warm and safe even though it is the biggest pain in the ass there was!!

  • Carly

    I’m in Winnipeg. This made me laugh so hard. Thanks.

    PS. I potty trained both kids in the summer.

    PPS. You forgot that you also need a scarf. Because -40 is fucking cold.

  • Melanie

    I only had one child. Because of snow.

    You potty train in the summer.
    You spend a lot of time washing snow pants because they will be peed in, even by older kids who just can’t get them off in time.

    Your child never has any mitts because they’re lost all the time. All the time. Sometimes she went to daycare with socks on her hands and we encountered other children with socks on their hands and mothers giving you the “You too? when’s spring?” look. In the spring melt, all the mitts, hats, snowpants, coats, sweaters etc… are found melted all over the playground and it looks like some creepy canadian version of “left behind.”

    My kid spends a ton of time outside because really, she’s so used to it. They have outdoor classroom in the winter here. The kids take both recesses and lunch outside. You just get used to the wet and the cold and the salt and the dirt and the laundry and the lost shit. Also if my kids jeans get wet she gets out the hair dryer and dries her tush because nope.

    I felt warm fuzzies with the shout out here though. Thanks.

  • Melanie

    Hahahahha, you funny. Living as a mom in Nova Scotia, Canada (no we do not live in igloos btw 😉 the key is to leave extra time in the winter to get ready.Then you are still late……

  • Amanda

    Mom of 2 from Winnipeg here. I agree with the other snow bound parents, we do it because if you don’t the littles will die of frost bite.
    I am a strong believer of “idiot strings” that keep the mittens attached to each other and the jacket. If I could figure out how to attach one to their toques (I believe it’s beanies for the Americans), I totally would. The 8 yr old girl didn’t want the string anymore. She lasted one day before losing a mitt so she has strings again.
    We keep a box of extra mitts and hats and scarves by the back door, so if a kid left something at school the day before, you can still get them safely to school in the morning.
    The kids learn to dress themselves at a pretty young age, just give them a good 20 minutes to get geared up.
    Also, I did potty training in the summer so the snow pants were not an issue.

  • Mel

    Huge props for those who parent in the snow, from Sydney, Australia. It’s going to be (a fairly average) 32°C (90°F) here today and it’s a struggle just to get my 3 & 1/2 year old into undies, a dress, sandals and a hat. I’ll never whinge about boiling car seats or sunscreen application again… Ok, that’s clearly a lie. I’ll try to whinge less often.

  • Laura

    HAHAHAHAHA! We live in Revelstoke, BC Canada, land of massive snow. You find a love of snow and all the fun things to do in it/on it. Invest in a pair of Bogs or Mucks that double as mud boots, a 1pc MEC snowsuit and long mitts that zip to their elbows. The 2yr old’s going to take them off regardless. And have fun. It’s all in how you look at it.
    Thanks for the great laugh!

    • Susan

      Revelstoke is one of my most favourite places in Canada, so jealous!! I love the snowboarding there!

  • Martin C.

    Well it certainly isn’t easy. It takes years of practice to get it down. And sometimes… well, shit happens. But you get used to it. Just like going to the beach or some other time intensive, gear intensive activity.

  • catherine

    I honestly don’t know which is more funny … the original post or the comments. Bahahaha. I am 64 and my children are now adults … gone, married, starting families. So, I can truly laugh about these things now … and, I do. I remember my husband deciding that getting a cabin in the mountains and starting in on snow related sporting would be a great idea … Ha! Between the gear for the kids, the packing of food and the relentless cold, it was mostly misery for mom. “Sure, lets go on a getaway that involves extra work for mom. It will be fun!” … said no sane woman … EVER!

  • Kelli Sayre

    See, now I HATE putting sunscreen on my daughter in summer. I live where there is snow, and it does indeed snow ON us. But kids LIKE to go out in the snow. Coats, boots, mittens, hats, and arguably snow pants have a value kids can believe in. Sunscreen, however, is a bit more abstract. The value of sunscreen is in what you WON’T get (a sunburn- which she hasn’t really ever gotten- not like WE did) while the value of said winter attire is in what you DO get (warm enough to make snow angles, go sledding, and basically play in -900 degrees for far longer than your parents can stand it). In summer, it is a fight EVERY day to lather her up with sunscreen- that non-chemical zinc crap (of course) that won’t rub in no matter how long my dish-washing rough hands rub it into her soft pore-less skin. I can’t imagine why she fights me. But with snow-clothes, there’s no argument as to whether it needs to be put on, only how fast it can be put on- “quick Mama- before it stops!!!”

  • Linda

    It’s ridiculous. I live in Alberta Canada. Strollers in winter are for people who can’t drive because no one shovels their damn sidewalks! It’s insane. But you can’t use a sled because then you find people who do and the sidewAke tears at the plastic. So either way your screwed. PLUS you can’t wear a jacket in the car seat. So you’re like me and don’t have remote start you have to go out, start the car: then you run in get both kids boots and jackets on. Then run them out, take the jackets off buckle them in give them blankets.

    Keep your babies in a Buckt seat as long as physically possible so you can just use the covers.

    I but dollar store mittens and they are worse than socks for never being able to find a matching pair so they look slightly homeless sometimes but at least they are warm.

    • Linda

      Sorry didn’t proof read. Hopefully you can understand some of my jumbled words.

      ** sidewalk


  • Rebecca

    Also, don’t forget, you have to accumulate the snow gear in August. When it is 100 fucking degrees outside. Because if you wait until there is snow and you need it, the stores are only stocked with swimsuits. Because that make sense. I am so not prepared for snow every year. And it happens EVERY YEAR. My kids are going to die of hypothermia. Yay.

  • TS

    You totally figured out how we do it, we’re some goddamn heroes.

  • ericadee

    hahaha…moved tp alberta from vancouver. wonderered how to do winter. first winter valiantly pushed my stroller through frozen puddles and unshoveled sidewalks, wondering why i was the only person with a stroller… 3 winters in we semi-bundle and drive 3 blocks to the gym, i run on a treadmill while the kids go to childcare, then drive 3 blocks home. i don’t even recognize myself anymore. where i grew up snow stayed on the mountains where it belonged.

