For everything I love about wintertime, there's one thing I hate, and that's negotiating coats, gloves, hats, and scarves with squirmy toddlers. Whenever we set foot outside, I prepare myself for at least 10 minutes of layering - nine of which are spent attempting to get their individual fingers into the individual slots of tiny gloves before just telling them to keep their hands in their coat pockets.
The reason for all this effort isn't even entirely for their safety and comfort. Sure, if we're going to the park to play in the snow, I want them to be warm. But I have found myself also going through this routine in parking lots, less than 20 feet from the heated building we're about to go into . . . all because I want to avoid the judgmental eyes of complete strangers.
Another mom must have sensed my frustration because she had my back with a wintertime PSA she posted on Facebook last week. Nicky Campbell's now-viral post, directed to those who hadn't "had a baby in the last five-ish years," implores some understanding to those of us who have:
If you're out and about and see a parent with a baby/toddler who isn't wearing a coat, pleeeeease don't assume that parent is some kinda monster who doesn't care if their kids freeze.
New car seat guidelines avidly warn against children wearing coats in car seats - and this makes it really challenging for caregivers (particularly those with multiple small children) to get kids out of the house then in the car then out of the car again and into the destination.
Seriously, it's chaos. And since there's not a great commercial product to solve this issue yet, everyone comes up with their own solutions. Some use blankets. Some use lots of warm layers/hats/gloves. Some (God bless them) do the coat-shuffle at every stop and decided their kid would survive the 12-second walk from the car into Best Buy without the bubble coat.
So what I'm saying is, cut parents some slack. We're trying. And we're doing everything we can to make sure our kids are warm while maintaining what's left of our sanity.
So if you're like me and Nicky here, and you have found yourself spending more time layering your kid up (often while outside because of car seat safety regulations that force us to wrangle toddler outerwear in a cramped, dimly lit parking space) than the time you are actually planning to be outside, stay strong.
And the next time someone tells you what you should be doing, ask them if they'd like to try putting a glove on your 2-year-old's clenched fist.