11 Tricks to Survive the Witching Hour

Does your family fall apart in those early evening hours? Try these simple tips to make the witching hour less stressful and more fun at your house.

If I need to tell you what the “witching hour” is I’m sorry not sorry – we can’t be friends. Kidding – but maybe you can come over and watch my kids during our witching hour so I can go enjoy some quiet time? Please?

Moms, you know what I’m talking about. The evening hours when your little ones want to do anything but sit on the couch with a bowl of guacamole and a bag of chips and watch “Grey’s Anatomy.”

If you’re a working mom, your witching hour might look something like this:

4:15pm Crap! I meant to leave a little early today! Slams laptop shut and runs out to car, forgetting phone, and making a trip back and scanning your desk to make sure you didn’t forget anything else.

5pm Arrive at school / daycare. Hopefully your kids are happy to see you and come running up to give you a BAH [big ass hug]. Oh, this is the best part!

On a shit sandwich kind of day, pick up might look a little different. They might actually be MAD that you’re there to get them to take them home and run through all the evening to-do’s and how dare you interrupt their playing with toy riding lawnmower time.

5:15pm Juggle 12 bags through the front door. And so it begins. They’re not going to carry their backpacks, their library books, or their shoes. This leaves you hauling your laptop bag, purse [maybe even your breast pump], two backpacks, and your morning coffee mug, when someone says they need help closing the car door your eyes nearly roll right out of your head.

The blur. You have no idea what time it is, you just know it’s dark out, and you:

  • Start a load of laundry because you forgot your son wet the bed last night
  • Stare blankly in the fridge and announce like it’s a big deal, “Hey kids, we’re having waffles for dinner!”
  • Help with homework while Googling common core…I mean, WTF? Tears of frustration from both of you.
  • Fed the cat, and the dog
  • Ate some chips while waiting for the waffles to “cook”
  • Whining about dinner. Someone dropped their waffle on the floor and the dog scooped it up.
  • Notice it’s bedtime! Bath, brush teeth [move wet clothes from the washer to the dryer while waiting for wardrobe changes], book, bed, someone forgot to pee, someone needs water, someone wants a snack.
  • Permission slips, unpacking bags, tossing the latest fundraising catalog.

The plop. The plopping sound is you on the couch looking at the dishes in the sink, the toys in the living room, and the lunchboxes that need to be filled for tomorrow.

The ding. The dryer is done.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and pretend I have all the answers. I certainly don’t. What I do have are some simple tips you can try to make your witching hour—the hours between 4pm and 8pm—actually [dare I say] FUN.

Witching hour tips

Feel like your family goes off the rails on weeknights? Here's how to make the witching hour more fun for everyone.

  1. Enjoy your commute. Books on tape, download them on Audible and listen via Bluetooth, or get them from your local library (seriously, you’d be surprised what titles they stock). If you take public transit, read, write, color, and meditate, whatever you’ll enjoy.
  2. Imagine how happy you are to see your kids. Before you walk in the door to get the little booger monsters see their happy faces and feel how happy they are to see you. Feel that? Good. You’re walking in the door with good vibes that’ll spread to your kids.
  3. Hug your kids like you haven’t seen them for a week.
  4. I can’t help you with the 12 bags you’re going to carry from the car. Just know that this will pass and the bags will be inside in just a minute. This, and your biceps are gonna be HOT by July!
  5. Cook a few things on the weekend. It doesn’t need to be fancy. If you cook big batches of rice, potatoes and a soup or a sauce, your week will be smoother than you ever could have imagined.
  6. Dance while cooking dinner. Crank some dance tunes, and dance around the kitchen while you assemble dinner.
  7. Light a candle. Make dinner special. Phone away, make it feel like an event. Use cloth napkins, eat in a different room. Switch it up. Look, listen, and pay attention.
  8. Sing through the laundry list of chores. Now, I’m not a singer. Anyone who has heard me sing will completely agree. Making up silly songs to get stinky kids in the bath, and to get them to brush their teeth go a long way.
  9. Slow down at bedtime. So many nights I’d give a quick kiss g’night – gotta run kids, got shit to do! Taking a few extra minutes to slow down, give them a dozen hugs if they need them, and answer any burning questions from the day will let them drift off to sleep feeling loved and protected. Asking them what their favorite part of the day was leaves everyone with the warm fuzzies.
  10. ME time! Plan this ahead of time. What will you do when the kids are in bed? Watch a movie? Glass of wine? A bubble bath? A book? Make it awesome.
  11. Before you go to bed, jot down 3 things you’re grateful for. Be specific. Instead of saying, “I’m grateful for my kids”, write, “I’m grateful for the way my daughter acted so silly at dinner today making us all laugh until spaghetti shot out of our noses.”

Now, can we all please drop the term “witching hour”? Because really? The time between arriving home and bedtime is just that – time between getting home and going to bed.

1 thought on “11 Tricks to Survive the Witching Hour

  1. What great tips! As a routine 8-4’er I go through the witching hour nearly every night of the week (some nights just happen to be perfect by magic, I guess). I seriously think these are some exceptional tips that will help us working lady moms out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.