[00:00:10] Speaker A: Welcome to Carpool Q and A, where we give you one conversation on one topic in about 15 minutes to get you ready for the whole rest of your day. I'm JD Wilson. I'm here with Becca McKay. Antona Odinger, and it's my turn to bring your question today. This is much more of a personal.
This is coming from a personal place. We are coming out of being stuck in our homes for what feels like eternity.
If you are elsewhere in the world, particularly in the US, you probably make fun of the southern United States when it snows, because everything shuts down. And that has happened for us in Memphis, Tennessee, specifically, what comes with a giant arctic freeze and snow. And all of that usually is also a boil water advisory, which is. Loves it. It's their favorites. And so you get to play supermarket sweep, but driving on ice to go get all the things you need and fight people for bottled water and all of that. So we're coming out of that. And the reason that I bring that up is whether it's the pits of summer or depths of winter or spring break, fall break, a lot of times when our kids are in a regular routine, when our families are in a regular routine, and that routine gets abruptly interrupted in the Wilson house, one thing happens that's that mom and dad want to lay in bed and watch tv all day and ignore the rest of the world. And we can't do that. So what are some fun ways that you have found or that we have used in the past or that we would advocate for to help both maintain connections and boundaries? And then maybe some fun inside things you can do when you are just stuck because of weather or other circumstances in your home for a prolonged period of time.
[00:01:52] Speaker B: I mean, I just want to say I feel so felt right now because this is in no way, shape or form. Am I trying to trump you, JD? That's not my heart at all. I just feel like it might be important to advocate for myself a little bit because we had the holidays, and then we creeped into January, and then our house got.
So we were home with COVID for a week, and then Snowmageddon, as I'm now calling it, hit. And now I have a kid that's working through some other health stuff. We literally have been. I left the house one day before the snow came because I hadn't been out of my home in three weeks.
[00:02:35] Speaker A: Laughing at, like I told mo, I.
[00:02:38] Speaker B: Was like, I need to go on a little drive if I'm going to be like, I just need you to take me on a know and then I got in the car and drove after the ice melted and thought, I don't think I've driven in a month.
So I've just been calling it hibernating.
We've just been hibernating over here at our house. So it's a real thing. And I do think about our northern friends and listeners who do have a different way of life with the snow. And the winters probably seem really long and there's a lot of darkness and it is just a whole different rhythm. So I love this question.
[00:03:14] Speaker A: There's also snow plows and salt trucks.
[00:03:17] Speaker B: There are.
One of our young kids saw something driving down the road. They were like, what is that? I was like, that is one of Memphis's. I think we have three snowplows in.
[00:03:25] Speaker A: The whole city of Memphis.
[00:03:26] Speaker B: I was like, that's one of the snowplows, kids. Everybody run to the window. That's a snowplow.
[00:03:32] Speaker C: Anyway, there's so few that they voted on names. The snowplows in Memphis all have a name that was voted on because there's. So it's.
It's a really good question, JD, and I think there's a difference if you know it's coming or if you don't. So I think if you know it's coming, you can do a little bit of planning ahead and you can think through, like if we're talking about abruptly changing routine because it's going to be spring break, then I think a lot of times parents don't plan ahead and then they feel annoyed because they're like, why can't you just chill? And the kid is used to having structure for 8 hours a day and now all of a sudden they have zero structure. And so I think just planning a little bit of structure can go a long way of like in the morning we're going to have reading time and then we're going to have outside time and then we're going to do an activity with our friends, like having a tiny bit of structure when you can plan ahead. I think it's harder whenever it is snow mcdonald or it's sickness or it's whatever, and that's happening abruptly. And so, I mean, so many directions you could go, but I would say the first thing is. You mentioned it, JD. I just want to lay in bed and watch tv. The first thing you have to do is just change your expectations. When stuff shuts down unexpectedly, when there's a sick day, when there's a snow day, change your expectations. My job is now cruise director of this snow day.
And I don't want that to be my job, but if I can shift that perspective, I think that that can help, because if your mindset is, oh, this is my time to relax, then that just creates more resentment and bitterness.
