How to keep your shizzle cool during the witching hour

...without the need to reach for the wine, even if you feel like you’re slowly dying inside…

Let’s be honest here, I know you won’t judge…but seriously, the witching hour- or should that be HOURS? - Who the hell invented this monumental brain aching nightmare that can often occur?

These days it’s always worse after a day a nursery, but I remember the witching hour from the early days too, when there was only one small creature in our lives, when we lived in the fabulous Brighton. My beloved NCT buddies and I used to cling together until the very last possible moment, just to avoid heading home, by ourselves…to deal with….da-da-daaaahhhh…THE WITCHING HOUR….

I used to dread it; that time between getting home in the late afternoon, maybe 4/4.30 ish and trying to sort the house out a bit, and bath time. I’d come home, set to cleaning up the scuz that I wished I’d just done before I left the house- the cemented concrete Weetabix from the floor- jeez they could build houses with that shit.

I’d attempt to cook something that resembled a few iotas of nutrition for the mini beast all whilst having a clingy, whining, winging little limpet tugging at my legs, demanding to be held, especially as I’m straining the boiling water from the spinach pasta (that stuff’s way better for them right? The green stuff? It’s got spinach in it, it must be.)

The witching hour is the time your partner won’t ever really fully understand…no matter how hard/ often/ hysterically you scream/ shout/ cry/ crumble/ weep out your explanation of the hell you’ve been through even if just for a short period of time...

They can’t understand, they JUST CAN'T. They’ve been at work all day; sitting at their desk, making adult conversation, peeing at their leisure, drinking hot coffee whilst idly choosing which sandwich to buy from Pret.

And now I have two of the gorgeous little darlings. And they are totally gorgeous little beauties. Of course, I absolutely adore them, they’re bloody awesome, beautiful little humans…

But still…the effing witching hour remains…and I think it’s actually got worse (if that’s possible). So what really gets me now, and mean really gets me…is the grabbing at my clothes whilst I’m trying to cook the dinner- ahem, ok, whilst casually checking Facebook at the same time. Or, hearing the screams coming from the sitting room as the littlest has smashed her head into the hearth whilst ‘sliding’ down the sofa cushions that have been piled four foot high on the floor…

And then the worst bit of all- aside from changing the stinking nappy, which was pointed out as you lift, said toddler into her highchair,

“Mummeeeeeeeeee, Oona stiiiiiiinks…I think she’s done a poooooooo…”.

Of course, of course she’s done a *grit teeth*fucking poo, of course she has, it's bloody dinnertime! Smile…breathe…

So then begins the lip smacking, the food smearing, the cutlery dropping, the sauce smooshing, the broccili stalk slinging…(I could go on…)

Then comes the reeeally good bit, the real soul singing, life enhancing, empowering bit: Cleaning up after feeding time at the fricking zoo.

Surely I’m not the only one who battles with the multiple cloths- the face and hands cloth, the tray and table cloth, and the floor cloth…

Ooh the pure scintillating delight of cleaning up the floor; not sure what’s worse, finding half of yesterdays peas dried up under the sideboard clogged up with cat hair, or scraping the smooshed up fish pie from the high chair clips that then fall onto the just cleaned floor, and releasing half of that mornings Weetabix came with it too…URGH.

And why do they find it so funny, when you’re scrabbling around on the floor with the wet stinking hairy cloth - shiiiitt….that’s the face cloth…oh, who cares, it’s too late now - to actually deliberately drop the remaining chunks of food from their bib/ thighs/ toes onto your head?!

And then cleaning up the actual children themselves; while they’re busy making “ketchup/cottage pie/yoghurt rainbows” (as they’re called in our house).

Do you do the hands first to stop them making the table or tray even worse? Or tackle the table first for it only then to be smeared with muck from the hands again…and then it gets in the eyes…grabbed through handfuls of hair…the ears…(kill me now!)

Yup Mumma, I hear you; it’s a vicious and bloody infuriating cycle…

So generally I find after dinner things clam down a bit, at least for 15 minutes while CBeebies entertains them whilst the last bits of the carnage are dealt with and their little tummies are full- let’s not mention that bit of scrambled egg that ended up smeared all over the sofa- must have been hiding in her neck/ elbow crease…

So things are relatively bearable…until it’s time for teeth cleaning…but that’s a matter for a whole different day…

By this point you’re probably clock watching wondering when it’s acceptable to open the bottle of wine, or maybe you’re on your second glass? I don't blame you one bit! 

