“Mom. Maa. Mom. MAA. MOMMMM!”
Yep, you guessed it! It’s the witching hour, which occurs every day from exactly 5 pm until bedtime. It’s the time of day when everything goes downhill fast. Your kids are crying, your patience runs thin, and all you can think is mommy has a headache.
Your kids yell again…
“Mom. Maa. Mom. MAA. MOMMMM!”
Your kids won’t stop yelling for you. Mom this. Mom that. Half the time they don’t even need you or they don’t even know what they want. You begin to wonder if the are yelling your name at the top of their lungs just because they can. Everything in you is working hard to try not to end up yelling at the kids too.
Every day this is the hour when you are desperate for the other parent to come home. You need some sort of buffer to help get you through it. You need the other parent to help wrangle the kids, keep your emotions balanced, and for the love of sanity, allow you to cook a meal without someone incessantly screaming mom in your ear.
When the other parent is away.
My husband is gone for work quite a bit on and off. We are a military family and this is our normal. Together we chose this lifestyle, and yet, it remains challenging. Whether you are a military family or a civilian family, you probably experience separations too. It might be frequent or rare, but when you are apart, you notice the difference.
For me, my husband’s absence is palpable the instant he leaves until the day he returns. I often get choked up when he leaves because despite knowing I’m capable, I still feel anxious and scared about him being far away. Parenting without a day-to-day partner in crime is hard. It’s not the hardest or the worst, but it is challenging.
The daily grind of keeping yourself sane and your kids happy wears on you a bit after a while. The ability to tolerate the incessant mom screams before you nearly lose your mind goes out the window real fast when the other parent is absent. And the need to escape to the bathroom where you hide a secret stash of dark chocolate becomes a daily occurrence.
I never realized what a different parent I became during his absence, until he returned home.
The surprising way you change.
After months away, my husband recently returned home. As a woman in her third trimester, I was beyond ready for his return, and quite frankly, so was my toddler. We were managing just fine, but the buffer–he was noticeably absent. I found myself using TV and treats and other special things throughout the day just to get through it. I felt drained as a parent, and it showed.
Just hours before his arrival I received notice about when and where to pick him up. Similar to many of our deployments and homecomings, this pick up was again in the middle of the night. Waking from a dead sleep, I grabbed my keys and a very sleepy toddler and drove to get him sporting pajamas and bedhead. Not as glamorous as one might envision, but it was real life.
I instantly spotted him: tall and handsome just like I remembered. We smiled wryly at each other and said hello, knowing we’ve done this countless times before. Thinking back, it’s funny how my parenting changed dramatically in that moment.
It was as if the changes washed over me like a tsunami traveling over 600 miles per hour through the pacific. My patience grew to depths I forgot existed. The incessant mom screams didn’t seem nearly as loud. And that headache I had since late afternoon? It was gone.
You see, my husband makes me a better mom.
He’s the buffer to every difficult parenting situation. When things get frustrating or annoying or irritating, there’s another parent around to help make sense of it all. And when moments are filled with love or laughter or happiness, there’s another parent to share in the joy.
It’s the comfort of knowing he will be physically present at some point during the day. It’s the comfort of knowing you won’t face the witching hour alone.
Your child throwing his third tantrum today? You’ve got this.
Your kid refuses to drink out of any cup that isn’t orange? You’ve got this.
Your children incessantly scream mom throughout the day? You’ve got this.
You’ve got this because you have a partner in crime watching your back. You have support from another parent. I never realized the difference until my husband left and then returned.
Each and every day our partners make us–you and I–better parents without even knowing it.
They are our support for each up and down on this parenting journey.
They are our buffer.
Want more on motherhood?
- The Day Finally Decided to Become a Selfish Mom
- Making Peace with Becoming a Stay at Home Mom
- The Sleep Hack Every Tired Mom Needs to Try
- Top 18 Bath Toys for Toddlers to Make Bath Time Fun
What makes you a better mom? Let’s chat in the comments!
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