Looking at the world through rose-colored glasses
I have been pretty vocal about feeling like motherhood isn’t all that hard. I have a reputation for being too positive and optimistic, which I’m OK with. I still suffer from pangs of mommy-guilt and judgement, but overall, I am proud of successfully striking the work-life balance I crave. I am incredibly proud of my marriage because we’ve been through A LOT (scary delivery of our twin baby girl, handling people trying to get between us in our marriage, and finding our footing and reestablishing our relationship after having three kids in less than 3 years). None of this comes easy, but I am not afraid of doing a lot of emotional work because the outcome is so incredible.
I can handle the logistics of getting the girls up and out the door. Through process improvement, “What’s for dinner?” is no longer a stressful question hanging over me like a dark shadow all day. I have been able to figure out how to maximize my time so I’m only going grocery shopping two times a month and doing one load of laundry once a week. Through a lot of self-reflection and personal discovery, I really feel present with my kids and I think I do a great job of making every moment count. And thanks to a really consistent bedtime routine, come 8pm every night, I have “me time” because all of my kids are asleep.
Welcome to the Witching Hours: when life is not all that rosy
Still, there are areas I struggle with mothering and I was recently reminded of it. There are days I feel emotionally spent and staying emotionally on top of it is challenging. What does this mean? I’m tired of constantly thinking about what everyone needs, how to soothe who is crying, avoid the next crying fit, and basically help all my girls keep their sh*t together for the next few hours because it’s the witching hour(s). The witching hour (I’ve heard it called the arsenic hour) is the magical time between 5pm and bedtime (which is 7pm for my little ones and 8pm for my oldest). It’s like Groundhog Day because this happens every day (sometimes it starts when the girls wake up from their afternoon naptime – JOY).
The witching hour is when my darling angels are most prone to losing their minds over NOTHING. This time of the day is rife with nonsensical meltdowns, (when do they ever make sense anyway?), major tantrums, and general malcontent. I don’t get a ton of time with my kids Monday through Thursday (working outside of the home will do this), but there are days I look at the clock and think, “Can I put them to bed early today?” It makes me sad to think I want to shorten the time I have with my girls, but this is also not a peaceful and enjoyable experience and my explanation for a lot of behavior issues is, “She’s tired.”
The way I currently try to manage this time is by giving myself a time out. If I’m in the middle of a battle royal and my oldest daughter is crying her face off (2 inches from my face) and it’s clear at this point, nothing I say or do helps… I walk away. Esther will only respond to what I give attention to, so if I am giving her attention for crying, she’ll keep crying. It makes more sense to reinforce the behavior I want to see, also, it’s a moment I mentally throw my hands up in the air, take a deep breath, and give myself a beat to hit the mental and emotional reset button for myself. Overall, this is not an ideal situation, but when my kids are beyond the point of reason and logic (which is OK because they are 1 and 4 years old); I just don’t know what else to do.
SO, there you have it – being a mom from 5-8pm is often super challenging for me.
Do you have a similar experience?
Where do you struggle?
Do you have any advice?
Please share your experience and comment!