I remember my parents telling me Nothing good happens after midnight. Eh, true if you’re the parent of a driver. But for those of us who ARE the drivers – the ones with kids who are too young for curfews – I say nothing good happens after 3 pm.
As all of you know, after 3 pm, chaos reigns. My story is your story, I am very sure.
A sudden explosion of book bags, half-eaten lunches, and dirty sweatshirts is my alarm clock to the afternoon reality. Snacks are prepared, eaten, and prepared again. Homework folders are flying, permission slips are begging to be signed, and I’m peppered with math problems that I didn’t understand 28 years ago let alone now.
Spelling words are belted out while the preschooler climbs on the kitchen table. Timers are beeping to indicate 20 minutes of reading are up, and my Crock-Pot dinner looks like charred flesh. The shouting to change to practice uniforms and gymnastics attire is barely audible over the sword fights between brothers.
My willpower disappears after 3pm, and the kids’ leftover Cheez-Its look like the chocolate bon-bons I was promised when I decided to stay home. Plus, Cheez-Its are simply delectable after seeing the Crock-Pot dinner that awaits us after sports practices.
The back-and-forth sibling bickering. The back-and-forth driving. The back-and-forth dialog in my head:
I can make it to bedtime. I can’t make it to bedtime. I can make it to bedtime. Nope, not gonna make it to bedtime.
Other shell-shocked parents at after-school activities make me feel a teensie-weensie bit better that I’m not alone. I see working moms scrambling in heels to the fields, and I feel a little less sorry for myself – at least I can do this gig in flip-flops.
I can’t help but think that THIS is why drug companies did so well with their “mommies little helper” pills (how do I get my hands on those?!) and why day drinkers exist.
After 3 pm.
We finally get home. They don’t like dinner (can’t really blame them). They want dessert. The fourth grader forgot a homework assignment, and it’s 7 pm. And I know from experience that the longer it takes to get them to bed, the longer it’ll take me to get their exhausted bodies out of bed the next morning. It’s like a Ferris wheel panic attack. Around and around.
I beg the big ones to shower. I beg the little ones to get out of the bathtub. I beg them to read. I beg them to just go. to. bed.
And I all I can think about is how everything good happens after midnight.
I don’t crave Cheez-Its. I’m not driving. I’m not helping with long division. It’s quiet. They’re quiet. I sleep – or if I can’t – I can watch re-runs of the “Golden Girls” in peace. Nothing like a dose of Sophia, Dorothy, Blanche and Rose to put it all into perspective. A some point, I’ll be an old lady who craves the good-old-days-chaos of after 3 pm.
Yep, maybe one day. But until my kids start driving and NO time of the day is safe, I’m anxiously awaiting midnight. Are you?