Please stop calling me. Please. I beg of you. Between the hours of 4pm and 7pm — don’t call me. Please.
It wasn’t until my older daughter became a professional toddler shortly before I gave birth to her younger sister at the end of the summer that I finally gave voice to the fact that late afternoon/early evening in our house is otherwise known as HELL.
And when I’m in hell, I hardly want to talk on the phone. Hell, even if I wanted to talk on the phone at that time, it’s simply not possible.
My older daughter either gets home from preschool or wakes up from her nap at around 4 each afternoon. And that’s when she starts melting down. That’s also the time when my 12-week-old baby starts clusterfeeding and/or needs to be held. Which is also when I try to start cooking dinner. It’s like the perfect storm of parenting.
Yesterday we stopped by a neighbor’s house to drop off a birthday present shortly before 5. The birthday girl decided to come back to our house with us to play dress-up. I had dinner on the stove for my toddler. My baby was wailing with hunger. And the birthday girl needed help putting a dress on right now.
That’s when my mother-in-law decided to call and make sure we got home safely from our Thanksgiving travels. Or, more specifically, she knew we had gotten home safely since my husband left her a message letting her know exactly that the day before. She just wanted additional confirmation. When she heard the baby shrieking in the background, the toddler demanding dinner and the birthday girl crying to be outfitted, my mother-in-law decided she needed all the details on exactly what was happening.
When I finally wrestled her off the phone, the state health department called for a survey. I should have just hung up then. Particularly since it was something like the 14th day in a row that they’ve called at precisely 5:30p to ask some questions about our family’s health. I keep telling them to call back at another time since the health of our family is at it’s worst at 5:30, but they won’t.
My husband called after that to see how it was all going. I told him unless he was calling from his cell phone outside of the front door to inform me that he was about to walk inside, that he should hang up the phone. Quickly.
Yes, I can not answer the phone. Yes, I can let the machine pick up. But it’s a habit. The phone rings. I answer it. If it doesn’t ring, I don’t. Please stop making it ring. Please. (And for the sake of all other parents, maybe check with them, too, about their worst times of day.)
Please don’t call me between 4pm and 7pm daily unless it’s to say you’ve hired me a full-time babysitter, cook, maid, or you’re bringing over a vat of red wine and year’s supply of Valium. Please.
Is there a time of day where phone calls in your house are taken as a sign of the apocalypse?
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