  • Aimee

    I’m from Utah & I can tell you that by this time of year I am so damn sick of the snow pants, boots, gloves all in heaps by the doors I could scream. My kids love to play in it (11, 8, 1) and only sometimes wear their snow boots & pants to school. I currently have a large pile of snow clothes that got muddy on my back deck waiting for a magical fairy to deal with because I can’t even…..
    Consider yourself lucky to live in a nice climate:)It’s almost spring, right??

  • Maria

    I actually find winters not that bad (I’m from minnesota). You just have lots of very washable layers, mittens with strings, hats that velcro, and pray to god you have a large entry way where all the gear can live. I don’t understand how people parent in rain. How do you waterproof an infant??? Can you carry an umbrella while you cary the infant? I think they make waterproof covers for strollers, but I live in the city and take the bus (you have to collapse the stroller to get on the bus). Do you just let the infant get wet while you put the stroller back together???

  • Prairie

    Winnipeg mama here. Thank you for not judging us for putting our kids in snow suits & then in car seats. Too damn cold to do anything else.

  • Rachel

    I definitely dealt with my fair share of angry looks for not “appropriately” bundling up E her first winter. But seriously – the girl hated shoes, socks, & coats! So usually, I would opt to put on shoes & socks and then dash into the store before she could get too cold. I figured as long as all her skin was covered we would be okay. And she’s still alive, so I feel my decision was the right one.

  • Fiona

    Good gear! This makes all the difference – stuff you kid can put on, shit stuff you can put on your kids! This winter we got things dialed in, it is still a chore to get ready and a battle to convince the toddler that yes she should wear socks and boots rather than crocs in the snow, but having mittens, boots, and other stuff she can put on herself or I can easily get on has made a world of difference!

  • Carolynn

    Madison WI reporting in for duty! I often wonder why I live where the air hurts my face and long for tropical breezes around this time every year. One of the things I have finally learned after 8 winters with kids is to keep a set of snow pants and boots at school and warm up the car for at least 10 minutes on crazy cold days so they don’t have to bundle up every morning and afternoon. We’ll bring a blanket out to the car if necessary.

  • JC

    I live in Fargo, ND where the temp can dip down to a chilly -20 (add windchill and it can “feel” like -40) but we don’t go outside on those days and if we have to I do not put my daughter in snow pants. I use auto-start (or I would go and start my car and let it warm up if I didn’t have auto-start). She does wear warm clothe though so it’s not like she’s out there in a spring jacket and a t-shirt. She wears socks, boots, long-sleeve t-shirt, a hoodie jacket, scarf, mittens, and her hat and that’s it. On nice days (above 20F) she’ll wear her snow pants, otherwise everything else remains the same. We are a tough bunch of people.

  • T

    I’m Saskatchewan. The province right beside Winnipeg. Winter is the worst. The cost alone to buy new winter gear is enough to make you angry.

  • Zoe

    DUDE – That’s why we all look so old and wrinkled in snow country, stress of winter takes years off your damn life!
    Imagine this … your kids were psyched to get out there in all the gear because it was novel and new…not so if you have to gear up all winter long.
    I had twins in the snow – — when one toddler wants to go out in the blizzard of course the other doesnt so you really have to shove screaming kids into all that gear as fast as possible before the dressed one starts undressing !!! Bring on SPRING!

  • Robin

    I was in tears reading this!! I have twins. In Saskatchewan (roughly 6 hours from Winnipeg)! You make me so happy.

  • Kata

    Adorable !
    Love your parenting, appreciate your sharing !
    Thank you – always looking forward.
    All Love to all Mothers and beings, small and big 🙂
    And a hug to you.

  • hillary

    Rocky mountain mamma here at 8,500 ft. Luckily we get a lot of Sun so that helps the cold/snow situation. But these gloves (snowstoppers stay on mittens) a lifesaver. And you have to buy like 3 pairs of them so when one gets lost you have a backup!

  • Jill

    All four of my kids went to a public preschool that had SAINTS for a teacher and TA, because they would take the kids out every single day of winter (above 15 degrees, including windchill) and they somehow had the patience to talk every kid through getting their snow gear on. I would volunteer in the classroom and watch in awe. They were pretty set on not giving the kids any hands on help, except for zippers at the beginning of the winter, but they would sit there and fucking TALK the kids through getting dressed everyday. And guess what? They never yelled or got impatient that I saw. Holy shit. I wanted to pull my hair out just watching. At the beginning of the winter, it would take a full on 20 minutes to half an hour to get all 12 kids dressed sometimes. But by February, even the three year olds were whipping that shit on – no problem.

    I will be forever grateful to those women because, sure, we lose mittens and hats between the mudroom and the wood stove where stuff gets hung all the time (seriously? There must be some snow gear Bermuda Triangle in the hallway . . .), but I have never really had to actually GET the kids dressed, even when they were little, because they were taught how to do it themselves so young.

  • DCP

    YES! Every time we’ve taken our twins to the snow, I have thought about the poor moms that have to work around the snow for months on end! How do they not go stir crazy??? My hat is off to all of those moms!

  • Carrie

    Born and raised in Iowa as are my 5 kiddos. It is annoying, not terrible but annoying because we have to store it for 1/2 a year. Then get it out to find nothing fits! Then spring comes and my kids with sensory issues have fits because their feet feel weird without socks and short sleeves are just as terrible for their arms. Then summer comes and we have no AC. Because we live in the country and it’s not as hot out there. Still hot. At least by then my kids have decided it’s okay to wear a minimal amount of clothing and sandals. Then it’s fall. Crap. Now we put on jackets, which are too small because why not? And socks again. Which feel terrible because why not? And they don’t remember that if they have to wear a coat or jacket they should also shut the door. Because for 4 months we can leave our inside door open. Now it’s February and supposed to be minus degrees like normal. But it’s in the 40s. And muddy. So now we have to dig out the spring jackets and boots. And we still have out the winter stuff. My basement looks like all the storage tubs of clothes puked. The best thing about this is that it will get cold again so I will wash the spring things, put them away, and then spring will actually come.

