‘Witching hour’ is one of those phrases you learn almost as soon as you become a mum. In folklore, it refers to a time of night when demons are thought to be at their most powerful. In parenthood it refers to the period between dinner and bedtime, when tired toddlers and fussy newborns are also at their most grumpy! Here’s how to embrace the calm and bring back the magic at witching hour.
More often than not, simply sharing the joys of wrangling kids and dinner, and everything else that needs to be handled during this testing period of time, is enough to alleviate some of the stress. Knowing you’re not alone and normalising this level of crazy is half the battle won, as it allows you to stop doubting your skills as a parent, safe in the knowledge that this is all part of membership to one of the world’s most exhausting and exhilarating clubs.
That said, there are also a few clever tricks you can use to take back your power and get the most out of every day, right up until bedtime.
Tired of dreading the toddler-baby-tantrum-cooking-bathing-feeding-distracting juggling act every night?
Add these three lifesavers to your Super Mum toolkit and we predict calm, peaceful evenings filled with magical moments.
1. Just add water
“The cure for anything is (salt) water: sweat, tears, or the sea” and the same is true of the witching hour challenge.
Pro tip: If you really want a chill night out, get ahead of witching hour and move bath time to the beginning of the afternoon.
Water play is almost always a winner with young kids, and popping them into a nice, warm bath is a great way to set the tone for a relaxing evening.
The added beauty of baby baths is that they require you to stay close by and be present. In terms of counteracting witching hour, this means your kids are starting the night off with a great big dose of attention from their favourite person in one of their happiest happy places.
A foolproof way to take the edge off and set yourself up for a parenting win.
Bonus tip: to add the salt to this genius plan, top the bath water up with muscle soothing, sleep inducing magnesium flakes (or epsom salts). While you’re at it don’t forget to pour one for yourself later, too. Plus, a glass of something delicious.
2. Music on, world off
You know you’re a parent when the red carpet for this year’s biggest music awards show is full of people you don’t know! You vividly remember your own parents being out of touch, but never thought it would be you. And yet, a couple of decades and a few kids later, here we are.
Pro tip: Get back in the game and let a little music back into your life.
While the thought of adding more volume to the chaos might be giving you sensory overload, music is actually an amazing tool for calm parenting.
It’s scientifically proven to elevate mood and reduce stress, making it the perfect fix for pre-bedtime antics.
Don’t feel like you need to blast ‘Yo Gabba Gabba’ or the ‘Frozen ‘soundtrack. Choose music that is right up your street, as it will help you loosen up, and the kids get to enjoy a few of your old school moves.
Bonus tip: The audio party doesn’t have to stop at music. You may have discovered audiobooks books and podcasts as a multitasking-friendly lifesaver for yourself, but if you haven’t yet encountered the joy of audiobooks for peace and quiet with kids then: you’re welcome.
Life is about to get amazing.
Audiobooks for kids are like having a virtual entertainer on hand for road trips in the car – and an actual pair of extra hands for keeping kids in the house and entertained while you get your evening’s done.
3. Accept help & outsource
One of the toughest lessons you’ll learn as a mum is that strength means asking for help when you need it, and not over-stretching yourself to prove you can make do without it. It’s the difference between surviving and thriving, and life’s too short for the latter.
Pro tip: Ask friends & family to share the load
The main issue with asking the friends and family in your inner circle for help is that you feel like you might be burdening them, but in reality that is rarely the case. In fact reaching out for help when you need it empowers others around you to do the same, and opens up the type of ‘real talk’ conversations that can actually save lives.
- Need help with the logistics of pick up and drop off? Put it out there and return the favour later for another Mum in the same boat.
- Need one less kid to juggle for the sake of your sanity? Ask for the playdate and return the favour later for double the brownie points from your kids.
- Need a night off cooking? Prep a double serve of an easy-to-share dish and share it with your favourite overloaded Mum, then have a night off when the favour comes back around and it’s your turn.
Bonus tip: Accept outside help. That’s right – treat yourself and get help from the professionals.
A massage is soul fuel. Hiring cleaners to do the bathrooms and floors can be euphoric. Not having to worry about what to cook for dinner is a major stress relief!
But, if you just rolled your eyes at the idea of “preparing a double serve” of food, then make it even easier on yourself by ordering in some some home-cooked meals.
No, not takeaways and associated guilt that comes with them. We’re talking about ordering in a great big batch of fresh, healthy meals.
Take a look at FoodSt: their meals are homemade with real ingredients, frozen fresh and delivered to your front door so you can either defrost and feast in one sitting, or stock up and tap into your supply on the crazy nights you need them the most.
Offer: $20 Off FoodSt
It’s time to make dinner times easier! FoodSt is giving North Shore Mums the chance to try their amazing home-cooked meals with a $20 discount voucher. With delivery direct to your door, witching hour will be a whole lot more manageable…
- Order online
- Code: WITCHINGHOUR20