The Shining movie still

A still from "The Shining."

Most of us have seen the movie-version of Stephen King’s "The Shining."

But if you haven't, here's the gist of this horror classic: Writer Jack Torrance takes a job as the caretaker of a secluded hotel in the mountains. He intends to use the isolation to help him write, but instead descends into madness as the winter drags on.

Now, there are ghosts and creepy things running about in the hotel that aid in his descension, but this winter, as a mom, I am feeling a bit like Mr. Torrance.

Every week brings more snow, more cold and more indoor time with kids and bacteria. We’ve still got the all-clear on haunted twins in my house — none have been spotted as of yet — but the frozen-over back door and snow-drifted deck make this mama sometimes feel like she’s alone on the side of that creepy horror mountain with no spring in sight.

I’m not going to say I’ve got a confirmed case of cabin fever — and I’m certainly not on the verge of homicidal mania — but some of my recent behaviors are starting to mimic the protagonist of that spooky movie. For example:

Talking to people who aren't there.

I have yet to speak to a ghost bartender, though I definitely would not decline his offer of beverages. But I have had frequent conversations where I was the only person in the room. I find myself, more and more often, staring at the ceiling and muttering spurts of rants through gritted teeth as no one listens.

“If she doesn’t simmer down and go to sleep, I’m going to lose it.” “How is this room trashed again when I just cleaned it?” “What the what?” “I don’t feel like making dinner; I’m getting pizza and I don’t care what anyone else wants.”

Allowing my child to ride a tricycle in the house.

In the movie, I think ol’ Jackie boy was too busy being, well, bonkers to notice or care that his little Danny was breaking hotel rules by riding an outdoor toy inside. Well, same goes for me.

I’ve hit that point of winter where I’m re-thinking the usual rules and re-evaluating on a “but does it really matter?” basis. Yes, we don’t normally use the open floor plan of our house as a NASCAR oval for wheeled vehicles, but does it really matter? Give it a go, young one, and just tell mommy if you need a Band-Aid. Mother will be over here in the corner, looking up images of Sandals Resorts on her phone and jamming Doritos in her face.

Yelling random, bizzare things.

Jack Torrance shouted, “Here’s Johnny!” before hacking through a door with an ax.

Now, I haven’t gone that bizarre yet, and I don’t have access to sharp implements, but I’m definitely teetering on an edge. I blame the fact that my household has experienced a high volume of snow and sick days (a.k.a. lock-ins) this year. After a plethora of these days — which feel so much longer than 24 hours, by the way — I’ve heard myself yelling more idiotic things, sometimes in third person.

For example: “That’s it – mom has had it!” “We do not eat corn dogs in the bathroom!” “If Mommy counts to three and you’re still naked, you’re going to bed!”

And my own personal favorite: “Mommy is done with the nonsense!”

You've won, winter. You've beaten me. Now, please go away.


Lynn Kirkle is a writer and lives in Omaha with her husband and five children. She writes twice a month for, and can be found on Twitter @LAPainter.

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