I also want to mention, as was the case for us, those of us that work virtually, we have to balance. We still have to do our jobs, which, you know, we're not alone in that. A lot of people in the US now and across the world work virtually. So a snow day or a sick day doesn't always mean, like, if your kid is homesick, doesn't always mean that you're not still doing things. So it's that balance of structure and nurture is the principle that I would highlight, like finding ways to balance that if it's expected or unexpected.
[00:05:39] Speaker B: Yeah, I like you talking about the mindset shift.
[00:05:41] Speaker C: You know what?
[00:05:42] Speaker B: It's ringing true that somewhere early in parenting, we switched our language and it really could be that simple around going on a trip. When we started having kids, we're like, we're going on vacation. And I was like, oh, hold up. That is not what is happening. If there are children in tow, we are going on a trip with our children. We are not going on vacation.
Man, it just changed everything for Mo and I. We really started thinking, oh, this is a family trip. So we are the cruise directors of this trip. I don't need to expect to be on vacation and feel recovered and rested when we get done with this moment.
I think that is very true of, like, parenting through some sort of shift in schedule is not downtime. In fact, it often takes more of us than running the regularly scheduled activities because we're out of sorts, they're out of sorts, that kind of thing.
Usually just to do super brass tax. Usually what happens here is I'm turning on ambient lighting in the house. I'm lighting all the candles when it's cold. I'm turning on the fireplace. I'm setting up a hot chocolate bar. I'm actually putting out some, like, I'm putting some energy into making home feel warm and cozy. I might wash the blankets in the den so they smell fresh. I know this is silly, but I really do like to nest and do some of those things. The board games are coming out of the closet.
We got on a mo, and, I mean, our family is always in transition based on who's living at the house at the time or who's home. But this particular snowmageddon, our son Finn and he wouldn't care if I share this. He's our new board game buddy. He loves them. He's super competitive. He likes it. So we had an epic all week long game of rummy cube going. It was just Mo and I and Finn, and that's what we did with him. And we probably played three or four quick rummy cube games throughout the day. So he might be off in his room zooming with friends. And I'm working, and Mo's working, and may is doing something else, and we're just like, finn game. And we all run to the den, play a game, and then go back to what we were doing. And so it's just putting in that little bit of effort. And it was like we said, we're going to play this until we have to go back to real life. And whoever has the least amount of points that day wins the whole epic battle of rummy cube.
Small example, but it's taking a little initiative to give them some places of connection. For May, it was different. Mo and may watch whatever basketball game was on or like for her. She wanted to be snuggled up with dad watching a sports game whenever he there. I think it really depends on the kid and what they need.
[00:08:43] Speaker A: I will say for us, Elizabeth works a mile away from our house, and I have four wheel drive, so it was fine enough for me on the roads to get her over to work and come back to the house. She does interior design, so she can't really do that remotely. So when I get back to the house, one of the things that we talked about was just front loading the day with some structure and then the screen time and all that kind of stuff, which is what everybody wants in a day like that. Our main sledding buddy was out. He had gone with friends out of town ahead of the snow, and so nobody was really clamoring to get out in the three degree weather and sled. And it's Memphis. That's flat. So we would kind of say, hey, here's two or three things need to get taken care of. As soon as that's taken care of, you guys can have screen time until. And we would set a natural barrier that didn't feel like it had to be a punishment. Like, hey, I tell you what, we got these three things to do, and then y'all can have some screen time until lunch, and then we'll do lunch, then we'll do some afternoon chores, and then we're going to go. Either we'll go ride to target and pick up something, or we'll do. So that gave me these long blocks of time where I could be working, doing stuff. They can be working on the homework and stuff they've got to do during the week. Then they get a time they can chill for a little bit. And then I knew that one of our kids in particular needed sensory input throughout that time. So when we were breaking for lunch, it was get on the little sliding. Now I forgot what it's called, little sliding. Know. And use those little squigs to computer boards or whatever. Yeah. Pull yourself down the hallway, which is a game Elizabeth loves to play with her. So doing that for a minute, then there's this silly, I mean, from when they were toddlers, it's a pogo stick, but it's just a little foam kind of rubbery block and stretchy band that they can jump on. It's in no way made for a child that is her size, like anymore, but she will just bounce all around the house and that thing. So after doing that for four or five minutes, she's like equaled back out again, regulated, locked in. So I would say, I think whatever you need, it does require expectation shifts and then a quick plan to get put in place. And for us, we've got to have some structure that's front loaded or else the battles begin. If it's like, I tell you what, no, you can have screen time now, but we're going to have to work later.
