Why do the hours between 3 pm and 8 pm always feel like such a mad scramble?
No matter how organised you are, how well you’ve planned ahead or how content everyone has been throughout the day, that time slot somehow often feels like a ticking time bomb ready to explode in a whirlwind of afternoon activities, chores, dinner, bath-time and bedtime bedlam — ever just want to hide away? Don’t feel bad, we’re all feelin’ it!
And if you’ve ever thought, “I love my kids but how on earth do I get through these crazy hours without losing it or locking myself in the pantry to cry silently into a packet of chocolate chip cookies just to get a moment of peace?” then keep reading!
I’ve got 3 practical ways to get you through those hours (mostly) unscathed:
1. Identify what’s in your control
As mums, it can feel like we’re at the centre of a storm – or “The Suck Zone” as Helen Hunt’s tornado chasing character calls it in the movie, “Twister”. It’s the point when the twister basically sucks you up.
The stress of wanting to do everything right, and the pressure to be present, patient, and perfect while simultaneously stirring dinner, helping with readers and making sure the dog gets fed – is a bit like the Suck Zone, it can feel incredibly overwhelming.
But can we be real for a sec – we can not control everything. And nor should we want to! Being a parent isn’t about achieving perfection, it’s about ‘good enough’.
It’s time we start recognising what’s in our power and what isn’t. Here’s a quick exercise you can do to gain some perspective on this:
Grab a pen and paper, draw two circles, and jot down what you can control (like your reactions and time management) versus what you can’t (like how others react or unexpected events). Put this up somewhere you can see it often. This is your visual reminder of where to channel your energy.
2. Understand your triggers
Do you snap when the dinner you spent so long preparing is met with “Yuck!”?
Or when your partner breezily strolls in, asking about tomorrow’s plans, just as you’re struggling to get the kids into the bath?
Or when you’ve finally sat down for the first time all day, only to hear the crash of a toy bin being dumped out in the next room?
Identifying your ‘trigger moments’ is the first step to getting a handle on them.
Next time you feel that familiar rush of frustration, take a deep breath, pause, and think about why it’s bothering you.
You can go one step further and keep a small “trigger journal”. Note down situations that upset you. Over a week, you’ll spot patterns. With that knowledge, adjust routines or prep mentally to handle them better next time.
Remember, it’s okay to ask for a timeout!
3. Embrace more of what feels good
Among the messy, overwhelming parts, there are those beautiful moments we wish we could freeze. Maybe it’s when you share a laugh over a spilled bowl of spaghetti or those few minutes you get to snuggle on the couch.
Identifying those moments that bring you joy is a good first step — aim to create more of those moments. At the end of the day, the mess will get cleaned up and everyone will (eventually) get a good night’s sleep but it’s these moments that matter the most.
Remember even on days when you feel like you’re drowning in a sea of stuff everywhere, tantrums, and ‘to-dos’, you’re doing an amazing job. Motherhood isn’t about achieving perfection — not even close. It’s about love, learning, and growth (for them and for us).
And if you’d love to have a few more tools in your belt to have more of those moments and navigate the challenging ones with more ease, I’ve created a 20 page pdf packed with handy tips, simple strategies and practical steps to help you find calm amongst the chaos.
I created The Feel Good Formula eBook to reassure you that you’re certainly not alone in feeling overwhelmed and to give you ways to stay grounded and connected as you move through the mayhem of the busy afternoon and early evening hours (no matter what’s going on.)
The Feel Good Formula is just one of the incredible resources included as part of Illuminate, my 6 month group coaching experience for mothers who know that when they thrive in life — their kids do, too.
It’s a beautiful blend of tools, daily practices, motherhood wisdom and a welcoming community to guide you through the hard days and support you to reignite your spark and illuminate your life from the inside out.