Surviving Miserable Afternoons in Jerusalem: My Update

Surviving Miserable Afternoons in Jerusalem: My Update

Here’s my 2-week update on the post Improving My Miserable Afternoons.

While it’s still a challenge, my 4-7 situation has been improving somewhat. Here’s a few things that are helping:

* I lock myself in my bedroom for 10 or 15 minutes to fully focus on something uninterrupted. For example, I read an article online or I check my Emails or readers’ comments. The first time I did this I returned to my kids feeling so much calmer, healed even. I realize that part of what’s so hard for me between 4 and 7 is that with all the kids home it’s so non-stop and frenetic, like there’s a strobe-light in my kitchen, that I end up getting irritable and overwhelmed. JewishMOM sensory overload. Focusing fully on something with nobody bothering me makes my brain feel so much better.

* Leaving the house. Taking a few minutes to walk outside and express my gratitude to Hashem and request his assistance is helpful. Or, when possible, it helps to get out of the house for half an hour or more. Yesterday, when my older daughter came home who could watch the other kids, I took 6-year-old Tsofia to pick out new glasses, how wonderful to have a chance to see Tsoofy outside of the 4-7 strobe-light, and to come home happy and recharged. Tomorrow I will take all the little kids to a performance from the community center. Getting out of the house–on my own or with one or all of my children can single-handedly rescue a drowning afternoon.

*Music I love. Playing loud. I tend to get really into a certain song for a few weeks, and listen to it over and over to inspire me. For a few weeks I was listening to Yaakov’s Shwekey’s “I am a Miracle.” Right now, the song that is getting me through my challenging afternoons is this one…OK, I know this is weird, but I imagine Hashem is singing it to me. No matter how many times I hear this, the chorus never fails to make me smile, and it always brings tears to my eyes when I imagine Him saying, “If this world makes you crazy, and you’ve taken all you can bear, you call Me up, because you know I’ll be there.”


  1. I also take a break and lock myself in the room. Now I am reading the book on Rebitzen Henny Machlis, thanks to you. It’s a wonderful book and I feel better just reading a page or two and then getting back to the kids.

  2. Chana Jenny,

    I combined two of your suggestions. I am reading the book about Rebbetzin Henny and then, as one of the Jewish Moms suggested in another context (Miserable Afternoon?), I write these on index cards and put them in strategic places to find and contemplate. I also did a Way To Go Chaya Rivka at your suggestion.

    All these tips, although they seem small, make a huge difference. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

  3. Hi,
    I’ve been struggling w/hard afternoons for years too. And a few weeks back I actually decided to try something that seems to be working very well… FINALLY!!!
    so i decided that I have to look forward to my afternoons w/them w/great anticipation. and what in the world could make me excited for that????
    So, I decided I have to do things w/them that I LOVE!
    And having a set weekly schedule would help it be more organized.
    So I decided that every single Monday we would go out of the house. In snow or rain… To a museum, library, book store (and buy a book for only one kid each time.. they have a rotation), go out for ice cream, go to a park, go to the pool, dollar store, etc. We have a list of cheap or free places that we came up w/together, and each week we choose one to go to. Doing something new and different, out of the house, is fun and different for me as well as for them, and everyone is in a nice and happier mood usually.
    Tuesdays is art day, and we choose a cool idea from Pinterest each week. there’s free/cheap/even healthy food ideas to do. for every age (mine are ages 2 , 5, 6, 8, and 9). when that doesn’t work, we just print out coloring pages from the internet, put on nice music, and sit and color together.
    Wednesdays I decided to do an hour of special time with only one child. so immediately after i pick them up from school they all go to a babysitter except for the child whose turn it is to go with me. we go get hot cocoa, talk ALONE, play tic tac toe, etc. it’s been WONDERFUL!!! by the time we have to pick up the rest of the kids, they have to do hmwk, and i have to start dinner, and the afternoon is finished 🙂
    Thursdays is movie day. Yes, I let them watch movies. of course, only ones that I approve of. cartoons that are not violent, modest, and have nice values. I’m sure that’s better for them than experiencing their mom scream at them every day cause she’s so overwhelmed with them. So I sit w/them and we watch.
    Fridays we all help prepare for Shabbat and there’s not much time.
    So there goes my week. I’ve been doing this for a few weeks, and I’m so much happier, they are so much happier, and I am not feeling like a guilty, bad mom. Instead I’m proud of myself that when it’s time to get my kids from school, I look forward to it with anticipation. I feel like a good mom. And that feeling carries on to the rest of the night, next morning, etc.
    Try it!! It’s been wonderful for us. figure out what’s doable for your family and what would make you look forward to your afternoons like its the most exciting part of your day. and then do it!

    • wow, I am really impressed! kol hakavod…

    • This sounds amazing, what great ideas!
      I usually go to the park or make playdates, but my kids are younger – 5,4, 2, 5 months, so ew don’t have to deal with homework yet 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing Jenny! It’s nice to know that there are others in the same boat 🙂

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