  • Kim

    ROFLMFAO sooo sorry but this is some funny shit my kids are all grown and on their own but we live outside of Buffalo on the lake so we get pounded but we also didn’t have electronics to distract my kids and they pretty much lived outside per my non to gentle request (get yer ass outside and play NOW)but dressing was never a big problem single layer of clothing and a full on snow suit and as I see many here use the string/yarn method of securing those damn mittens as did I but it never fails one or all will lose one so back ups are a must I used the tried and true plastic bags over socks before shoeing them or booting up it was never an issue but I never dressed them to the hilt while driving anywhere the one piece snow suits went on before going out in the snow. My kids lived outside rain snow or shine lol but you all made my day so thanks for the belly laugh

  • Nikki

    Hahaha, we live in Barrie, ON Canada and have snow 5 months of the year. We get snow gear on every single day to get to the bus stop (with a 5 year old, 3 year old, and 6 month old baby) and back then for pick up and back again. The pile at the end of our driveway right now is 6 feet tall and we’re expected to get another 15cm on Wednesday.

    Thanks for the laugh 🙂

  • Alana

    I’m from Vancouver and just moved to Ottawa. I’m so homesick doing this two toddler gig in snow gear every single day when people at home are taking pictures of Spring. This post was the greatest gift in my life, ever.

    • Kate

      Hey! I moved to Ottawa from Vancouver about 15 years ago and it is an absolute shock! Being a Mama with littles in the winter is lonely – make sure you (go through hell and) get out of the house every day to see other people or you’ll go bat-shit!

      Now my littles are 9, 7 and 4 yrs old and I welcome the snow (not the mega-cold…no, I will never ever like the deep freeze of -30C) because I just kick them out in the yard and they entertain themselves. Give my 4 yr old a snowshovel and he’ll be out there for hours. Its like a sandy beach, I guess.

      Don’t shoot me, but I would miss winter if I moved back to the West coast. Winter gives the kids something new to do for half the year (skate / ski / make snowmen / sledding) so it doesn’t get boring. Then we flip activities, put everything away in the basement and go biking / swimming / hiking / playing soccer for summer.

      But absolutely get the right gear (with extra mitts), do your potty training in summer, teach them to dress themselves and that they MUST hang up their wet gear afterwards or they will be forced to WEAR IT AGAIN (thats a lesson quickly learned too) and then winter is really do-able. on most days.

  • Carey

    As a mom of 3 year old twins….who lives in Canada….I can say wholeheartedly that I am fucking exhausted most of the time. And yet, I have the luxury of staying at home for a few years and all I can think about are the goddamn warrior women who do this, and work outside the home. Like my girlfriend. Who does this, with two kids, in the freezing prairies, and stares down breast cancer, unblinkingly. And Janelle, thanks for calling it like ion is, for the laugh/cry/snort, while we trudge…in snow… X

  • MLH

    Strollers? We use sleds in Winnipeg.

  • Lea Ann Mallett

    I am so grateful that someone acknowledges my pain! Here in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada (just outside of Toronto), it gets cold in November (not Arctic cold, but New York cold) and my 6 year old daughter begins the resistance around winter coat wearing. EVERY DAY IT IS A “DISCUSSION” ABOUT WEARING HER WINTER COAT. By February, at least she is putting it on without screaming, “I HATE THIS FRIGGING (I am grateful for “frigging”) WINTER COAT!” and throwing it across the room. November through January are home to many “spirited conversations” about winter gear.

    My son plays hockey and he happily puts on all of his gear and heads out at 7:30am or so to play street hockey most mornings, so he is low maintenance in that regard. His superpower is LOSING winter gear – mittens, hats and thus far, one brand new, expensive winter coat, a gift from Grandma (my mom, who when she figures this out, will be yet another explosive force in the Winter Debating Society).

    It all is very exhausting, especially since I don’t like winter myself (ashamed Canadian…). Love you for your appreciation <3


  • Melissa

    Montreal, Canada here… We’re born into knowing how to cope with winter. All about the layers. With our girls (2 and 4) they go outside every day at daycare, but we don’t send them there in snow pants. No, we schlep all that to daycare every monday morning, then bring the gear home for weekends. We have found that bib snow pants are necessary, fleece sweaters too. These fleece balaclavas from a local company are miraculous. The mittens are a challenge. Always have been. My little one is the same as yours. Refuses to wear them yet whines and appears genuinely surprised *each time* that her hands are cold… Our winters are so long. even before I had kids, I realized that the trick to making it *seem* like winter is going by fast(er), is to dress warmly and enjoy the winter activities. It’s not always -37. Some days are insanely sunny and nice and pleasant or on blizzard days, it’s never *that* cold, and boy is it pretty. I’d still rather be outside on days like that than cooped up inside. My girls too. We choose to live here, so we don’t really complain about it, but it’s ALWAYS the main topic of convo. That and how shitty our hockey team is right now. Love your blog. xoxo

  • Danielle

    You potty train in the summer, for sure! I think that’s an unspoken rule all moms in snow country know. You use a baby carrier, invest in gender-neutral snow gear so it can be passed down from kid to kid or buy used from moms in the neighborhood (truly good boots are so expensive it hurts). And a lot of times you just stay inside because you’re too lazy to deal (that MAY just be me). I just moved from Boston (record breaking snowfall last winter, over 100 inches) to the Bay Area and my kids watch a million percent less TV because they can go outside every day without all that gear and/or fear of frostbite. But I feel like no one who hasn’t survived a bitterly cold, snowy winter with little kids can ever know the insane joy of spring coming. It’s the highest high.

  • Mary

    Holy shit. It was not until this moment that I realized the advantage of raising my kids in the “stinking desert”!!!

