Mum peak hour

Mum Peak-HourThis morning I had an 8.45am meeting, but the uniform shop at school didn’t open until 8.30am. Ordinarily the uniform shop opening hours factor into my day exactly never, but not this day. This day Lottie needed socks, shorts and a shirt for Mod Ball because she has mysteriously made it into the PSSA Mod Ball Junior Squad at school.

“What’s Mod Ball?” I asked, after the requisite cheering and wooting at her news.

“I’m not sure,” she answered.

Like I said, mysterious.

The posted 8.30am opening time for the uniform shop was pushed to 8.38am because the team was so busy trying to pack Mod Ball orders. I sweated out the front, staring down the closed Uniform Shop door and joking with my mate KJ that we would storm the joint if it didn’t open by 8.40am.

I bought the kit, slung it Lottie’s way and raced out the door, yelling, “Have fun at Mod Ball today! Play your best! Love you! No really, I doooooo!”

I ran to the car, literally sweating by this stage, slammed the car into Drive, puttered along at 40km/hr for what seemed like days, zipped on home, paused momentarily as I got out of the car to grab the bag of abandoned fried zucchini flowers that were making the car smell like a fat trap (sorry Nonna, we left them in the car last night!), ran up our mountainous driveway, ran up the crumbling front steps, threw my handbag in the vicinity of the hook by the door, carouselled into my desk chair, logged into my computer, clicked on Skype and made the meeting call at 8.50am.

Phew. Five minutes grace is perfectly acceptable, right?

It’s not often my work and home life collide so spectacularly, but peak-hour occurs twice a day like clock work regardless. Those mornings, those evenings.

In the evenings when the kids were small, by 6pm I felt like my head was going to explode. I would probably have let it, but I knew it would be up to me to clean up the mess so no. Things aren’t much better now the kids are older, although, hallelujah, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to supervise a bath or dress a child.  The horror hour has switched to 8pm (later dinner time, later bath time, later bed time, means later witching hour), but the feeling of “aren’t you in bed, already?” remains as heavy as ever.

Each night, at 8pm, I’m just 100% ready to clock off. I’ve done the mothering thing, we’ve all had a lovely time, but I want to go home now. Unfortunately, the kids’ bedtime is now 8.30pm for the girls and 9pm for the boy, so… I don’t get to go home when I want to.

Some nights, if we’re out, the kids’ bedtime might even stretch until 10pm or so, in which case I am so over them that my teeth hurt from fake smiling. We get home and all the good nights are said and the cuddles and the kisses and the I love yous and I say, “why are you still here? Why aren’t you in bed?”

Then, because for some reason it never quite went away as the kids grew older, it’s “Tuck In Time”. Tuck In Time involves more cuddles and kisses and I love yous, but this time in bed. With added, “My tummy hurts” and “I’m a bit scared about that thing that’s happening 6 months from now and desperately need to talk to you about it right now” and “I’m bleeding!” moments. Always brought up right at bedtime. It’s really Fuck It Time, but don’t tell the kids.

Mum Peak Hour. We can’t avoid the morning / night traps. We can’t rat run around them. We can’t even elect to go home a bit early to miss the 8pm rush. We are stuck in the bumper-to-bumper traffic with three kids in the backseat bickering because one of them found a stray hair that didn’t belong to them on their leg and someone needs to pay mightily for daring to randomly discard hair. on. my. leg.

I wish I could offer words of comfort for all my fellow mums travelling through Peak Hour twice a day, every day (we don’t even get weekends off! I know!). But there are none. These are the grit-your-teeth-and-just-get-on-with-it moments that every mother knows well. The moments that make us question why we ever signed up for this gig in the first place. But hear this: these are not the moments we should be focusing on. Rather, these are the ones we need to drive straight on past, without a backward glance in the rear-vision mirror.

When are your peak hours and what do you do to get through them?

{Image: Pexels}


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  1. says

    I feel ya! Especially the night time peak hour. Gone are the days of putting my butt on the couch at 7:30, kids in bed, cup of tea in hand. Now it’s more like 9pm! Urgh!

  2. says

    Oh the ‘Mum Peak Hour’ this is p-e-r-f-e-c-t!
    Today I’m still not quite recovering yet from my morning peak hour shift (which is crazy since it is 11.30am!)
    8pm scares the life out of me, I dread it more than the dentist these days
    When did 8pm get SO hard!?
    Why can’t they “want” to relax in bed reading a book, feet up, taking a time out from their day….why??
    Or at the very least….why can’t they let me do it?
    Love this post Bron xx

    • Maxabella says

      Why aren’t they as over us as we are over them? I imagined a later bedtime might result in a little down time time in the bedrooms, instead, they are still ON ME. Blah! x

  3. Jennifer says

    Ahh yes morning peak hour is horrendous! Last year I volunteered to swap the readers over every Monday morning. thing is, I had to be at the office to let everyone in at 9am sharp. Of course, every Monday either the readers weren’t available, the door was locked and I had to find someone to open it or I would be cakoled into swapping the reading over for 2 other classes. Driving to office every Monday mornings I had fine beads of sweat on my brow from the epic book swapping marathon
    Needless to say, this year I am not the official reader swapper-overer. As it appears that I am not qualified enough (in the area of time-management) to complete said task efficiently 😀 Damn shame that!

  4. Jenny Rees says

    The older they get the later it seems to be……I just want to sit down with a cup of tea and relax by 8pm. So totally know what you mean

    • Maxabella says

      I swear we weren’t allowed to hang out with our parents half as much as my kids feel the need to hang out with me. I need to talk to my mum…

    • Maxabella says

      We are mad to think that parenting isn’t exactly the same shit fight for all mums. Some handle it much better than others, but it’s still a juggle and a struggle a lot of the time. x

  5. Carly says

    As the mum of a 1 and 5 year old 7.30pm is my favourite time of day lol…guaranteed bum on sofa time…I cringe at the thought of what’s ahead with older kids and later bed times. I often talk with my girlfriends about my parents ‘1980’s’ style parenting and how i know for sure there was a very clear line between adult time and kids time…I’m thinking a renaissance is in order lol

    • Maxabella says

      I think so too, Carly! I little less ‘family time’ in the home would be a grand thing for so many of us. The good news is that you get a lot of that as the kids get older. Surprise, surprise, they don’t like being ON US 24/7 anymore and will occasionally even remove themselves to their bedrooms SPONTANEOUSLY. Marvellous stuff.

  6. says

    Great post. It has been half term here in England and my pet hate is coming home from work to find a sink full of dirty dishes left there by lazy teens. Today I took a day off and haven’t seen much of them apart from lunch time when I made them something. Parenting is not easy at all. I’m glad that I took today off, as I’ve managed to do some catch up as well as some time spent doing stuff that I love and need to do for my sanity’s sake!

    • Maxabella says

      Glad you made the most of your day, Cathy. I think the hardest part of mothering the kids when they get older is that we are suffering from mum burnout. We’ve been asking the kids to put away after themselves for a very, very, very long time. Sigh. x

  7. says

    Loved this post Bron. Our Miss Yin (now 13.5) has dance four nights a week and three of them until 8pm. It really stuffs up what should be an earlier bedtime for her 7 year old brother. And with me teaching yoga and getting home at 7.30 one, sometimes two nights a week it feels like time keeps pushing back. We have Wednesday night reprieve, which feels so precious.

    • Maxabella says

      Oh my! Such a BIG schedule, but you make it work, right? Ari was obsessed with gymnastics for a while there and at they gym four times a week. I was secretly a bit glad when she gave it all up…

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