When I worked in the city and commuted home five days a week, I thought I had it rough. I thought racing home to beat the arrival of my kids at 5:45, getting dinner on the table, getting homework done, bathing dirty little bodies, story time, and then bedtime was all just insane insanity! … And it was. … Sometimes, there was a phone meeting thrown in during the three to four hours of madness. To make the whole situation a little nuttier, my husband usually didn’t come home until about two hours into the chaos so I typically flew solo.
When I quit my nine to five job to start my own business, I thought the end of the day would be less stressful … less chaotic. Nope. Na uh. In some ways, it is worse because I feel that dinner should be fancier or more complicated because I’m home to make them fancier, complicated and healthier. This is something I feel “should” be happening along with homework, soccer, bath time, story time, and yada, yada, yada. I’m easily overwhelmed just thinking of all of this.
I shouldn’t have to feel like I have to plate an appetizer, salad, entree and dessert. But for some reason, I do. I feel now that I work from home, it is expected of me.
As my readers know, I usually don’t. I’m happy slapping down fruit and dinosaur chicken nuggets for dinner or bean and cheese quesadillas with a delicious smoothie.
This past summer had an interesting twist. My oldest was in a program where he had to wear a specific shirt each day. He only had two shirts which meant lots of laundry that I normally don’t do but once or twice a week. So suddenly, I had to do laundry every other evening to ensure he had a clean shirt.
Summer also meant longer days, which meant little kids wanting to play outside because they can. When you have an 8-year-old, 4-year-old, and 2-year-old, you don’t let them play alone outside in the cul-de-sac. Mom thinks the backyard is suitable, but the three kids did not. So, there was often a discussion and negotiation around playing outside, dinner, bath time, and bedtime. I have to admit though, if I was supervising playtime in the front of the house, I was accompanied by a glass of wine … usually. Every mom knows that a glass full of wine helps the insanity go down.
I describe my daily insanity to describe some of the things I do to make the end of the day less chaotic.
The number one thing is our driver—current and past. Ever since our second kiddo was born, we hired someone to pick up our kids at the end of the day and bring them home. My husband and I had no chance in hell of ever making it to school, let alone two schools, by six. So … enter drivers.
We’ve had some amazing ladies drive for us. Currently, our driver is Miss Emily. She’s been with us for over a year now and my kids just love her—and she loves them. She’s had the special honor of picking up three kids now since they all go to school. And all three kids in a car can be overwhelming as many parents know. She is our personal angel.
Miss Emily makes our life much less chaotic. She lives nearby and has saved us on more than one occasion.
Back in April, I was out-of-town on a work-related trip when my husband had to take our recently turned four-year-old to the emergency room with a split lip. Because he was so young and could not sit still for stitches, they wanted to lightly sedate him. My husband had all three kids with him in the emergency room. When he called to tell me what was going on, I quickly picked up the phone and started dialing my small circle of friends who could help. Miss Emily was one of the very first people I called. She lives so close and the kids trust her. She was able to pick them up from my husband and bring them home. She stayed with them until another wonderful friend came to stay the night with the two kids. We had no idea how long my husband and Zak would be at the hospital so we called in friends for the long haul.
So … thanks Miss Emily for all you do. You help make the end of day insanity a little less insane.
I have a few other tricks up my sleeve. They include obvious things like tablets and TV. When my eldest is doing homework, sometimes, the little ones want to do homework too. I set them up nearby with their own homework assignments. This usually means a lot of coloring.
If my husband is running late and a lot has to get done, I am not afraid of a bribe or two to get kids in motion. Also, when you have more than one kid, the older kid(s) can act as leader(s).
I often get Erik to read books to his younger brother and sister. Lately, he gets a kick out of helping his sister get into her pajamas and get her teeth brushed at night. And Zakary … whenever I tell him he’s n charge … well … he really enjoys that. Sometimes, he can take it too far though.
Interestingly enough, our Amazon Echo plays a huge role in our evenings. Alexa has some great play lists that my littlest enjoys dancing and singing too. Super Simple Songs is one of our favorite kid friendly play lists. Our oldest, loves to put on his favorite jams and dance and get everyone riled up. I use she-who-shall-not-be-named as a timer, an alarm, or a reminder. … She helps with calculations, measuring conversions, spelling, defining, and even Spanish vocabulary. At bedtime, she plays bedtime music in one bedroom, and plays bedtime stories in another bedroom.
It all sounds nuts, and it is. I know I’m not alone though and I’d love to hear your end of day insanity stories. What makes your evenings easier? I know that often a smooth, jammy pinot noir can help the wildness of my home life seem a bit more tolerable. How about you?
Signing off for now,
Bay Area Blind Mom