  • Karine

    Hello from Canada! So my son got 1st degree frostbite on the ear… Yay mother of the year! But he has to go outside every day (otherwise we’ll all go nuts)and I can’t keep his hat in check every second, so… there you go! NOW he’ll keep his hat on, otherwise his ear will fall off, I tell him ;)…
    Yes, a lot of gear necessary and a battle to look forward to every morning ;).
    LOVE your writing btw.

  • MK


    it’s been a bit of a bummer mild winter here (se michigan) this year, my two year old asks to make a frosty the snowman every time we get a little dusting and we haven’t been able to. hopefully we get one good snowfall before spring really arrives.

    oh, and the little metal mitten clips from rei – awesome.

  • Katy E

    I have triplets and I live in Maine. Send wine.

  • Tracy

    So, I’m a Canadian — actually living near Winnipeg (everyplace in the province of Manitoba is considered “near Winnipeg” by people FROM Winnipeg and the rest of the country — except people living in parts of Manitoba which are NOT Winnipeg… but I digress).

    How do we do it? Wine. Lots and lots of wine. And good whiskey. And really good beer.

    Oh, and cultivating the awareness early on in our children that they will die if they go out without appropriate gear from approximately October through April, and sometimes as late as May.

    • Rachel

      Bahamas! Yes, Cheers to you my fellow Manitoban!

      • Rachel

        Bahaha* not Bahamas. Although a vacation there right about now would be nice.

  • Elana

    I very often tell my husband that people who do not live in extremely cold climates (during winter), i.e.. Floridians, Californians, etc., really really do not realize how much of a massive difference climate makes to their lives. Having to deal with all this shit for 5-6 months of the year is a big big deal for us, and even though we are used to it and we DO deal with it every single day, the ability to never have to think about extreme temperatures the way we do – the ability to just walk our your door without a coat 365 days per year, is a HUGE difference from our lives.

  • Emilie

    Hey hey i can’t help but smile. I live in Montréal, Québec and yep i do this every day, actually at least twice a day with my 3 children!!! Crazy life!

  • Nicole

    Thanks for the laugh! I live in Winnipeg. Winters here suck. It’s just too darn cold for too darn long.

    Just think, our kids have to go outside for recess/playtime at school and daycare unless it’s -25 C outside (-13 F). If it’s -24: too bad, so sad. Gear up and out you go! It practically takes longer to get the winter gear on than the time they have to play outside!

    My 6 yr old son’s outdoor hockey tournament had to be postponed because last Friday it was -40 C with the windchill (-40 F). Lol. Whoever thought an outdoor tournament in Winnipeg, in February, for 5-8 yr olds was crazy! But hey, it was a beautiful -3 (26 F) only 2 days later, so it was all good. He played extra games that day.

    We are somewhat nuts to live here, but we try not to think about beautiful California so we aren’t too miserable. 🙂

  • Csmith

    I’m with you on this. We live where my kids barely wear clothes 9 months out of the year, I keep sandals in the van in case we stop somewhere that requires shoes. My In-laws once took us all on a Christmas trip to experience the “winter wonderland” that is snow. After wrestling 5 kids in and out of snow boots 78 times I believe my words were, “what the actual fuck, why would anyone live here ON PURPOSE when they like have a U-Haul right down the road”.

  • Claire

    Thank you for this – as with many of your posts its like a therapy session for me to read. Especially this time of year when I’m done with thinking the snow is pretty.

  • Alice

    You are freaking hilarious. I live in Massachusetts. I have two teenagers and I had them from birth in this snowy state. It is just a thing you do. And they learn quick not to take off stuff because IT IS COLD. We live near a lake and we skated a lot when they were young and that required changing footwear on a cold bench. But they got the hang of it all. I do not miss the whining about the cold and the lacing up of skates and then the relacing when they were too tight and then they were too loose. But I miss skating with little kids, though.

  • Karyn

    I’m the the Rocky Mountains, CO where we can expect snow at some point 12 months out of the year. I ran an infant/toddler childcare out of the house and now work in a kids ski school. I’ve put so many goddamn layers on kids to go out in snow I might get a repetitive injury from it. Here was my system:
    1. Potty and diapers
    2. Keep all that small shit that gets lost in a pile by the door (mittens, hats, sunglasses, etc.)
    3. Put the first layers with socks on all kids
    3. Pick your few oldest/most trustworthy not to run and put them in snow pants, coats, and boots. 4. Stick them outside as-is somewhere visible
    5. Put the others in snow pants, coats, boots
    6. Grab your own coat (with built-in mittens and hood) and slip into the boots that always stay by the door.
    7. Carry all mittens and hats outside with you and put them on out there.

    With any luck the first ones outside will be cold enough to not fight the accessories. By the time you finish with them- the other ones will also be cold enough. It worked most of the time. At ski school we do enlist the help of any adult with the misfortune of walking by. That place is the best form of birth-control ever.

    Truly, with our own kid having good gear and letting her suffer results of things like walking barefoot in the snow has worked wonders. At 4 she does the whole thing herself because the thought of missing out on ski/sled/snowbike/snow castles….is just too much to bear. We also have nylon cord threaded through stair banisters to clip wet stuff on and I’ve embraced the “ski-lodge chic” look of 8000 coats and boots piled up around the door.

    Thanks for giving us props- we all have our struggles. And, yes, I start dreaming of driving west to warm, flat places by the end of January….

  • Michelle Heber

    OMG this is so funny. Another Manitoban here. I do remember happily gearing up for outdoor play on the farm, which we would do for hours. We would gear up for recess and lunch time play, and go out again after school and again after supper. Only complaints would be when our scarves and mitts would get wet and freeze, and then we would come in for a dry pair. Now, I absolutely hate winter, aside from the “pretty whiteness” of it all. Winnipeg is just too cold to enjoy winter, although this past winter has been relatively tame compared to our normal -40c for weeks on end!

