When it is four o’clock in the afternoon, I am fucking done parenting. I have nothing left for my kids or anyone else who wants a piece of me. I am ready for a meal that I don’t want to cook, a glass (or three) of wine, and my bed; throw in some chocolate and you will make my biggest mom-fantasy come true. This is the time of day when my parenting skills fall well below average. If you are a mama who can pull it together at 4 p.m. and get through the rest of your night, I want what you are having. I am on empty at this time every single day and can’t deal with any of these things:
1. Answering Questions
Kids’ curious minds run all day; they never stop. It’s late in the afternoon and I don’t remember my name, but the children don’t notice. Their questions seem to get more complicated as the day goes on. I will pay the bitch who knows how to make this stop. Until then, I will tape a sign to my forehead that says: Questions are off-limits now, kiddies. Also, please pass the earplugs.
2. Discovering the Bake Sale You Volunteered for Is Tomorrow
Shit, this can’t be happening again. You forgot you signed up to bake something for tomorrow, or better yet, someone else volunteered you and you completely forgot (because you were asked after 4 p.m). It’s not fun to discover you need to make three dozen cupcakes for tomorrow night as well as get dinner on the table.
3. My Husband Calling to Say He Will Be Late
You are counting down the minutes until someone — anyone — walks through your door so you can use the bathroom by yourself. You hear your phone buzz 15 minutes before hubby is supposed to be home, with a nice message saying he is going to be home late and to go ahead and eat without him. This is also known as putting you one step closer to having a mental breakdown.
4. Not Having Any Caffeine in the House
You could have sworn there was more coffee, soda, or something that could give you a midday lift, but no, it is gone. You drank it already. You debate if it is worth throwing everyone in the car to go through the drive-thru to get your fix, decide it is, and proceed to wait 45 minutes for your kids to get their shoes on. Might as well feed them nuggets and fries and call it a night.
5. Looking at Messes
You have already cleaned up after breakfast, lunch, an epic sheet-fort gone wrong and all the messes in between. You have no energy left to deal with cleaning up anymore disasters, but desperately need the kids occupied. Letting them watch television or play on their phones until their eyes cross at this point is acceptable during this time of day.
You have already put out enough fires today, and you have no water left in your tank. Go fight it out kids. Mom is done being the referee.
7. A Fussy Child
Who can tolerate any more whining at this point? In the morning, whining is slightly tolerable, but by this time of day, it makes me physically sick to my stomach. No whining unless you are going to wine me, and well, my kids aren’t old enough for that — yet.
Especially when you realize the chicken you were going to cook has gone bad or is still frozen. You think about takeout or dining in a restaurant, but you just did that the last two nights. Bring on the hot dogs. You will do better tomorrow.
9. Your Husband Coming Home to Lock Himself in the Bathroom for a Half Hour
I get it — they have to be relaxed. They have worked hard all day and like to look over the mail. They are just asking for a bit of alone time to do their business, except…NO I DON’T UNDERSTAND BECAUSE THAT PRIVILEGE DOES NOT APPLY TO MOTHERS.
10. Realizing You Have a Meeting — TONIGHT
You are in your jammies or stained yoga pants and peek over at the calendar in between signing permission slips only to see you have something very important yet kind of dull scheduled for tonight. “Should I Stay or Should I Go” starts playing in your head.
By 4 p.m. our bodies and minds have been through the ringer, and we are ready to shut it down for the day. Somehow, though, we always manage to make it through until bedtime. Then we usually catch a glimpse of our sweet darlings lying in bed, sleeping peacefully, and start to miss them, which gives us the energy to get up and do it all over again — until the same time the next day when parents around the world start turning into pumpkins again.
This article was originally published on