The End of the Day Suck
For a stay at homer, the last part of the day ends up being the most chaotic, sucky, frustrating time of the day. You are trying to wind your kids down, get dinner made, get bathtime taken care of, make sure you play with the kids, listen to them scream in your face, deal with tantrums, and, oh yeah – clean! And the biggest pain in the ass about the cleaning is that you spent all day long doing just that, and as you gaze around the house at 6:00pm you wonder, how the F&$% did this house get so trashed?! I’VE CLEANED IT THREE TIMES ALREADY! (I know my mom has a maniacal, “paybacks a bitch” laugh going on as she reads this.)
And then your spouse comes home from their long day of work, and the kids, who you JUST got to chill out, get re-energized and start some more chaos.
So how exactly does a person handle this time of day so that they don’t go berserk on their family? Well, if you are a subscriber to the parenting magazine I just read, then you would take your kids on a decompressing stroll and then make them a fun snack after you pat yourself on the back for ‘doing the best you can’. Just typing that makes me want to vomit! If I followed that advice, not only would my kids be annoyed that we are walking around the block, but I would be stressing about the dinner that is currently NOT getting made and the house that is STILL messy. My blood pressure would skyrocket, Noble would scream at me for being a bad dad because I’m not feeding him, and I would most likely have a nervous breakdown in front of the neighbors house.
Here’s how I handle the end of the day ‘suck’. I usually begin five o-clock with a cocktail. That’s right, it’s happy hour, and damnit, I want some liquid happiness. Right now, my drink of choice is Parrot Bay Coconut Rum and Tropical Fruit Punch. Tastes like vacation. Makes me feel like I’m in a vacation destination, and the only price I pay to enjoy it is to do afternoon maid service (clean the house). So I sip my happy juice, and begin cleaning those things that matter most – get the kitchen counters visible, put away all clothes in the bedroom, and sweep up all that food that Alistair thought the floor would like. I don’t worry about kid toys, or any kind of mess that the kids made. That stuff is just gonna get messed up again after I clean it, so I’ve learned to let it remain until the kids go to bed.
Other things that work for me: adopt the mantra “It’s indpendent playtime” during that time and say it to your kids over and over again. It is my standard answer for all Noble quesitons: “Dad will you play with me?”, “Dad, let’s wrestle!” “Dad, the bathroom is on fire!” You can also send your kid off to a dinner playdate, or have another kid over to your house for a dinner playdate – seems counterintuitive to have MORE chaos makers, but they will stay out of your hair while you prepare dinner. And for the one year old, keep a bottom drawer in the kitchen filled with tupperware. Let them go crazy with it. It will buy you time while you cook.
Of course, you could always take a parenting magazines advice and kneel down to your child’s level, give them a big hug, tell them that you love them, and watch as they prepare dinner FOR YOU! And if the cinnamony milkshake feelings are strong enough, they may even surprise you and bake that special cake that you deserve for being such an amazing parent!