  • Flannery

    So funny! I’m in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, where we have the snow thing for half a year. I cracked up at your “twins in the snow” part because I have 4 kids and we are expecting twins… so I will actually have twins in the snow this winter. And their noses will probably get cold. 🙂

  • Amy

    Now imagine being an elementary teacher and getting 30 kids in and out of snow gear for two recesses a day.

  • Heather

    Oh man, my mom had 5 of us in 10 years and we had proper Canadian winter from October to April. And now, since we have car seats until they’re 9 years old and you can’t put them in the car seats with all that gear on, you have to UNDRESS them in the car, and then DRESS THEM AGAIN when you get where you’re going. we live in no-snow Vancouver now, and I’m with you in being amazed by all the cold weather families!

  • Susan

    I am a huge fan of your blog, all the way from Canada!! This is definitely in my top 5 of your favourite posts!!

  • Marie Mack

    I have a big plastic tote that holds multiples of everything…couple dozen pairs of gloves, many scarves, coats, hats, extra pairs of thick warm socks…everything needed for outside.
    I store it in a closet all summer, and it sits in the front hall by the front door in the winter for easy access. Multiples are necessary.
    When the kidlet comes in, I have her trained to take it all off, separate items that became entangled in each other, and drop straight into the washing machine ???? Because, without fail, it is dirty because she somehow found the mud beneath all that white snow, or stinky from sweat from playing is hard.
    If she loses something, she has to go back out to find it. She doesn’t lose many things because she dreads the idea of going back in the cold to search once she’s done playing ????
    I’m in MI. Grew up here. Don’t know any other way.
    Oh, and a plastic try by the door for the wet boots to drip dry on…yeah that’s a must. Otherwise there’s puddles. Icy cold puddles that I am guaranteed to step on in my stocking feet ????

  • Kagi

    I remember winters like this from my childhood in northern Indiana – my mother had four of us to contend with at that point, but she is the most patient saint on earth, idek how she does it, but regardless, ohhh the snow bibs, and the mitten clips, and the wet sock prevention difficulties (even with boots – I guess she never heard the trick about plastic bags)….so many memories.

    And the cost – I seem to remember one year my grandmother got all of us matching snow gear in different colours, I’m sure she was grateful because we were living hand to mouth as we did for almost my entire childhood. Otherwise yeah, it was secondhand, usually handed down by church families but otherwise probably Goodwill. I remember being embarrassed about this even at the age of 6, heh.

  • Anne-Cathrine

    Yup, have done this with 2 kids 2 years apart here in Norway. Oh the bliss of the first spring days when getting out of the house eeeearly in the morning to take both kids to daycare before going to work didn’t involve half an hour getting dressed (IF they cooperated and didn’t throw a huge tantrum which you really have no time for since you have to go to work, so you wrestle and wrangle clothes on, holding the kid down like you’re in a wrestling match)… Greatest.Bliss.Ever

  • Anne-Cathrine

    oh, and, the extra workout I had every day by walking them half an hour to said daycare in a twin stroller with wheels not at all designed for snow and ice, was all the workput I needed. Win! I guess!

  • Anne-Cathrine

    And, I had these for mittens

    And wool long underwear and tops. You get a lot of great outdorr clothes for winter here, since we are out a lot no matter the season – kids at day cares are outside about half the day they spend there, so they also get used to deal with the cold and the weather.

  • Jodi

    Raised my two daughters in Winnipeg and you just do it. Plus, you pull the kids in a sled to school, which is both fun and exhausting. We now live in England and watching young mums here, I gotta’ say it looks far easier without snow and -30 weather.

  • Wendy

    I went to Finland for a work trip and was visiting a child care centre – they said that we had to get the kids ready for outdoor play – I mentioned that it was minus 18 celsius (0 Farenheit) and they said – it is fine – when it drops to minus 20 we stay indoors…(-4 F) Needless to say it took a good hour to get all the kids dressed ready to go outside and about the same to undress them! Crazy!

  • lehaun shea

    Ha ha! So NOT funny! My son was born in Buffalo NY, so I thought I was good at this…Hee hee NOPE! My husband took a job and we moved to Fairbanks Alaska, yup, you all see how cold it is here, it AINT a joke! I thought they were joking when my son went to half day K, ‘Your child WILL go outside and play to -30’ Ha ha funny shit, right WRONG! So VERY wrong! I was a class mom, because, well my son would be naked if it were up to him, so I figured he probably won’t come home frostbitten if I am there…23 kids, need help getting into everything…All ya see is little tufts of breath and eyelashes with ice crystals of snow, OMG…six years later, I am STILL mad at my husband! We figured out, MORE than a year into it, A child sized snowmobile suit. Super insulated(dont even look at the price, for peace of mind TOTALLY worth it!) the mitten grippers, that go In the suit, and are clipped to the wrists as the stuff is taken off, and ACCIDENTALLY forgotten to be unclipped so SO many gloves do not get lost, but (still LOST more than $200 worth of gloves that year!) And boots, since they are in boots from Oct, to Mar, spend the money on them, and just give in to the fact they WILL be destroyed! Been there and done that, got ya beat by a mile, but I did it, you can too! My other ploy, keep em in for a couple, and compile ALL that gear, put it in a washbasket, if it is NOT all on, they DO NOT go out, PERIOD, end of story, my child is VERY profecient at dressing himself, though he would still rather be naked! Ah the beauty and majesty of Alaska, dont think you got it rough…We had fun, but I NEVER need to be cold or see snow out my window again, but…That is just me!

  • Amy

    Hahahaha! I feel like a super star today 🙂 Don’t forget elementary school teachers – yes, they actually take 20+ kids outside for 30 minutes of recess nearly every single day (even the 10 degree days)! I did a student teaching stint in a Kindergarten class…IN JANUARY! By the time the kids were dressed for recess it was time to get on the bus! LOL.

  • Krista

    Read these comments before next year to remind you of the tips and tricks!
    When my little one was an infant, I put her in the car seat under many blankets. Luckily, we have a garage, so I didn’t have to bundle her up to get her in the car. Then when we get at the destination, I had to either bundle her up while we’re in the car OR leave her in the bucket seat and lug her around. Now that she’s a toddler, when arrive at the destination, I’m bundling her up at the destination. (Never put a baby in a car seat while wearing a snow suit. It’s not safe.)
    Also, I have no idea what to do when the no-clothing-strikes happen. Lots of tears, I suspect.

