It’s that time of day when everything runs amok in my house: 5:00 p.m. My kids are either so tired and cranky, or bored and restless, that they have no idea what to do with themselves. This is also the time of day when the biggest fights erupt….usually over nothing. I have an almost 7 year old daughter, a 4 year old son and a 22 month old daughter (we call it our boy sandwich). It’s also usually the time of day that my husband gets home and goes right to his home office to finish business calls and some last minute work (thereby leaving me still alone with 3 kids). And usually by this point, I AM DONE. Completely and totally done. My brain is on hyperdrive, my patience is lost with the missing puzzle piece that my son is crying over, and I don’t have enough arms to both prepare dinner and hold my crying 22 m.o. Now I’m not one of those moms that has endless patience and refuses to yell at her kids. Believe me, I can yell. Loud. But I’m trying not to. Really trying hard. It just doesn’t work out sometimes.
So I’ve come up with my own solution. Right off my kitchen I have a small walk-in pantry. I keep a small step stool in there for the kids but it comes in handy quite often. Why, you ask??? Because I give myself time-outs. The first time I did this my kids came looking for me to solve some major issue (like who touched the remote control first). I told them Mommy was in a time-out and they could not talk to me. They looked at me like I had sprouted horns and turned green but they also quietly walked away and left me alone. And I thought, “Huh, that really did work!”. I’ve since sat in my pantry many times. It works great and gives me a tiny bit of relief from the chaos. Usually I come out a tiny bit refreshed, ready to referee the next fight, prepared to calm down my energetic kids. Sometimes all it takes is me sitting on the floor with them and giving them a tiny bit of attention. Whatever your method is, or maybe you haven’t found it yet, keep trying. I know I will. Lots of luck, from my time-out corner to yours.