I don’t know why they call it the witching hour, honestly, because it really isn’t just one hour. It’s HOURS. In my household, it starts not long after my oldest gets home from school.
All the things
Both of my kids are #hangry at this point, and the impending doom of homework that lingers over our heads is only the first of many catalysts that will threaten to unravel our day. My oldest loathes homework (as do I). He hates that his four-year-old younger brother doesn’t have any. He refuses to go in another room but instead will have repeated meltdowns about his brother being too loud playing with toys, life isn’t fair, it’s just too hard … multiple timeouts typically ensue in between crying and eye rolling.
I wish I could say that when homework is done the drama is over, but it’s usually only the beginning. On any given night, we typically have to rush through dinner and go to one of many extracurricular activities. We’re in a rush to catechism class then to baseball. By the time we get home close to 8 o’clock, the kids are #hangry again, the four year old is truly exhausted because it’s past his bedtime. My kitchen is still a mess from dinner, I have to do laundry, make lunches, bathe the kids, give them 20 hugs and extra sips of water. Oh crap, I forgot to take a shower.
I always imagined we would be the family that didn’t do activities on weeknights (in hopes to save our sanity), but I haven’t put my seven-year-old in any activity that he didn’t ask to do. He begged to join the Boy Scouts, and he’s excited every time baseball season rolls around. And he’s already asking about football. The four-year-old will do soccer in the fall because he’s asking when he can play sports like his older brother. I cannot imagine how difficult it’s going to be when I have two kids on two different teams, potentially different sports. How parents of three+ kids juggle it all is beyond me.
Just get to 8 PM
The nights my husband is off work really does make things so much easier. The kids are begging to go play at a friend’s house, go swimming, basically do anything but eat dinner and take baths. And all the extracurricular activities my son begs to do are sadly burdens to us all. And those close to me know not to expect me to be available to chat anytime between the hours of 4 and 8 PM because it is simply mass chaos. Even when our afternoons are free, the kids are yelling, I’m playing referee … it’s all “sit down, be quiet, eat your dinner, don’t push, no you can’t have more water at bedtime …” It goes on and on. So my goal every week is usually just to make it Friday before I pop open a bottle of wine.
At the end of the day
As exhausting as it all is, I know one day it’s going to be 4 o’clock in the afternoon and I’m going to be home alone. The kids will be gone, the house will be quiet, and I’ll only have me and my husband to cook for. So as much running as I do every day, as many fights as I break up, as many snacks as I give out and as many meals as I cook, I’m going to try my best to soak it all in. Because one day they won’t need me to bandage a scrape, take them to a baseball game, or fix them the “cheesiest macaroni.” These witching hours may quite be my best hours.