Let’s be real: if you are reading this and you are hibernating indoors, like me, with your thermostat on 71 degrees (okay, that may be too high…but the draft from my windows in my house is real), then you can understand me when I say: if I didn’t have family in Chicago, I wouldn’t be living here. And just to drive the point a little further: the daily temperature high is going to be -1 next Wednesday. Cali? How you doin’????
But moving on…we ARE here! And to put it simply, we have two ways of looking at things (this is true with all things in life actually): the glass is half full or half empty. Which one you choose, determines your life experience and how you feel throughout the day. And, don’t you
Well, if I’ve convinced you to come to my externally optimistic side of the world (most days), then we are looking for the silver lining right now…we are choosing our attitude today…we are living our best lives NOW…even with the cloudy sky, bitter cold and sidewalks full of thick snow. Oh, thanks icicles above my head from my top neighbor’s patio. I see ya! I’m still going to win this winter!
In my experience as a single mom, I’ve had to get real brave, on a lot of occasions. More than I’ve wanted, for sure. In this post, I’ll discuss how I’m now prepared for a Chicago winter and some tips and tools I’ve found recently. The first winter back wasn’t as cute. You’re welcome Walmart, for my late Thursday night run for hats, gloves, thermal gear, etc! Yup, just keep the (read: all) change! But, we learn from it all, don’t we? Cheers, to lapping results!
#1 Find a GOOD Snow Brush
Moms…confession…I had my old snow brush for over 10 years before I just upgraded. Truth-be-told, I wonder if I moved to New York and back to Chicago with it. ANYWAYS, the good news is I FINALLY invested in a new brush that takes a good 10-15 minutes off my “clean off the car” process. This is the difference between being on-time or late to a morning meeting…you know what I’m saying?? This brush was worth the extra money! I often like to save a dollar (or two) but it was money well invested. My favorite function of this new brush? The wide head in combination with the extendable arm that allows me to just push off all the snow on my hood in less than a minute. YES! Go get one!
#2 Don’t Leave Home Without a Shovel
Moms, I got tired of my car getting stuck in the snow when I was out and about. Actually, I got tired of my car getting stuck in the snow right outside my apartment building. The irritation is from not having a shovel to help myself in digging out my car. Thus, I would often be dependent on neighbors and strangers for help. Often times, it didn’t take that much work to actually dig my car out, I just needed a shovel. But who wants to carry around a heavy metal shovel? Not this mom! So, I was determined to find a solution…and I did! I found this wonder at Target and it’s plastic (read: lightweight) and extendable (note: won’t take up so much space in the trunk…because we need that for other kid stuff). This was the first step towards “leveling up” my winter life in the Windy City. Oh, and it’s only $10!!! We can “dig” that (pun intended).
#3 Mama Needs Snow-Pants Too!
Moms, for years, it was all about whether my kids had snow pants…and not the ones from last year which would totally be short on them. This year, I was like “whatever!” I don’t want my legs to freeze either! AND, if WE are playing in the snow (I’m there because someone needs to watch the kids)….isn’t one of us ill-prepared??? So, I started to do a little online shopping (which is all of my shopping…I try not to go into stores anymore). Here’s the pair that I got from Amazon and I was pleasantly surprised. I got some junk in my trunk (does anyone say that anymore?) and the pants actually fit nice around my hips and waist. There’s some elastic around the waistline that helps it to fit just right. Additionally, I’m taller than average and often times have to deal with short pants even before they touch the dryer and shrink. But these pants are the perfect length. Winning all-day! Come on moms, join the snow farmer club with me!
#4 Get a Good Pair of Snow Gloves
Adding to the complete snow-bunny outfit here, moms, please invest in a good pair of snow gloves. Yes, just like your kids. I don’t know why I tried to go cheap with myself for years…like, “it’s okay, I can use regular freebie gloves.” Then, when I’m trying to play with the kids outside or clean off the car, my hands are freezing and I’m ill-prepared for what’s in store. Enough! I said, “no more!” Again, similar to what I mentioned above, I like to save money (mostly because I have to) but I usually cut corners with myself and that sucks. This year, I decided to just splurge and get snow gloves that were over $20 – ouch. (Do you know what I can do with $20?) But, I kept telling myself…” it’s worth it.” And, I can confirm, this IS the only way to go. Don’t settle any longer. I can pick up snowballs faster than my kids now or carry all the grocery bags without worrying about my poor overworked hands. Check out the pair I bought on Amazon here.
#5 If Possible, Splurge on an Auto-Start System
I’m not going to lie, moms, this is like a dream come true – I just got an autostart system for my car. For real! Now, I know, everyone has had one for like 10 years (I’m exaggerating…I like to) but for me, I didn’t think it would come this soon. I mean, $200 is usually a make or break situation for me and my house (#singlemomproblems). But, with the love and kindness from a sweet and generous friend (wink for love), I got one before the season really hit hard. All I can say now is: life will never be the same (see, exaggeration, I like it). Clicking that little button on my keychain and warming up the car for 15 minutes before I actually leave the house, makes the (unwanted) departure from my warm home 10x better. I got my autostart system on sale at Best Buy and it’s been great. Put this on your birthday, Valentine’s Day, New Year’s gift list (yup, I just made up that last one…go with it).
Whatever you do moms, be safe. I learned, if I could stop my head from spinning with dishes, mops, and laundry, I could prepare myself for the winter season and decrease the amount of discomfort felt along the way. I’m wishing you luck this season. We are past the halfway mark (aren’t we? I’m gonna keep telling myself that) of winter and I know we can finish strong.
Do you have good tips and tools to share? Please comment below.