    • Krista

      (I meant the above tips and tricks. Mine weren’t that good.)

  • Byanka

    Hello from Landmark, MB. I’m about 20 min from Winnipeg, and winter sucks. Last year my son hated it so we stayed indoors, this winter I had a baby so I hibernated though I’m getting a bit of cabin fever now! My son loves the snow so my husband takes him outside to skate (son is two). I have a babywearing jacket that I can nurse in, it’s diapers that a pain.

  • Sylvia

    Oh this made me laugh, big time. I live in Sweden, and what you wrote here is a daily reality about 9 months of the year. By the time actual winter hits, after months of rain and darknes, I am convinced I need to move to Aruba or some other Caribbean island. Winter is hard, really hard. The kids get sick of sledding and building snow men after a few weeks and then they are climbing the walls. And I’m climbing the walls and looking for some secret escape.
    Spring is around the corner, hope I can keep my sanity until then. For now, I’ll just keep on popping vitamin D pills and looking at pictures of sunny places with actual green grass!

  • Jen

    Us Canadian mommas are hearty folk!

  • danielle oyasu

    I finally feel recognized and heard. I hate Winter. It makes everything shitty and we all get fat. I would move to California, but y’all have no water.

  • Geri

    You forgot about the days when it’s seems fine but then OMG THE SNOW IS COMING AND OUR SCHOOLS ARE RISK AVERSE AND SO WE HAVE TO DISMISS EARLY!

    Then you have to drop what you’re doing (oh, you have a job? Well, fuck you, today you have to pick your kid up before the Snowpocalypse hits. Sorry ’bout that job thing) and drive to school where you sit in a line of about 6431 cars and wait to bring your kid home early.

    Why yes, yes this did happen to me today. Why do you ask?

  • Denise

    As a northern Canada(Yukon) mom of two, (now both teens), my kids learned to dress themselves VERY early, when I could afford it, usually in the off season, I bought good gear that keeps them warm so they’d stay outside for longer than 5 min, and I always adjusted/slightly lengthened their car seats straps for winter clothing. But could someone please invent winter boots for kids that don’t require you to almost break their foot in half to get it past the 90 degree bend in the ankle of the boot…

    • Susan

      Sorels. I snagged a pair for my 2 year old from value village for $7. Steal of a deal!!

  • Stacey

    Moved from sunny Southern California to BC Canada when the kids were 3 & 1 years old (along with our 9 yr. dog who’d never been cold in his life) I had NO idea how to dress my kids for snow.We only had Van slip on shoes for them. Made every mistake in the book (rubber books freeze and crack, never leave the house without extra mittens and hats, one piece snow suits suck when potty training) We’ve lived thru 8 winters and can actually enjoy the snow now. Well me, not so much.

  • Dawn Kautz

    This is why I politely nod and refuse to engage in any discussion about the necessity of taking off kids’ winter gear when they are in a car seat. Can you imagine dressing them while you warm your car, running to the van with them, taking off their outerwear, buckle in. Arrive at destination, unbuckle, dress them up, only to have them undress after you’ve trecked across the parking lot for 5 minutes in -40 weather with a stiff wind?! It’s hard enough getting those darn buckles done up while your fingers freeze and your hands get chapped and cracked. (Winnipeger)

  • Jenn

    As a Winnipeg mama, this made me laugh and cry at the same time. My 8 yr old can complete the dressing procedure independently, except for the hanging to dry of the wet shit- that’s an impossible step! I however am a new mom to twin boys and have to start this all over again- hence the tears! We do this everyday because society frowns upon letting our littles freeze. The other alternative is to stay inside and hibernate all winter and that’s enough to send us all batty!! So- off we go into the snow, and if we’ve done everything right- there are glorious memories to be made!
    Thanks for the laughs!

  • Peter

    Another Winnipegger, this comes to mind every time I get my kids ready to go outside in the winter.

  • Erin

    I grew up in MA (still live there/here). Youngest of 8, working-class family. 10 of us living in a 1000-ish square foot house. The kids always tossed winter coats/clothes over the newel post on the stairs by the front door. My mother kept at us to hang them up instead, but we never listed. One day, she tossed all of the coats etc out into the snow.

    We listened.

  • Heather

    Canadian here. I park in our garage. My favourite mall has an underground heated parking garage! How do you change a diaper? We now own a minivan in part because of this. The kids get thick skinned because snow gear can’t go under car seat straps so we dash from house to van to destination.

    Potty training? Let me tell you a story. I drove to a playground and parked a couple of blocks away in the hopes the baby would fall asleep in the stroller on the walk there (she didn’t). Baby gets all bundled up in a cuddle bag (sleeping bag that fits in the bucket seat) for the walk only as it’s not recommended for the drive. Toddler bundled up in all her gear. We’re at the playground a few minutes when the toddler gets a terrified look on her face and cries. She had an urgent potty situation and it was already too late. Diarrhea. We walked back to the truck (she waddled), I stripped off most of the gear with her standing on the tailgate and brought her into the cab to gently and carefully pull off the shit hammock (aka dirty panties) and wipe her down. Thank god I had 2 baby wipes left, spare clothes, a plastic bad, and a truck so none of the offending clothing items were in the cab with us. It made for an unforgettable day!

  • Wintergirl

    If we are going from house to car and then car to store/restaurant etc we don’t do coats. A good warm sweater and hat and mitts and boots.
    Wearing snowsuit a or jackets in car seats is very dangerous and an infant died here this winter because of this.
    Potty training is only allowed in summer months.
    The more you do it, the easier it gets!
    Wet mitts and hats get put on the floor heat vents every night, and this adds humidity to the dry winter house air.

