1. DO get out of the house at least once a day. DON’T forget extra gloves, scarves, hats, and socks. These items will inevitably fall off, get soaked, or be “too scratchy.”
2. DO continue wearing maternity clothes rather than squishing into jeans that make you feel lightheaded. If you’re lucky your Grandmother even bought you more for Christmas (even though you’re nearly seven months postpartum) because you’re “wearing things a bit larger these days, yes?” DON’T feel bad about putting on a little “holiday cheer,” or keeping your “baby weight” especially if you have kids that keep you up all night and you never have time to exercise. It’s cold and at least you’re well-insulated.
3. DO stock up on booze before a snow-mergency trip to the liquor store sends you across town in a blizzard trying to find somewhere that’s open. DON’T (or try not to) drink it before 9 AM.
4. DO exercise at any given opportunity. Not to “get your body back” but to keep you from losing your shit twenty-billion times a day. DON’T take your toddler to Mommy and Me yoga and expect to actually do yoga. You will get a workout but it will be from chasing your wee one across the room for 45 minutes straight. You’ll be lucky if you get a chance to do one chaduranga and you will leave way too stressed for your own good.
5. DO find friends in the neighborhood and get them to invite your kids over for the entire afternoon. DON’T spend the entire time worrying about them while they’re there.
6. DO let your kids “entertain themselves” whenever possible. DON’T let them entertain themselves with permanent markers, power tools or anything that can’t be vacuumed or bleached.
7. DO try to embrace your life’s choices. DON’T look at the photos from your child-free friends most recent bar crawl, tailgate or spur of the moment, all-inclusive 10 day trip to Barbados.
8. DO find a playgroup that meets weekly and does not require you bring anything besides your kids, your ginormous diaper bag and all the other crap that leaving the house requires these days. DON’T commit to it too heavily or show up tipsy, at least until you get a feel for the general vibe.
9. DO make use of your crock pot. It’s really just throwing ingredients into a cylinder and clicking it on. But DON’T take Papa Johns off your speed dial, either.
10. DO turn on Angelina Ballerina whenever you are sure you’re going to run far, far away. DON’T feel bad about screen time. Feel good about not running far, far away.
12. DO take snowy walks. DON’T try to push a stroller through it. You will derail (both literally and figuratively) and end up in a snowbank.
13. DO take deep breaths. DON’T worry too much if your house smells like cat puke. As long as nobody rolled in it.
14. DO find an amazing babysitter that your kids adore. DON’T give anyone else his/her phone number. Keep that shit on lockdown.
15. DO build snowmen and women, engage in snowball fights, make snow angels and try to find your inner child. DON’T worry if you can’t find your inner child because it’s really freaking cold and miserable and how was this ever fun?
16. DO drink eggnog with pretty much any liquor that’s laying around under the kitchen sink because, well, eggnog tastes good with anything. DON’T even try to count the calories in said eggnog. Just call it a zillion.
17. DO make a list of fun crafts to do with your kids. DON’T worry if it doesn’t look a damn thing like the photo on Pinterest. You know the kid didn’t actually make that.
18. DO drink lots and lots of water because it will help you feel cleansed, avoid hangovers and stave off winter bloat. DON’T try and do a juice cleanse now or ever for so many reasons.
19. DO have a spa day where you cover the kids faces in avacado, clip their mangy toenails, and sit in the bathtub as long as they let you, which will be four minutes if you’re lucky. DON’T fall asleep and dream you are actually in Barbados with the twenty-four year old surfing instructor with surfer abs and a man bun from your friends pictures that you accidentally breezed through against your better judgment AND my recommendation.
20. DO remember that snow will eventually melt, spring will come and you can once again open the doors, shoo everyone out and start drinking skinny margs out of your nalgene. DON’T, under any circumstances, count the days, hours or minutes until that time comes.