[00:11:02] Speaker B: I agree. I think that even if it's loose, if it's a flexible, loose schedule and communicating that in advance, setting up expectations, sticking with it. I mean, I love the idea. You said, I'd forgotten there were a couple of days and I'm like, hey guys, we're going to go exercise. And we don't use our garage as an outside garage. We use it as part of an extension of our house. So let's go to the garage and we're going to exercise or do the treadmill or do jump rope or even toss the ball back and forth. So we needed to use our bodies and get some movement in. So whatever scenario you have, I think it's important to think about making sure physical movement needs are being met in a way that promote regulation and their ability to comply with whatever is next.
So I like that. A little schedule, little fun.
I think you can minimize transitions like you said, those natural breaks. But then I think also you can have fun moments like we would do. It's like, hey, Romney. Cube. Cube.
Just letting some of that be fun. I think so. It really is about the tone you set, the headspace you're in. Switching your know, lots of watched. We let our younger kids watch their first one of the marvel movies. So that felt really special. So laying like a few core memories in to those times and then getting your work done or whatever else you got to do.
[00:12:35] Speaker A: Yeah, good question.
[00:12:36] Speaker C: And just remembering to give each other a lot of grace because you might wake up on a snowy day and be like, this is the best day ever. But whoever's in your house might be annoyed or sad or you mentioned Tana, they might not be feeling well. Like somebody in your house might not be feeling very well. And so also just giving space for different people to have a different experience in your house. So I want to have a Monday rolling in the snow. That doesn't mean that everybody in my house has to do that with me. For me to do that, I want to have a cozy day. That doesn't mean that someone can't get energy out in a fun way. So just, like, allowing people to meet their needs in a time when that's a little bit harder because you get a little snippy with people, you get a little annoyed, just extend that grace to each other.
[00:13:22] Speaker B: I love that perspective.
[00:13:23] Speaker C: Becca.
[00:13:24] Speaker B: Fun doesn't have to be the same for.
[00:13:27] Speaker A: Yeah, yeah.
[00:13:28] Speaker B: I really appreciate that perspective.
[00:13:30] Speaker A: My last thing, and then, you know, we can cut out in a second. My last thing would just be the age old, like, get your own mask on before you help other people with their mask. So what are you going to need when you're having that expectation shift? What is one doable thing that you can give yourself or that you and your spouse, whoever you're parenting with at home?
What can you guys give to each other? What can you guys do? What concessions can be made early so that you all have what you need to take on the day? And so for us, that was definitely working out a schedule to exercise alone, like, to do something without there being, hey, can you turn that off? Or, hey, that's bother me or this is too louder. How long are you going to be in here? So we were able to do that, and that was one small win in that time. And then what are some wins we can give to the kids that are out of the ordinary? So if we are going to have to have this week, that's totally thrown off. And we stayed up so late with them, like, let our kids stay up so late watching did too.
[00:14:30] Speaker B: JD. We were so did.
[00:14:34] Speaker A: And they rewarded us by sleeping. Well, three of the four sleeping in pretty any last thoughts, guys, on this?
[00:14:44] Speaker B: One thing you just said that I think it sparked something in me, is when it snowed here, I knew we were in for the long haul. Like, I knew it was going to be days and days and days. And I knew that the fun for the kids would wear off.
So I did want to read a book. There was a book I really wanted to read. I started reading it on day one.
[00:15:03] Speaker A: Oh, that's good.
[00:15:04] Speaker B: Because I knew I wasn't probably going to. And I did. I read it in the first two days and then I was like, oh, I got to read that book over the snowbreak. If I had tried to read that book at the end of the week, it wouldn't have worked because they really were done and we were all kind of done. So I like that idea of thinking ahead enough to make sure you are prioritizing some of your own wants in a way that actually you might be able to get them in. So I just had that little thought I knew, and I intentionally did it. I was like, there's a book I want to read. I'm not going to be able to read this in a week when we're all literally pulling our hair out. But right now, they're very happy in their room today on day one.
[00:15:44] Speaker A: Great thought. Awesome. Well, thanks, y'all, and we'll see you next time on Carl. More Q and A.