  • Krista

    This is one of the main reasons I no longer teach kindergarten in Toronto. 😉 34 4 year olds in my class… That’s (count them!!!) 68 mittens to keep track of… We were supposed to go out 3 times daily….

  • Kate

    I live in upstate western New York and we get a ton of snow. Like- last year we got over 4ft of snow in about 8 hours. We also have below freezing wind chills for weeks on end.
    We don’t cope with it. We are used to it. So used to it that if it hits 35 after weeks of subzero temps you will see people outside in shorts and I will open my windows for some fresh air.
    As for the layers- I put my kids in a coat, sometimes zippered, and a hat (sometimes) (especially if my mom will be seeing them). They only get the whole enchilada if we are going to play out in the snow. I buy multiple pairs of both mittens and boots and then collect them all again in June when the snow melts. June is when we go from 20 to 90 with mosquitoes big enough to carry off small dogs due to al the puddles of melting snow. Yup. Add that to the fact that we get about an hour more sun that Forks (attracting glittery vampires) and you have one fine place to call home!

  • Stephanie K.

    I teach kindergarten in Ontario. In Canada. That means that
    for about 4-5 months a year, five days a week, I put 22 kids into
    all that snow hear THREE TIMES A DAY. It IS nuts. And I have four
    kids of my own to get ready/find mitts/etc every damn day too.
    Thank you. I truly feel like a hero now.

  • Jenn

    Love it! As a snow family this made me laugh out loud – but I only have one kid so it barely counts keeping track of all his gear compared to 4 kids. That’s just nuts. But then again we also have ski gear to keep tabs on, a second set of warm stuff for daycare (it gets trashed and you NEVER let the good ski gear get trashed at daycare – everyone knows that!), both rain boots AND snow boots because the Coast Mountains are fickle – if you’re smart you just fork out the cash for Bogs because they basically cover all the bases. It’s just basically a gong show of outwear floating around my house. It’s true. I’m ready for summer to come so I can just send my little outside in his pyjama pants and bare feet because when you’re four who care about playing in your PJs. Your post made it tour our local moms Facebook group and everyone’s enjoying it. 🙂

  • Lauren

    It can be a bitch but we make due. I have to say though I wonder the same things about people living on coasts and sand. Is your house and kids always sandy? Haha.

  • Chloe

    Lol this was the funniest shit I’ve read in a while, the snow is just a part of everyday life when your a Canadian getting the kids ready like that has just become a 2nd nature. ???? don’t think twice about it, thanks for the laugh 🙂

  • Jamjam

    Thanks. I needed this. I live in Winnipeg, have four kids and twins (8,5,3,3) and usually have to dress and undress the kids two or three times a day. i don’t know how people do it without their heads popping off in frustration.

  • Warren

    It’s a given that my kids are going to lose their hats and their gloves and their shit in the snow. You just get used to it. And you become really good at reading the warning signs for hypothermia and frostbite.

  • AJ

    Thank you!

    I think you can take this further though… Time to load the kids in the car… They will dawdle while they eat snow, fight over icicle swords, lose mittens, fall on the ice, start a snow ball fight, follow squirrel tracks, have to pee (pretty fun in the snow for my boys), all while you start the car (it started!), scrape the windshield, clear the windows (use a broom, works magic). When you are finally ready to load them in they are “freezing to death”, “can’t move” and are “starving”, you get to strap their prone bodies into their car seats with your freezing fingers and hope they don’t kick the snow all over the back seat of your fancy 2001 Subaru. Yay!

    With love, in Minnesota

    • renegademama

      This is amazing. I knew I left so much out because there’s so much I couldn’t possibly fathom. You’re a warrior.

  • Nat F

    This made me laugh. I’m from Canada. I actually had to look up what a bib was lOL. We call them snow pants ;). That said, as a Canadian, I find it easier to put on all those layers than to slather on sunscreen when we travel south. It takes me forever to put sunscreen my daughter and on myself. Much longer than it takes us to put on our winter garb LOL. Thankfully she’s now at an age where she can easily dress herself for winter while I dress myself (no, I don’t wear bibs but she does). It does take her a while but that’s because she’s as slow as molasses in doing everything 🙂

    Funny article BTW

  • tanya

    Mittens that don’t fall off: SnowStoppers – elasticized band goes to the elbow. Also, mostly waterproof unless you have boys under 12 that go out for two hours at a time in the slush, muck or whatever else Nova Scotia throws at us. These mittens are not cheap and therefore don’t go to school, to be lost forever. Only for home. Also a must here: multiple pairs of winter boots – need pair for shallow snow (ankle high), pair for slush (lined rain boot), pair for serious snow (knee high). Same company also makes boots (knee high), declared waterproof by youngest of said boys, after thorough testing in actual real winter.

    Do not speak to me of wet (muddy) mittens being left under car seats (took *weeks* to locate source of smell), wet (muddy) boots thrown In The Dryer because when I said ‘put your wet clothes in the dryer’, apparently it wasn’t obvious that boots weren’t included.

  • Sarah

    Bwahaha. THANK YOU for recognizing the world of pain northern parents live in. Omg mittens are THE worst. My 21 month old does EXACTLY what your picture described. Every day. We moms up here talk about how many months left and how the sun is coming back, thank God. This made me feel better, until tomorrow morning when I need to assemble a 21 mo th old and 3 year old so I can drop them at the sitters and not be late for work. Sigh.

  • Julie

    Thank you for the laugh and the memories this morning – exactly what I needed!
    We moved from PHOENIX to Iowa when our TRIPLETS were 3 – TRIPLETS in the snow!!!
    It was extremely painful, as I experienced most of the scenarios you imagined! Once I was shopping, FINALLY got all three strapped in the van, ran around the van to jump in, and promptly hit a patch of black ice and fell flat on my back in the road. I look up to see three sets of eyes staring out the window at me. When I got back in the van, they said “Mommy, why you take a nap in the street?” 🙂

  • Madelief Becherer

    Nailed it. The 6 months of “winter” (this year it’s a bipolar mixture of rain, snow, ice repeat) suck ass. The bummer is that you forget how much you hate snow gear and spend a whole month looking forward to it. “When will it snow?”, “I want to go sledding”, “It’ll be so much more pretty”. And then BOOM. Snow. One day of it and I’m over it.

