Improving My Miserable Afternoons
I’ve mentioned many times that my afternoons are often quite miserable. After all those hours inside, I start feeling the walls of my house are closing in on me, like Luke Skywalker in that trash compactor. And dealing with the kids’ bickering and whining on top of chasing after my adorable/non-stop toddler who has somehow gotten his hands again on scissors/a permanent black marker/a wine glass–it’s just, well, miserable.
And at the same time I am aware of an important Rabbi Nivin concept called “paradising” which tells us that we are not allowed to grin-and-bear miserable situations. We have to actually brainstorm and think of ways to improve them. To turn our misery into paradise (or at least not quite so miserable). I did that last year with my once miserable mornings– and it worked (the secret, I started doing EVERYTHING the night before, from making the lunches to dressing my little kids for the next day before they go to bed– please DO NOT tell my dear MIL:)).
So the other night, at the Kotel, I was brainstorming about paradising my miserable afternoons. Here’s a few thoughts I had on the topic. I’m posting them here in case my ideas might help you, and also with the hope that maybe you can add some ideas to help me out:)
1. Every day, after I pick up 2-year-old Yonatan at 1:30 and 4-year-old Yaakov at 2 PM, I take them straight to the playground. There I enjoy myself sitting in the fresh air and talking with other mothers and also reading (which is my personal equivalent of eating chocolate). So that means we only get home around 3 PM to start my miserable afternoon.
2. When we get home around 3, I always have a few things to organize–like heating up soup for the big kids’ return from school at 4 or moving laundry from the washer to the dryer. And then at 3:30, I lie down for half an hour on the sofa, which I enjoy greatly because I am always wiped out by that point. So that means my miserable afternoon ACTUALLY starts at 4 PM.
3. So, in reality, my miserable afternoon only lasts between 4 and 7, at which point Yonatan goes to sleep, and my other kids are being put to bed by someone else. Just 3 hours, that’s manageable.
4. A way to whittle down those three hours to 2 hours and 45 minutes of misery? I can take a 15 minute break at one point, drinking chicco and reading a book (i.e. chocolate) at the kitchen table.
5. And another way to whittle those 2 hours and 45 minutes down to 2 hours and 35 minutes? When my older daughter comes home, I can go on a walk for 10 minutes to get some air and talk with Hashem–and praise Him, thank Him, and ask for His help getting through my miserable afternoon.
6. Another idea to uplift the remaining miserable 2 hours and 35 minutes? I can take “finger photos,” which means that when my kids do something cute or imaginative or funny, I tap my thumb with my index and middle finger. That’s how I take a “finger photo”– reminding myself that this is a wonderful mothering moment I would like to capture and remember.
So those are my ideas to upgrade miserable afternoons…And I would love to hear what’s worked for you too:)