When the polar vortex makes it a pain to take small children anywhere but you’re dying to get out of the house/have to return library books/need some bananas, pile in the car with a friend and her kids and do errands together.
It was amazing.
How it Worked
My friend and her two kids picked up me and my two kids. We put on tolerable kids’ songs. We drove through Starbucks; the kids got hot chocolates, I had my first sugary drink in over a month.
Then we went to the library. I got out. Alone. I picked up the books I had on reserve, browsed for a minute, then left.
Meanwhile, my friend drove our kids across the street to the police stations to meet a real, live police officer. She had him explain the importance of seat-belts and remaining in seats to our little big girls (who, in their excitement to be in the “way back” together, had been demonstrating a need for this reinforcement).
She picked me up at the library and then it was off to the grocery. I shopped for both of us while she drove through the car-wash, which the kids thought was fantastic.
Then we sang a few rounds of “The Wheels on the Bus” on our way home.
Why it Was So Fantastic
It only took about two hours and it was such a bright spot in my day. The kids had fun, my friend and I checked off some errands, and we all got out of the house for a bit. And we got to spend time with friends we love in a really low-maintenance way.
And let’s be honest: going places with small children in winter rarely feels low-maintenance.
I realize this wouldn’t work with two large families, but as long as I can work out the numbers of friends to seat-belts, I’m going to keep this idea on my list of ways to stay sane in winter.
(And frankly, if I didn’t have much room in my car, I’d probably ask a college student friend or favorite babysitter along. I’d enjoy some adult conversation, my kids would love hanging with a new person, and I’d still be able to run into the library by myself).
It’s nothing brilliant, really, just doing mundane tasks with friends. But on a cold winter’s day when daddy was traveling, it felt pretty brilliant to me.
How do you stay sane during a long winter?