I despise cold weather. Despite being a native Kansan, where winters can be frigid, I have never enjoyed bone-chilling cold or early nightfalls. And for years, I have refused to think anything positive about winter. When friends proclaim their excitement over wearing boots and sweaters, I give them a dirty look and crank up the thermostat.
Last week, I read a post that might just convince me to change my mind. Anne Bogel over at Modern Mrs Darcy shared a link to an article on how Nordic countries embrace winter. It boils down to a few points:
- Enjoy what can be done only in cold weather.
- Get cozy with people you love.
- Open your eyes to the unique beauty of winter.
It means changing your mindset. Instead of viewing winter as a brutal experience, we can see it as the opportunity to ski or sled, enjoy hot drinks all day long, revel in the sensation of wool sweaters, and cozy up indoors with family and friends.
We have to change the story we tell ourselves - that winter is not just something to endure. And that is true for a lot of things in life - mothering a toddler, working a difficult job, living on a strict budget. I often choose to focus on the difficulty of my situation, and ignore what makes the season beautiful and life-giving.
I have found this especially relevant to motherhood. Too often I agonize over challenges of parenting a toddler - shopping in public, eating dinner without half of it ending up on the floor, Declan throwing a tantrum when I tell him he can't put his blanket in the dish washer. But this means that my mind is constantly focused on the "suffering" of the moment. I believe the story of this season is - "being a mother is hard, and I just have to get through the next few years."
But what happens if I decide to change the inner monologue from defeat to joy? I can choose to change my mindset about the season I'm living in - to enjoy what can only be done in the toddler years, cherish the unique closeness and dependence my son will never again have with me, and to see the beauty in these brief years of childhood. Yes, there are hard things about parenting little ones (and about cold winter nights). But the difficulty doesn't have to be the only storyline I'm following.
Whether winter or motherhood, I'm not a victim of the season. I have the choice of how I will experience it. I hope I can choose to see beauty instead of only hardship.
And if you see me complaining about cold weather, feel free to toss this blog post back in my face. I welcome the accountability.
And I would still love to hear any recommendations on how to love the season you're in.