It is the great divide between the breeders and the childless in society….The witching hour(s).
Blissfully unaware non-parents will spend the hours between 4pm and 7pm wrapping up a few things at work, heading home for dinner, or perhaps even heading out to meet up with friends for a jolly laugh and a beverage or four. They’re looking forward to seeing their partner and having an intimate chat about the day, maybe also about politics and their life dreams…. The day is done, they’re ready for some fun. The biggest wrinkle in their afternoon will be battling traffic to get home.
On the other side of town is a completely different battle. There is a mother battling the desire to just walk out the front door and not come back. There is a father battling his need to pick up a bottle of scotch and start drinking. There are infants battling wind, colic, exhaustion. There are toddlers everywhere, battling EVERYTHING.
The only time the two sides will collide is when a childless person inadvertently picks up the phone to call their mum friend.
Have you ever had one of those nightmares where you’re walking down a dark hallway lined with doors and you pick a door only to be greeted with the most horrific, face-melting scene of roaring terror that tries to suck your soul out of your body and you wake up gasping for air? That’s that phone call.
The call is, at most, two minutes long in which approximately two full sentences are spoken in between yelling and shrieking and crashing and swearing, followed by the phone being dropped on the floor and kicked under the couch while the poor innocent caller is left crying “hello? hello?” into the abyss before hanging up, fed-up, forlorn, forgotten.
While scientists insist time doesn’t move any slower during the afternoon, anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise. Ask any parent and they’ll tell you the morning was great! There was giggling and playing and learning and all sorts of fun stuff. And then after nap time?
Like swimming in mud.
The previously adorable child refuses to exist anywhere but on mum’s hip and will claw handfuls of thigh flesh in an attempt to scale Mum mountain, whinging and whining all the way to the top. The infant watches the clock tick over to 4pm and starts wailing in agony and refuses to stop until 7pm. The toddler insists on opening every cupboard and drawer in the kitchen so he can throw every item he finds on the floor to create a fun obstacle course for mum as she cooks dinner.
And then dad walks in the door and things get ramped up to Factor FUCK.
The only intimate moments in this house will be the silent nod one parent gives when the other holds up a bottle of wine. Their life-dreams are “that you do bath-time tonight”
The witching hours are a collision of wills and an ignition of frayed tempers. It’s an all-in brawl of over-tired people who just want the day to be OVER already.
Of course, the witching hours do end. Eventually they dissolve into the most wonderful time of the day. Bed time.
It’s a bare-knuckle, knock-down, drag yourself over the line with bloody fingernails race, but you all get there in the end.
And then, after the longest few hours of your life, the little people, all clean and smelling fresh, wrap their sleepy little arms around your neck and instantly you panic about how fast it’s all going.
How’s witching hour in your house today? Is everyone still alive?
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