It seems to be a common phenomenon for mothers of young children…There is this hour, this dreadful hour, when all chaos breaks loose, almost every day. For most, it happens right around the time when dinner is being made (or just before). The little ones are all up from naps, and everyone finds themselves a little edgy, grumpy, hyper, hungry, or a tad bit out of control.
Most days we moms just get through it, press on, try not to engage in any outbursts of anger, and remember that it will soon be over. But some days it seems unmanageable. Some days it is unmanageable, at least for any normal human being.
It kinda feels like we should go into this hour (or 2, and HOPEFULLY not 3!) with full armor on. I don’t mean metaphorical armor. This is serious business. It would seem appropriate to walk into this hour with a literal helmet on (and maybe one for all toddlers present). We should also have protective covering over our ears (to handle crying), and a covering over our mouth (to prevent sinning), and some kind of jumpsuit that allows us to move fast, dodge spills, and somehow still look cute when hubby walks in the door towards the end of the madness.
Okay, so that’s not happening, BUT maybe there is some wisdom in coming into this daily trial more prepared. If we know it’s coming, let’s come ready!
So what can we do now to prepare for the next anticipated episode of “crazy hour?”
Armer Up!… Spiritually
Most likely, the best preparation is going to start in our hearts and minds. We will call this spiritual preparation. You may not be thinking super clear in the afternoon chaos to diligently focus on praying, so pray up beforehand! Beg God to help you be calm and patient, while also being hard working and full of all the energy you need. Ask God to help you be loving (the 1 Corinthians 13 type of “love”). And pray that God will give you perspective – remembering that however difficult this part of the day is, everything is okay, and the madness will soon end.
Furthermore, we need a biblical perspective to remind us that taking care of our home and children is a God-given job. We are not merely surviving this trial that was thoughtlessly thrown at us, we are navigating our role as moms in either a way that is pleasing to our Creator, or not.
So let us start by arming our hearts with a reliance on God who can enable us to be the kind of mom we should be, and make sure to add to that a good dose of perspective.
Armer Up!… Mentally
Mental preparation is essential. Are you thinking realistically about this daily predicament you find yourself in? Are you imagining a picture perfect spotless home with quietly reading children all afternoon? Maybe your expectations of what you can accomplish are unrealistic. Sometimes our dinner plans, our cleaning plans, or the extracurricular plans with our children need to be simplified and adjusted to slow down and ease up during the consistently crazy part of the day.
You might find that the hours will feel much more successful if all you expected was making dinner and interacting with your children (which is still a lot!), anything else accomplished could just be considered a bonus. Do some thinking, strategizing and readjusting as needed to set yourself up for success.
Armer Up!… Practically
Last but not least, you should prepare practically. What can you do now, or hours before, to make the dreaded hours not so dreadful? Could you prepare some of the meal ahead of time, or use the trusty crockpot? Maybe you plan and prepare a specific activity for the children, or have a weekly rotation of special toys that come out only when mommy is making dinner. Basically, accept that this time of the day is just tough, and brainstorm some ways to make the most of it!
It’s Time to Conquer!
One day the dreadful hour will no longer be your reality. Everyone will start to grow up and things will calm down. But chances are, you have days and days and days which will add up to many many many hours that you could either wish away OR you can conquer them with wisdom and grace! You will still sometimes feel defeated… But sure enough, another opportunity will arise – so arm yourself up once again – spiritually, mentally and practically, and go conquer “crazy hour!”
Prayer 4 the Mom in the Afternoon Trenches
Lord, I thank you for opportunity after opportunity to rely on you for strength to do my job well. Help me to make progress in these daily moments which feel so tough. Help me to go into the next semi-expected moments of chaos with a prepared heart. Please also give me practical wisdom so I can maximize these daily moments with my children. Most of all Lord, help me to please you in how I think, speak, and act when I feel like I am being stretched and pulled in different directions.