    And the 4 year old obligatory distaste for clothes sucks so bad. She’d go out in a fucking tutu if I let her. And sometimes I do. Just to make a point.

    But, 6 months indoors would be even worse. So, we deal with the gear.

    And we really love our 2 months of summer.

  • Amélie

    Try doing this with 2 young kids (3.5 and 22 months) WHILE being 33 weeks pregnant!!! OMG can’t wait for this winter to be over!!!!!!!!! Proud but tire to bend pregnant Canadian mom!

  • Adele

    It is a royal pain in the ass. I always forget to heat up the car beforehand. So after putting on the million layers and finding the missing mitten underneath the sofa we are off. My daughter and I love December but start a countdown to spring in January.

  • Emilie

    I read and agree with everything you write but I don’t usually comment. I just had to, this time! I am from Quebec and I HATE it. I hate it every winter. I hate the mittens, the hat, the neck warmer (cache-cou in french), the snow pants… The coats and boots are nice. Everything else I hate. But when I see my 4 year old getting over the top excited every morning when it just snowed, my heart melts. She runs around and sings : Snow! Snow ! Snow! She really really LOVES it.

    Of course, by that time, we are already all dressed up and I have forgotten about the hassle…

    Great post! 🙂

  • Kate

    This is hilarious! And true. From MN and I agree with what everyone else said. It gets easier and they don’t need everything unless they’re playing in the snow.

    Also – that hat is ADORABLE! Would you share where it’s from? ❤️

  • kate

    Love this (from MN)!!!

    Also, that hat (and your child) is ADORABLE! Would you tell where it’s from? I feel like fun hats are what makes winter gear bearable for me. ❤️

  • Sharon

    I have 2-year-old potty training twin boys and I live in Utah and it is as HORRIBLE AS YOU THINK.

  • Angela

    Oh holy jesus – I live in Minnesota with two tiny dictators and was brought laugh/tears by this post. It really does take us an hour to get out the door in the cold, bathroom breaks and search for lost mittens included. Thanks for appreciating my struggle.

  • Samantha M

    Haaaah! Yesssss mom to 4, with twins in Canada. It’s a fucking nightmare, but also you harden up. You teach your kids to pull their hands into their sleeves when you forgot gloves and breathe into your jacket when the air is so cold it hurts and your legs just learn to freeze hahahha. I also don’t have command start so we all freeze our asses off, watching our breathe until it finally warms up ????????????????

  • Alex

    Yup. Welcome to Finland, and my world 7 years ago.

  • Andrea

    So Winnipeg is where I’m from and my husband and I went there with our four month old son to visit relatives in JANUARY and the goddamn snow kit was a fucking gong show!!! It was only 10 days and I was so exhausted and just DONE by the end… Meanwhile 35 years ago my mom, a poor single mother was slogging around with a baby in AN UNBRELLA STROLLER with a basket of laundry on the bus to the goddamn laundromat!!!!!!!!!!! I do not know how people do it, and I’m from there!

  • Cara

    Twins in snow!! YES. When my twin boys were little and we went out to play in the snow, I’d literally be breaking out in a sweat (and tears) just trying to get boots and gloves on. It would take an hour to get them dressed and then we’d be outside for 7 minutes. Now I have to fight with one of them to wear a winter coat when it is 12 degrees out. 12. degrees. Anyway, thanks for the laugh!

  • Stephanie

    I’m a mother of four in snowy Ontario where it snows from November to March. And until this year, I taught kindergarten in a small town where everyone buys their snow boots at the same store. So kids would go home with two boots that looked the same but were different sizes. Winter almost broke me in those years. But not as much as it almost broke my nanny who had to dress her seven little kids in WOOL snowsuits. They’d pee in them and it would take weeks to dry them by the woodstove. Winter is nuts.

  • Carolyn Salzano

    I live in Southern New England, aka Connecticut and no, snow/cold is no joke. But the kids wear all that stuff because we don’t force them. And when we don’t force them, they do what they want,and they freeze their asses off. So then they WANT that stuff on.
    Thats how it works. But when they’re really little, we just dress them like ourselves. We’re used to it

  • Katie

    Just came across this while searching up “how often can I wash my kids snow gear”. We’re north of Chicago and have 4 kids, the youngest of whom are twins. Thus column totally made me laugh! My kids are older now (twins are 8) but when they were younger it did seem like a ton of effort. But now, my kids are pretty hardy and will play outside in the snow!

    Oh and yes!! Potty training was definitely a summer activity here.

  • Kristal

    Ha ha ha ha! I worked in the education field for over 20 years, mostly at the high school level. To get a continuing teaching contract I had to go to elementary for 2 years. 1 year was 2 days of grade 1s and 2s (1 day for 2 different teachers, plus 2 days in the library). I don’t have kids, my husband didn’t want them and we both taught so no problems… you haven’t lived until you try and get 20-25 kids into their snow gear for recess, then lunch, then to go home. Plus the removal of snow gear (to be hung up so it drys and you can wear it again) in the morning, after recess and lunch. There are lost mitts, mismatched boots, cold/wet clothes, tears sometimes. It is a joy! Certainly cuts into education time to get everyone ready! Canadian here, lived in Northern BC where the snow stays on Halloween and the ground is thawed enough to plant at the end of May (but ground is usually pretty clear in April). A long, brutal season!

  • John

    Hey just stumbled into this article. Great read. I just thought i would share this since we have had so many parents wanting our snowsuits because the zipper on the back allows for easy access and quick pees on the mountain. Also one of the most dreaded things as a parent is when all the sleeves of a suit drag along the floor. I almost puke every time and then knowing that i have to put the suit back on is enough to make you sick and sad knowing you are just zipping them up again. Anyways just thought this might be a nice little life hack for all you parents out there.

    All the best!