The 5-7 PM parenting shift

There is a period in EVERY day that parents hate. It starts at about 5PM with dinnertime and ends at around 7PM with bedtime (except it never ends at 7PM. NEVER).

5PM: Dinnertime.

The hell of dinnertime starts at about 5.00 PM. This is the time when most of us are cracking open the gin or wine. Checking Facebook every 1-3 minutes through complete and utter boredom. And asking ourselves, ‘Do my kids really need to eat dinner EVERY day?’

It’s not because we’re cliches and we think it’s cool to talk about gin and wine. It’s because that’s what we are actually doing. We need something (anything) to make the next two hours (HA HA) remotely bearable.

It’s like groundhog day. But much, much worse because at least Bill Murray only had himself to think about and he got some sleep at night.

It’s the time when we’re most likely to stick pins in our eyes. Because it isn’t a Pinterest moment, where children eat a variety of coloured foods and jovially chat about their day. It’s a moment where they whine and push white stuff around their plates, the floor and each other whilst we repeat, ‘Eat your dinner. Eat your dinner. Eat your dinner,’ on loop for 45 minutes like robotic idiots.

After which time, we give up completely and scrape all the plates into the bin, pour ourselves another gin and check Facebook. Just in case anything exciting has happened since we checked it 90 seconds ago. (It hasn’t.)

Still, the best is yet to come. Bathtime.

6PM: Bathtime.

When I first had a baby and possibly even before that, I thought bathtime was lovely. Getting her all clean, that lovely baby smell and putting her in a fresh, white babygro. I might even have used some organic body lotion on her.

Now? With three of the buggers to wash? We have a sort of informal rota, which basically involves me sniffing each of them to see who needs a bath most.

On the odd (frequent) occasion that I can’t remember the last time any of them had a bath, I stick them all in there together, sit next to them on the toilet (lid down) with a gin in a can and yes, you guessed it, check Facebook. Even though there is nothing to check because I’ve checked it every 75 seconds since dinnertime. AND STILL ABSOLUTELY NOTHING NEW HAS HAPPENED.

They flood the bathroom because I’m not paying attention. I shout.

And that sets the tone for bedtime hour.

6-7PM: The Bedtime Hour.

This is the biggest con of ALL time. And CBeebies should be sued.

Because I have NEVER, not once, known The Bedtime Hour to last an hour.

We don’t sit mellowly on the sofa watching Iggle Piggle float on the sea and Upsy Daisy get in and out of bed. We do alternative stuff like object to the pyjamas I’ve chosen. And try and wear completely inappropriate outfits to bed (the other night Godivy went to bed in a ballerina outfit and a fluffy white bear hat) whilst arguing over what to watch on Netflix. (Netflix, you are ruining and saving my life all at once. I hate you.)

About this time, the other half might come in from work. Just as we can’t take another single minute and are prepping the kids for imminent bedtime with a countdown, to minimise the chance of any meltdowns. ‘Five minutes to go, now it’s three. OK you have one more minute.’ (Patronising tone optional.)

‘But, I haven’t seen them!’ the other half will say, in the gleeful manner only parents who haven’t spent 12 hours with their kids can, as they throw them up into the air one by one.

And there, in that one, ‘innocent’ action all your futile wind-down efforts are immediately shot to s***.

And you’re lucky if the kids are in bed by 10.

If any of the above offends you, sorry. But I’ve been doing dinnertime and bathtime for six and a half years and I’m jaded. If you think ‘this girl’s got it down!’ please like/share/comment on this post. And come and like/share the Facebook page (because I’ve set myself a goal of 5,000 likes by Christmas. Nothing happens when I do hit 5K, I’m just a geek like that).

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    8 thoughts on “The 5-7 PM parenting shift

    1. Unhinged Mummy (aka Janine Woods)

      Wow bath time sounds EXACTLY like my house and I also count down the minutes until bed time, but I don’t know why I bother. Despite putting them to bed at seven my son doesn’t go to sleep until gone ten. Aren’t kids just the best lol. Thank goodness for gin or in my case wine/vodka (depending on how bad the day has been 😉 ).

    2. Liza Lou

      It gets a bit different as they get older. My 9 year old showers herself. But I have to tell her on a loop over and over again to get in the shower. She doesn’t always close the curtain properly. The steam in there is unbearable so I can’t sit on the loo with FB on but I come in after to deal with her hair as she can’t yet (tangled bush). Then she stands around naked for the next half hour while I nag her to put her knickers and pj’s on. You don’t manually dress them at this age but maybe it would be quicker! I have 2 younger ones as well. They bath on a different night as I couldn’t face all in one night. Bedtime routines start at 7 and end at 9. I have realised there’s no point doing it alone. I let oh do bathtime and he sits on the loo on FB instead of me while I nag older one about something or other and then I nag oh to get them to bed. It’s all good fun. Not.

    3. Lyndsey

      I thought I was alone in thinking why do kids have to eat every night!! I hate 5-7 them two hours take it out of me more then the whole day it’s self! I am lucky how ever 7.30 is bed time and they do give in a go to sleep with in 10 mins!!
      Nice knowing I am not alone!

    4. The Good Doctor

      Like some kind of masochist this other half does his best to organize work so he can be home for dinner and bath time. Last night our beloved eldest played on in the bath after his younger sister got out to go to sleep. While I was checking facebook our wonderful son who takes 20 minutes to do a poo on potty or toilet suddenly launched a massive brown torpedo into the midst of the bathing dinosaurs. After some cleanup both sleepy children were bouncing happily and laughing in a cot. We usually have some sparkling wine before bathtime, sometimes starting hours before and lacing it with sloe gin or brandy.


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