Let’s talk about mom burn-out. It usually hits in the late afternoon. The kids are home from school, but it’s still a couple hours before your partner gets home. Everyone is tired, everyone is bored, and mom is done with a capital D.
I know you’re familiar with this feeling. You’re at the end of your rope – but the day is far from over. Dinner still needs to be made! The kids are at each other’s throats! You just heard a concerning crash or spill coming from the other room. If one more child asks you for a snack you’re going to completely lose it. All you want to do is hide in the closet.
Now, I’m not saying don’t hide in the closet for five minutes (it helps sometimes), but what else can you do when you’ve run out of patience? Here are a few ideas on how to reset a bad day with your kids when things are spiraling downward fast.
1. Get in the car
Yep even if the house is a mess. Load up the kids, don’t worry about shoes or if their hair is done, or even if they have a shirt on. Buckle up and get moving. It doesn’t matter where you go. Turn on some music and drive. Maybe you’ll end up getting a quick treat in the drive-thru. Or maybe you’ll just drive around for a while – give the kids a little game to play like trying to count all the red cars. The change of scenery will help everyone. Plus they’re all contained in their seats for a few minutes of peace.
2. Make something easy for dinner
When you’ve run out of steam for the day, the last thing you want to do is make dinner. So don’t. Get out all the cereal boxes and bowls and declare it cereal dinner night. Grab some English muffins, mozzarella cheese, and toppings and voila – you have “make your own pizza night”. When all else fails, McDonald’s. Don’t feel guilty.
3. Take a Mommy Time Out
Turn on the cartoons or kick the kids out in the backyard, and then tell them you’re putting yourself in timeout for 10 minutes. Light a candle, peruse a magazine, take a quick shower, or just sit there and breathe. They will survive for 10 minutes. You’ll be amazed what 10 minutes can do for your patience.
4. Just Add Water
Speaking of showers – throw your kids in one! When you’ve run out of activities and the kids are B-O-R-E-D, a little water activity always seems to do the trick. A shower with kitchen toys, a bath with food coloring, or if it’s warm enough outside, turn on the sprinklers and let them run in their clothes. They’ll be delighted with the change in routine.
5. Cleaning Jobs
By the afternoon my house is usually a disaster. I’ve found that my kids do not like cleaning their rooms (shocking, I know) but if I give them a cleaning assignment that they usually aren’t in charge of – they are surprisingly willing to help. The novelty of a new job and maybe the grown-up responsibility really gets them excited. So the next time the afternoon is dragging, say something like “I have a really important job for you guys!” Then whip out the Windex. They can clean the sliding glass door, wipe down the appliances, or clean the bathroom mirrors. Boy, do they love spraying that Windex! Who would have thought?