Family life

6 cabin-fever-busting secrets from a SAHM

Seven days of solo parenting has Jennifer finding new ways to soothe frayed nerves

By Jennifer Pinarski
6 cabin-fever-busting secrets from a SAHM

Photo by Perry Moore via Flickr

Is anyone else having a roller coaster week? I know we are only halfway through, but this week feels as though it has been dragging on forever (my scientific survey on Facebook confirmed it). Both of my children are battling colds, miss their travelling father terribly and have cabin fever. Unfortunately, the yards and play structures are ice-covered, making our usual "burn-off-steam" outdoor play dangerous. So when they do get solid, non-slippery ground under their feet (like grocery store aisles) they tear around like maniacs. At home we’ve exhausted every board game and toys and the kids have resorted to teasing and tormenting each other. Gillian says perfectly, “He’s bugging me” — no small feat for a two-year-old to string together those words.
So I find myself yelling more than usual. And it makes all of us sad. 
But today I tried my hardest not to get angry when there were huge messes to clean up or fights to break up. Instead I pulled a few tricks out of my hat that got all of us laughing. Give them a try when you’re feeling frazzled. Best of all, they are either low cost or no cost at all!
Tickle fights
There is no better sound than a child laughing. Even at their grouchiest, they can’t resist a good tickle. When I’m grouchy, Mr. P turns this one on me — and it always busts me out of the slump I’m in.
Blowing bubbles
We blow bubbles indoors this time of year. We also bought a tube of bubbles that magically (using some weird chemical that I’m sure isn’t safe to ingest) harden in the air so the kids can catch them. We’ll get several wands going at the same time, for bubbles that pop and bubbles that harden, just to keep the kids guessing.
Klezmer dance party throwdown
When Isaac was a newborn the only music that would settle him down was Romanian Gypsy brass and Klezmer. Fanfare Cioc?rlia and the Cracow Klezmer band were some of our early favourites and the Toronto-based Lemon Bucket Orkestra is now our house band. So we crank the Klezmer and bust out the crazy dancing — including a few breakdancing moves that Isaac learned last year in school. Trust me, even just a few seconds of Klezmer will put a smile on your face.
Water gun fights
This morning I left the kids to play on their own while I brought my third load of laundry upstairs from the basement. It was 9:00 a.m. and already three loads of laundry. I was grouchy. Imagine my surprise when the two of them pelted me with water guns when I got upstairs! It led to a 10 minute chase and squirt hoopla that had us all in stitches. (While I’m sure that I won’t always like it when my kids collaborate behind my back, at two and five it’s adorable when they work together).
Dart gun fights
See above. Just as much fun, but you don’t have to put your clothes in the laundry afterwards.
For less than a dollar, you can buy a huge bag of balloons. I bet you even have balloons left over from the last birthday party you hosted. From making funny sounds, staticy hair, blowing them up and letting them loose without tying them and, my personal favourite, balloon dodgeball. My kids adore balloons.
What do you do to bust your family out of a slump?
Photo by Perry Moore Photography via Flickr 
This article was originally published on Feb 08, 2012

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