The end of the day can be testing to say the least! A few small tips and big dollop of humour should get you through…
5-7 PM. The Witching Hours. Those two hours before you get the kids to bed (hopefully) that can seem like another 24 hours in themselves. It’s so tempting to reach for the wine or the gin just to help you through it. And believe me, I have, many a time. But recently, I’ve realised that sometimes it just makes it even more painful because I relax a bit, take my eye off the ball and before I know it, it’s 8 PM and they’re all still up. So I’ve come up with a list of constructive things you can do without resorting to gin.
1. Put the washing away.
If you’re anything like me, clean washing rarely makes it back to the comforts of a drawer or wardrobe. I have piles everywhere. Some on the kitchen table, that I move back and forth about a million times a day so we can use the kitchen table for its actual purpose. Piles on the stairs. The kids even look in the tumble dryer before their wardrobes when getting dressed. Desperate times. And yet, it really does only take 15 minutes to quickly fold it and put it away (I don’t iron). So why don’t I just do it? This is something I now sometimes do during that hideous couple of hours in between repeating, ‘Eat your dinner, eat your dinner‘ on loop like some robotic idiot. At least I’ve achieved something remotely constructive.
2. Unload the dishwasher, clean the kitchen.
Boring, boring, boring. But actually, I’m in the kitchen anyway whilst the kids eat so surely better to do this now than waste precious minutes later, when I could be feet up in front of Netflix. With a gin. In peace.
3. Get stuff ready for the next day.
Okay, I’ll be honest. This isn’t something I’ve actually managed to implement yet but I do think about doing it a lot. Ha ha. It would take 10 minutes whilst the kids are eating their fish fingers (I mean, lovingly homemade gourmet meals, ahem) for me to get ahead of myself and retrieve school cardigans, bags and reading books and put them by the door for the next day. What can I say? I just enjoy running around like a headless chicken in the mornings, screaming at my kids too much. One day.
4. Plan a run for as soon as the kids are in bed.
This has two benefits. It gets you in the mood for exercise and stops you reaching for a gin because you’re planning to go for a run. I often think we’re physically a bit trapped as mums and we opt for a gin or chocolate through sheer boredom and frustration because we can’t do healthier ‘blowing off steam’ alternatives like exercise or anything else that takes us away from the home in that moment of need. When I’ve had some childcare in place and been able to run it off instead, I haven’t fancied that ‘treat.’ Also, new studies show that just thinking about exercise (in a positive way, not in a ‘I should go for a run’ pressured way) triggers more serotonin in the brain, the chemical, which makes us happy. Even if you don’t actually go for the run! (Perhaps I’ll have that gin after all then…)
5. Do bathtime early. Or not at all.
With three of them to wash, I often struggle come bathtime. It’s the time you’re most likely to catch me sitting on the toilet (lid down) staring at the wall. ‘What’s with all the baths?’ said a friend recently. ‘I probably only bath mine three times a week!‘ Since then, I’ve been much more relaxed about it. Hairwash once a week (twice max) and baths every other night. On the days I have bathed them, I sometimes do it earlier, before dinner, when I’m not quite so tired (and neither are they) because, let’s face it, who isn’t ready to bang their head against the wall after the painful task of watching kids push their dinners around their plate?
6. Disregard all of the above and drink a large gin.
So there you have it. Five constructive ways to get through the most challenging two hours of the day and one to keep in reserve for when only a large gin will do. Good luck!