Rain, rain, go away, come again another day. We all heard this song when we were little, and we’ve used it a thousand and one times to keep our children ‘busy’ on rainy days. But what do you do after a week of rainy days?
After three days, your Magic Eraser has stopped erasing the crayon marks off the walls, and the pillow fort has been under siege since the end of day one. The natives are growing more and more restless; they’ve got all this pent-up energy and nowhere to release it. You took them to the library the first day, and that went okay, but now the idea of taking them out anywhere makes your heart race. The little monsters will probably tear the place apart.
There are only so many ‘age-appropriate’ movies and shows on Netflix. After a few days of rainy, indoor activities, you’ve decided to stop fighting a losing battle. It’s time to watch Stranger Things and let the chips fall as they may. The rain can’t last forever, can it?
That afternoon, you find them sitting at the window with the dog, and their little eyes look back at you and say, “Please?” What do you do?
The choice is easy. It’s time to gear up and go splash in puddles. As someone who grew up in a cold, wet place, I’ll tell you that there is no such thing as bad weather: if you’ve got the right clothing.
Paddington Bear doesn’t wear his coat and hat to make a fashion statement. He wears it because he knows that rain happens, and when it does, he doesn’t want it to spoil his fun.
I know that your little ones are precious, and you want to protect them from everything bad in the world, including the wet and the cold. But, hey… just remember, they aren’t going to melt. Children are covered in a water-resistant layer called skin that withstands the horrors of bathwater and swimming pools. What’s a little rain? You played in the rain when you were a kid, and you made it out just fine.
The trick is to make sure that your little loves are prepared for the inclement weather. Make a list. On a cold day, you’ll need a raincoat for sure. Their cotton zip-up is not going to keep them dry. A rain hat is unnecessary if the raincoat has a hood, but it definitely couldn’t hurt. The most important thing is to keep the head and torso dry. Arms and legs can fend for themselves.
Sturdy, warm footwear is a must. Galoshes are preferred for good puddle stomps, but if you’ve got some tough shoes that are scheduled for the garbage soon, those will work just fine. You can make those the rain shoes until you can get the real deal.
Rainy days don’t have to be miserable shut-in days. They have the potential to create wonderful memories. You may not want to stay out in it all day, but an hour or so a day won’t kill anybody. Kids love to splash around and get messy. They love it, even more, when mom gets out there with them. Not only is it a good idea for you to go out with your children to monitor them, but they love it when you get involved in play. You are who they look to for all of life’s lessons.
If rainy day fun is new for them, they will need your guidance. They may need some extra encouragement to get out there. New things can be scary. As a mom, you wear a LOT of hats. You are the caregiver, the disciplinarian, the housekeeper, and the teacher/role model, to name a few. As a role model, you want to teach your children how to live their best lives. In many instances, this will mean taking on new challenges and how to overcome adversity.
While playing in the rain is a great way to get out excess energy, it can also be used as a metaphor for conquering new challenges and adapting to the world that we live in. Life will throw rainy days at our children, and as moms, it’s essential to teach our kids that it’s okay to get wet every once in a while.
As they take on life’s challenges and discover the joy of mud, you will also learn a valuable lesson. Independence goes both ways. For them to find theirs, you must be strong and find comfort in having your own again. Go out and play with them. Show them the ropes, but then give them the time to find their footing in this new world. You don’t always have to be just over their shoulder. They will slip, and they will fall. Life happens. They need to learn how to deal with it and know that you will be there for all the scraped knees and bruised elbows.
When they finally come inside after a day of watery exultation, be ready with the towels. Strip off the wet clothes, bundle the kids in the towels, throw the clothes in the washer, and hustle to a warm tub. When they get out, have a cup of warm cocoa or some hot chicken soup and prepare for an afternoon snuggled up on the couch.
When they’re sound asleep from all the day’s exhaustion, give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it. You made it through a challenging stage of motherhood. These will be some of their most cherished memories. I hope you had your phone with you to capture all the best moments. Next time, they’ll be so excited to go splashing in puddles.