It strikes at 6 p.m. EVERY DAY (seemingly on the nose) without FAIL … “witching hour” (or two, depending how long it takes for my three beauties to get to sleep). The “witching hour” is mine mostly, though there are some exceptions in which one of the children will join me and we will have “witching hour” x 2 (or 3 or 4).
So what exactly is “witching hour”?
“Witching hour” FOR ME is best described as a significant and noticeable EMOTIONAL switch …
- from calm and collected mom to irritable and grouchy mom
- from Mom who’s got it all together, to overwhelmed mom
- from kind mom to snappy mom
- from sweet voice mom to mean voice mom
- from positive strategy mom to threatening mom
I hate witching hour! I hate how I hold it together all day (of course, there are days when I don’t), then fall apart at the end of the day (and not just once in awhile … EVERY DAY). I hate that bath time isn’t as special as it could be because I’m in a rush or stretched in too many directions. I hate that bedtime stories are sometimes done in haste, just to get them done. I hate that bedtime snuggles and cuddles are simply checked off the list, not savoured. I hate that I absolutely can’t wait to just step out of the girls’ bedrooms and be released from my parental responsibilities for the day. I hate that I feel (and get) so angry when the big girls ask for a drink of water or to go pee one more time. I hate that my children feel my anxiety and irritation and grumpiness right before they leave me for the day to go to sleep. Day after day after day of sour bedtime mom will etch its way into my children’s long term memories. I hate, hate, hate witching hour!
As I write this, it’s obvious that it’s time to get a bit more strategic. Maybe I’m trying to do too much with too many kids in too little time (especially when it’s so obvious that this is such a difficult time of day for me) … maybe three baths is too much for that hour. Maybe a chapter of a novel for Mackenzie and two books for Madilyn each night before bed is too much (perhaps I could read to them at a different time during the day). Maybe if we had supper a little earlier each day, there would be some space and margin after supper for the girls to play and for me to tidy the kitchen (when the kitchen gets left until after the girls are in bed, I know I feel anxious about it). Perhaps there are just a couple of things I could do throughout the day to make the hour between 6 and 7 each night run just a little smoother. Bedtime is my responsibility as a parent … the days of my husband being home to help at this time of the day are over (farming), so I need to do what I’ve done in many other areas of my life so far … make things more manageable and simplify! No need to do it all in an hour! I’ll let you know how that goes.