A Mom's Guide to Weatherproofing Your House
When you're a mom, a storm is so much more than just a reason to drive slower. Here's the ultimate guide to keeping your house, kids, pets, spouse, and everything else clean(ish) and safe when inclement weather hits.
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It doesn’t matter whether you live in sunny California or whether you endure gales, tornadoes, and storms every year, you need to make your home fit for the environment in which it is situated.
With the direction global warming is going, it looks like we're all going to be dealing with ridiculous and bizarre inclement weather, almost regardless of where we live.
From a mom's perspective, it's most important to consider how to keep our kids, pets, and house prepared for inclement weather. (Hubbies are usually, but not always, self-sustaining in this regard.)
This guide is separated into three sections, each dealing with a different one of these items.
Also, at the end, you get a free present, my life saving guide to literally hundreds of indoor activities you can do with your toddler.
Kids (Surprisingly Waterproof)
The biggest concerns most parents have about kids and inclement weather revolve around keeping them warm (and therefore not prone to illness) and keeping them entertained.
Tricking Your Kids Into Warmth
Count count to tell me tell me the most important thing about keeping your kids warm is having the right gear.
Unfortunately, just like the rest of us, kids are incredibly motivated by new stuff. Getting your kids to put on their jacket is much easier when they're excited about said jacket. I'm not saying to buy a whole new wardrobe, but if your kids get a token pair of mittens that they get to pick out at Target or at the dollar store, they will be a lot more amenable to donning the appropriate gear.
Also, if your kids are properly attired for the weather, they can partake in the fun bits of being cold. Jumping in puddles in the rain? Absolutely the best. Snowball fights? Definitely!
Keeping Your Kids Entertained Indoors (Read: Please Don’t Destroy My House)
This one is a constant challenge. You don't realize how much energy kids burn off in the amount of times they go outside throughout the day until you have them locked inside on a rainy day.
All the sudden, watching movies and doing crossword puzzles, and coloring goes from a fun break to absolute hell on Earth, and you have no idea how it happened.
My best piece of advice is to develop a stockpile of different activities that are dissimilar announced that they will feel like they're actually getting a change of pace.
If you go back and forth between coloring and painting and drawing all day, they'll feel like they did the same thing for 8 hours. If you alternate between sword fights with pool noodles, socks lighting competitions, and finger painting, they'll feel like they have the same diversification that they do when they get to go outside as a break.
I promised I would give you a life-saving guide, and I'm not kidding. When my sweet little baby turned into a toddlernado, began doing a crazy amount of internet research on all the different ways you could entertain one of these tiny human demon children indoors.
The resulting list is hundreds of items long, and will save your neck when you just want a minute of peace and quiet.
Pets (Unfortunately Still Need to Go to the Bathroom in the Rain)
I can really only opine about dogs here, as I have never owned a cat, but from what I’ve heard cats are mostly an inside deal, so I don’t feel like you’re missing out too much there.
For dogs, there are two major issues with inclement weather: bathroom time and walks.
Now, despite my years of living in NYC apartments, I’ve never been able to convince myself that wee wee pads were a sanitary option. Many swear by them, but I never drank the kool aid.
When it comes to letting your dogs out to do their business, the best way to do it is quickly and on a fairly regular schedule. Too much time goes by and you’ll be cleaning up a mess, but you don’t want to let them have their usual indoor-outdoor freedom or they’ll track a swimming pool of muddy paw water into your foyer.
Try regular outings to their “spot” or a regular bathroom area (something they know means “business”) about 20 minutes after each meal. This should maximize your success levels and minimize the time spent yelling “do your business” in a torrential downpour.
If you’re a finicky floor person like I am, I’ve found a dry “paw towel” by the door and a quick once-over on each paw as they come in makes a pretty big difference without creating too much extra work for you.
Finally, when it comes to walking the monsters, you can actually find creative inside alternatives.
Our furry beasts are ecstatic about indoor fetch, so twenty minutes of ball throwing down the hall and they’re out for the count as if they’d run a marathon. For those of you whose pooches aren’t big fetchers, you can unleash the kids on them for a game of “doggie tag” (i.e. run around like a NFL player on a psychotic break) or “doggie hide and seek”, which is the most fun game to watch ever. You basically hold the dogs while the kids hide and then let the dogs track the kids down. Giggling always ensues. It’s the best.
House (Expensive to Preemptively Maintain, Dastardly to Fix After the Fact)
This post is partially dedicated to my parents. Last year they came back from a trip to find their house six inches deep in runoff water from an exploded pipe, which had been sitting there undetected for the entirety of their trip and spawned a fun amount of black mold. (Spoiler alert: there is no amount of black mold that is fun.)
Nine months later they still haven’t gotten the clearance to move back in.
We can't always predict or control the weather. Actually, we can't ever control the weather.
We can, however, with a little bit of foresight, prepare are houses so that when a freak storm, or burst pipe, or polar vortex does appear, we are prepared for it and it falls into the category of “ mild inconvenience” not “total nightmare”.
The following tips are to make sure you’re prepared for whatever Mother Nature has to throw at you.
The roof of your home is an integral facet of the structure of your house. Without a solid roof, you will soon be forced to endure damp, excess moisture, and leaks. This can cause massive amounts of internal damage that could cost a small fortune to fix.
(And if you don’t believe me, you can ask my parents.)
Instead of waiting until your roof gets beyond repair, consider a program of maintenance. Every couple of months simply look up and take a look at the exterior of your roof and the interior from the eves.
To protect from hail damage you need a roof that isn’t bowing, with all tiles or slate intact and with no holes. If you notice any flaws, get a specialist out straight away to rectify the problem before your home becomes vulnerable to the elements.
The windows of your home are hugely important to climate control and keeping your home dry and weatherproof.
If your fascias are cracking or the seals of your glazing are letting in a draught, you may think that just whipping up the heating a bit more will suffice. By doing this, you won’t just be wasting money, but you’ll be risking the integrity of your home especially if you live in a storm risk area.
You need sound and secure double glazing to help with energy efficiency and to ensure that your home is watertight. The ferocity of many storms can dislodge those windows that are weak and make homes uninhabitable.
This can be a pricey item to fix, but it’s nothing compared to what you’ll have to pay if there’s ever water damage.
Check Your Foundations
Many people assume that their homes are structurally sound.
However, there are some tell tale signs to look out for that could tell you that your pad is compromised. If you see cracks within your interior or exterior walls, they need checking out. If you notice that the doors begin to misalign with the frames, this could be a sign of slippage or subsidence. These conditions mean that your home might need underpinning to strengthen the foundations and keep it strong enough to withstand high winds and rains. Sinkholes, while still rare, are becoming more prominent with widespread coverage in the media. These can be deadly, so if in doubt, ensure that you ask a structural engineer to check your home for defects.
Making your humble abode weatherproof isn’t just about making it watertight, you also need to ensure that it is structurally sound. Follow this guide to ensure that your home remains a happy, healthy and safe place to live.
Go Forth and Stay Dry!
So, with this information about how to keep your house, your kids, and your pets safe and dry, you should be a little bit more prepared for whatever crazy weather Mother Nature throws at us.
As I mentioned at the beginning, don't forget to download your free printable guide to indoor activities with your toddler.
I can't tell you how many rainy days this thing has saved my neck.
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The Stay Sane Mom Staff
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