Maybe you do what I’ve been known to do (once or twice?!)  and send a sneaky Whatsapp to a mummy friend you blatantly KNOW will be drinking wine already, just to make yourself feel better?

But what if you didn’t feel the need for the wine? What if you were able to get through the witching hour without shouting/ screaming/ swearing/ gritting your teeth or wanting the hide in a dark cave until its all over or your husband comes home to take over- if you're lucky that is?

I’m really sorry chick, I can’t do anything to tame their behaviour or make the clean up any easier, but I can give you a few tips to keep you slightly calmer and make things slightly less grating, even when things get crazy and the shit hits the fan- hopefully not literally…and before you reach for the wine…

Use positive affirmations

What you’re saying to yourself in your head as well as out loud really makes a difference. Let’s face it, a lot of the time what we’re saying in our heads during the witching hours isn’t fit for tiny ears, so let’s think of a few affirmations to reframe the situation, as soon as these become your reality, you'll feel SO much better…

  • I calmly accept my child/ren’s exploration, they are learning through sensory experience
  • Smile…and breathe…Smile… and breathe….
  • I relax my shoulders and my jaw, I let go of all tension in my body
  • I am calm, I am in control...
  • My words are kind and empowering, I treat my child/ren with the respect they deserve
  • I am so lucky to have this opportunity to spend time with my child/ren
  • I easily & instinctively keep my voice at a calm, low and compassionate level
  • Even though at times I feel like I'm going FUCKING INSANE…I stay calm, controlled and realise how small they still are…
  • This soon shall pass, it’s all a phase

Think up some of your own, they need to resonate with you. Use positive, empowering language, speak in the here and the now…avoid words like ‘try’, ‘maybe’ or anything that implies doubt!

The more you use them...The more they will become your reality...

3, 2, 1…Relax

Maybe turn your back or leave the room for a moment or two…Seriously, I mean what's the worst that could happen?!

Simply close your eyes for a second or two…

Relax your shoulders….

Take a deep, long breath in through your nose…

Breath out slowly, elongating your breath with control through a tiny hole in your lips…

Say to yourself either in your head or out loud..."3...

                                                                                2...

                                                                                    1...

                                                                                        Relax" 

Imagine your words going down with each count...like they're stepping down stairs...

Trust me, the more often you do this, your kids will actually start to copy you…and then you can really just laugh about the whole situation!

If they look at you like you’ve lost the plot, they’ll calm down anyway as they’ll wonder why they’re not getting the same reaction from you…

Find your slow point

Create an anchor for yourself… This can be any action or subtle movement or action which you become familiar with that brings about a certain feeling; in this case, calm, collected patience and compassion! (not much to ask for I know- but no one said this mothering lark was easy!)

So I suggest using your thumb and index finger, bring them together to touch every time you you’re your voice rising, that feeling where you’re gonna either yell, cry or run for the hills with a massive glass (or bottle) of gin in your hand!

You can subtly do this without the children knowing, it’ll take a while to get used to but it’ll become familiar and you’ll find yourself doing it subconsciously in response to any triggering situations that normally get a rise out of you…

Defrazzle

So regular deep relaxation, hypnotherapy, affirmations, and general mindset work all work wonders on increasing your patience and reducing stress and tension. As I said before, you cant change other people, but you can change your response to them.

In August, I'm running live Mellow Mumma Defrazzle sessions online - check out the details on my Facebook Page, or hop on over to my shop and treat yourself to a Defrazzle MP3 or two- because you TOTALLY deserve it...

And then watch how much easier it becomes to use all of the above when things get shitty and those witching hours- or any other time for that matter-become too much.

You may still fancy a glass of wine or two- we’re all human- and who the hell wants to give up wine? but it might become easier to wait until Friday…okay maybe Thursday?!

Take it easy Mumma, be kind to yourself...you're doing a bloody awesome job! 

Georgie xxx