I have a running joke in our house about getting up in the morning. Whenever we see a really funny YouTube video or a TV show depicting a person either enduring a bad-looking but laughable injury or someone screaming their head off, I say, “That’s how I feel when my alarm goes off in the morning.” It’s silly and makes the kids laugh, mostly because it’s unexpected.
Morning actually hasn’t always been my worst time of day. That has changed with the ages of my children. Before having kids, I don’t think I had a worst time of day … oh, the memories.
But babies change everything and as they grow up, we can’t even begin to imagine how swiftly life can transform until we’re knee-deep in the trenches.
Here are the worst time of the day for parents, broken down by age:
Babies: Whether it’s sleepless nights or early mornings when you just fall asleep only to have an older sibling wake up just waiting to be entertained, the cycle of sleep deprivation can be killer. Then, of course, some people assume you’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 9am when you’re coming off a two-hour night and need a nap more than your infant.
Toddlers: Around 10 or 11am, when he’s played with every toy in the house, you’ve already been to the park or library, and you literally just counted how many hours until you can put him to bed and breathe again. Some mornings are incredibly looong.
School Age: If you have a school-aged child, I’m willing to bet you say the word homework about 42 times between 3 and 8pm. It starts with, “How much homework do you have?”, then “Are you going to start your homework now?”, and ultimately “Did you finish your homework?” Depending on each individual child’s tolerance for the after-school work and the amount that his teacher delves out each day, you might say this last phrase over a hundred times a week.
Teens: By far, the absolute worst time of day if you are parenting a teen is the very small window of time in the darkness of the early morning when you are trying to get her to wake up and get to school on time. It is the mere 20-30 minutes between 6:30 and 7am each morning that I dread more than I can explain.
At Any Age: Dinner time! Need I say more? Because that is the exact time when most of us have had it up to here. We’re trying to get food on the table, homework (ugh, that again) done, and everyone is now getting tired and cranky. It’s when you’ll see most of us break out the wine and scream the most or ramble incessantly. And seriously, don’t even think about calling a household with small children between 4pm and 7pm, as my colleague Meredith Carroll pointed out over at Baby’s First Year. Hear that mothers-in-law! Seriously, I know most people mean no harm, but it’s a terrible idea to chat at this time.
What is the absolute worst time of day for you? And how old is your child?
Alert the kids: Mommy can and will throw a tantrum!