The snowplow came right after I finished clearing the driveway, and my 3-year-old complained his eyeballs were cold when we hurried into Target, and my favorite pair of yoga pants got salt all over them because the dog chewed up my new Sorel boots, and I forgot my coffee at home, and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. 

My kids saw the Frozen 2 aisles and had a meltdown because they wanted the giant stuffed Olaf. I considered buying it since $49 seemed like a reasonable price tag for 10 minutes of sanity. My 1-year-old kept licking the cart handle, and my 3-year-old peed his pants, and somehow my daughter pulled off one snow boot while I was browsing the dollar spot and I never found it. 

“Next week,” I said, “we’re moving to Florida. Or at least Missouri.”

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The automatic start on my van quit working, so I buckled my kids into the subzero-icebox-on-wheels and headed to McDonald’s to pump them full of carbs and fake chicken all because there’s a PlayPlace and really good iced coffee, and I can sit and read my book in the corner and pretend not to hear them while they scream at each other because one kicked the other one down the slide. The other moms didn’t even judge me. They just kept sipping their coffee and scrolling on their phones in an act of solidarity. 

It’s too cold to go outside to play. Everybody everywhere is sick with everything. I now consider activities based on an elaborate mathematical equation, in which we go if the probability that my kids will get Influenza B from the plastic ball pit is less than the probability that all I’ll end up doing at home is yelling at them to love each other and keep their hands to themselves. Usually, we go and I bathe them in hand sanitizer afterward. 

RELATED: To the Germ Slayers Who Battle Our Winter Crud, Thank You

For dinner my pot roast was dry, and it’s never dry, and the gravy was lumpy, and my kids kept whining about being alive, and my husband asked me how our day was. When I told him I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day he said, “I’m so sorry, honey,” and then asked if he could go ice fishing this weekend. I said sure, take the kids and leave me with wine.  

My 1-year-old colored on the wall with crayon, and I pretended like I didn’t see it for 10 minutes because at least she was occupied. My 3-year-old kept singing “Jingle Bells” at the top of his lungs even though it’s almost March. Bedtime was a battle. I only survived because it wasn’t long before I could flip on Netflix and eat a tub of ice cream. I checked the weather and–shocker–it’s still winter tomorrow. 

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It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. 

My mom says some days are just like that. 

Especially when it’s winter in Minnesota.

Inspired by Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Vorst. 

Previously published on the author’s blog

Jill Smith

Jill is a stay-at-home mom to two toddlers and bonus mom to a teenager. Her days are spent drinking too much coffee, stepping on LEGOs, and convincing her 3-year-old there are other food groups besides chicken nuggets. You can find her at or on Facebook @graceonrepeat.