Now is the winter of my discontent
I THINK I’m suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
What seems to be a lifetime ago, in the summer, I was pretty happy. But with the weather getting colder and the days getting shorter I am, by the hour, getting SAD.
These are the winter blues you get when you wake up and suddenly remember you don’t live in California. The symptoms are feeling tired, overeating and bad mood which, in my experience, can also sometimes be the symptoms of parenting which might suggest I have SAD all year round.
When you’ve got children, winter is not a season – it’s a full time job. You know how we seem to forget all of the agony of childbirth, because if we remembered then we’d never do it again? Well it’s the same with winter.
I don’t mind, at first, it getting darker and colder - like my brain has released some kind of anaesthetic that numbs how horrible it is. I think I could cope with another birth in the way that I always think that winter isn’t a major pain too.
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Every year I forget just what a nightmare winter is when you’re a parent. If I recalled the arguments about wearing warm clothes, lost gloves, frost on the car, the whining, the snot, sore skin, slipping on the ice, snowballs, the boiler breaking, coughs, the schools closing then I think I’d have emigrated to California long ago.
I overlook the fact that sometimes I spend 24 hours trying to persuade my children to put on their coats. It slips my mind that every winter no less than FIFTEEN pairs of gloves grow legs and walk away without anybody noticing. Every morning there’s a mad dash to melt the frost of the car windscreen.
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But it’s all coming back to me rapidly.
It started with Halloween and the stress of trick or treating in the freezing rain. It progressed with Bonfire Night and my fear of sparklers in the hands of my children.
Almost daily I struggle to get them to wear something other than a T-shirt, even when I threaten to wear no clothes when they have friends over.
It’s been building up with the 749 times a day they mention the ‘C’ word and can we please buy a tree. And the lost gloves. Always the lost gloves. I have already visited The Glove Man three times and every time I see pound signs flashing in his eyes. The reason he works the market only in the winter is because, the rest of the time, he’s spending the money earned from me.
I do get a little thrill when the nights get darker and I can trick the kids into thinking bedtime is earlier than what it really is. When the snow starts falling, we all get excited even though it takes 20 minutes to get ready to go outside then seconds for the kids to complain that they’re cold.
Sometimes, I don’t really mind a ‘snow day’ because I get to stay in bed instead of stressing about the heating in the car.
The truth is, there really is nothing wrong with me. It’s just the onset of winter and having such rubbish winter clothes. I can’t believe I’m doing the school run in last year’s coat.
Anyway, I can’t change the winter so I’m attempting to change my attitude towards it - embracing the coldness by hibernating in front of the telly and drinking mulled wine.
What has also helped to change my attitude is that I just looked up SAD on the internet. I typed SADS by mistake, which turned out to stand for Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome. As soon as I realised that I don’t have this, I felt much better.