It’s cold. Not December cold, February cold. Most days usher in a negative whatever-degrees windchill. It doesn’t matter what it is exactly because at some point it’s simply freezing beyond freezing.

Somehow, we still haven’t remembered that leaving the house requires warming up the car and scraping ice for 15 minutes, so we have embraced the fact that we are late each morning. We’ve hit the time of year where it’s difficult to justify not putting coats on the kids to go to and from the car, even though they aren’t allowed to wear them in their car seats. This adds another five minutes to every outing. Who am I kidding? Ten minutes.

The tea parties have been had, villains captured, LEGOs built, every hiding place in the house used up, and we could wallpaper entire buildings with all the artwork that’s been made. Turns out those Pinterest winter bucket lists only last through mid-January, at best.

At this point, you may be feeling guilty about the amount of time your children have spent with Netflix, the number of times you’ve hidden in the bathroom with your phone, or the fact that you are 1000% out of ideas for entertainment.

Maybe you need to hear that you are a good mama and that everyone else is feeling the same way. If that’s the case and you feel like a hot mess even though it’s frigid outside, this is my February-is-the-Actual-Worst encouragement for you:

Your kids know you love them. They really do.

Before plastic was invented, children played with sticks and they all survived. I’m kidding, I’m sure there were toys. But nothing like we have today. No indoor play places with every germ this side of heaven, no libraries with computers and craft stations, and no “paint your own ceramic mug for $97” stores. Hear me again: everyone was fine back in the day. They all made it. No one died of boredom.

During the “play with sticks” days though, I guarantee that if parents had the option of Netflix they would have used it. So you aren’t any worse than the “play with sticks” parents, okay?

Every other mom is not making homemade, Pinterest-worthy Valentine’s Day cards. I know this because I for sure used store-bought ones. (Remember: The “play with sticks” parents did not even have Pinterest. They made Valentine’s cards out of pine needles and sap. It’s all good.)

It’s OK to say, “I need a few mommy minutes. Please play by yourself.”

It’s perfectly fine that your house is a wreck because that is where everyone is spending nearly every second of every day while it’s negative 756 degrees outside.

Same goes for your car.

Everyone is sick, not just your kids. I mean this. No one has allergies right now—it’s all illnesses and gunk. Bathe everyone in hand sanitizer and hope for the best.*

Your kids know you love them. (It was worth repeating.)

February, although the shortest month, is actually the longest and worst. This is a scientific fact. But mamas, we will make it. We will survive because we are strong, we are creative, we are resourceful, and most of all, because we know the hiding spots in our house our kids haven’t yet figured out. Let’s do this, mamas (and please hurry up, Spring)!

A mama in the trenches, too

*Disclaimer: Do not actually bathe your kids in hand sanitizer. Just regular soap. Like the stick parents did. See? We’re the same as them, and our kids will be OK if they have to play by themselves or be bored for a bit.

Courtney Boulware

Courtney Boulware lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children, and enjoys library book sales, reading, college football, binge-watching The Office, and anything chocolate. She also pretends to enjoy working out (yay fitness!). Courtney blogs with her sister-in-law at