Oh, hi there. A special welcome to our new fellow Red Tenters. Grab a cuppa. Settle in. Today we start our Red Tent Survival Guide series.
First up, Witching Hour.
It’s the kale to our health. The traffic to our adventure. The unenjoyable but necessary part of the bigger picture. We face witching hour like we do a predator: With Dread. But this year, may we embrace witching hour less as something we tolerate, and more as something we can enjoy.
Here are 6 ways to survive – and actually enjoy – witching hour.
1. Turn Up The Music
Look, I never thought the day would come where I bowed down to Taylor Swift, but the truth is, we are full blown Swifties in this household. At 4 pm, I revere Taylor Swift. I’d make a shrine for her if I knew how. As Ella shakes it off, shakes it o-o-off, even a little boy I know sticks his finger in the air and waves it so hard while doing this weird panting thing, I wonder if he’s actually having an epileptic fit. And that’s just the start of it. Meghan Trainor, The Lumineers, Macklemore; they are all my Witching Hour Go-To’s because Yeah it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two. But I can shake it, shake it like I’m supposed to.
The next time you’re about to lose your mind, flip on Pandora, or your iTunes list, or YouTube and blast your feel-gooders as loud as possible without getting a Disturbance Of The Peace knock on your door by some lovely uniformed officers. Scream, yell, sing, shake it off. The crazier the better. You might scare your children, which isn’t ideal, but at least they’ll stop their tantruming while they stare at you in shock.
2. Share It
The best way to face something hard is together. We were never meant to raise our kids in isolation. Especially after 4 pm. Hell, no. I often share witching hour with my friends. Start an arrangement with a mum-friend to share witching hour once a week – one week at your place, one week at hers. The kids are fed and hosed off all the same, but you’re bypassing the boring monotony of it when you get to chat and eat cheese with your girlfriend. When the sun goes down, home you drive, jammied kids all ready to be slipped into bed, and voila, your work is done.
Likewise, invite a family member to come over after work one day a week to “spend time with their grandchild/neice” i.e. give you a get-out-of-jail-free card. My mum usually comes over midweek after work to be with my kids. She feeds them, baths them, then takes them out somewhere exciting – like the duck pond – where they are allowed to stay out ‘late’ (7pm!). This gives me the space to shower in peace, catch up on end-of-day chores in peace, or scroll through Instagram and admire people’s perfect lives in peace, just like I like to.
3. Water, Water, Water
Everyone knows baths cure pretty much anything, especially when you’ve got small people you have to live with. Baths can totally change the attitude of rascally kids, frizzled nerves and boredom. It’s a playground in itself, and you can stay in there for at least a good hour. To kids, it’s just water, but for you? Go the extra mile. Make it something you enjoy, too. Turn off all the lights and bath by candlelight instead. Play soothing music. Bring some popcorn, or cheese and biscuits. Add different household items in the bath to keep the kids surprised and entertained. Sometimes I give them kitchen utensils. Sometimes a whole stack of plastic balls. Sometimes fizzy bath bombs. Sometimes bubbles (battery-operated bubble blowers are a great idea).
A great way to enjoy something tedious is to turn it into an experience, so next witching hour? Bath to the rescue!
4. Get Outside
Even when it’s the last thing you want to do. Even when you’re tired as all hell. Fresh air does wonders for little kid’s rascally ways, and it makes you feel better, too. Neighbourhood walks, trips to the playground, chalk on the driveway, swims in your nearby creek, searching for muddy puddles, trampolines in the backyard, whatever you do, get outside.
5. Less Kitchen
There is nothing worse – nothing – than being stuck in a hot, humid kitchen at the end of the day trying to put together a half-decent meal for your whinging, ratty, bored kids. These are the moments, above any others, when I completely lose my mind. I learned early on in this gig to take on meals that are witching-hour friendly. Some days, I chuck some things in the slow cooker so they are all cooked and ready by the time witching hour hits. Some days, I grab things from the freezer I’ve precooked, like stews, or soups, or lasagna. Some days, I cook REALLY quick things like salmon and salad, or home-made pizza. The rule of witching hour is: less kitchen, more happy. Get out of there! Get out!
6. Essential Oils
Okay, forget witching hour. I have them burning constantly. Lavender to chill everyone out. Grapefruit to refresh. Sandalwood to get your people cozy. Essential oils can completely change the pace of a day, and come witching hour, they are great for smoothing out tensions and shifting the energy of a downward spiralling day.
My favourite scents/combos:
Lavendar + Lemon – grounding and refreshing
Cypress + Tangerine – earthy and calming
Pink Grapefruit – invigorating and refreshing
Rose Geranium – in my bedroom at night before bed – delicate and soft
Combine your favourite essential oils with a splash of Macklemore and the ceiling definitely cannot hold us, sisters.
Witching Hour, here we come!
“But I keep cruising
Can’t stop, won’t stop grooving
It’s like I got this music
In my mind
Saying, “It’s gonna be alright.”