How do you handle the evening hours?

Wendy - posted on 03/22/2012 ( 14 moms have responded )

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I am a full time working mom with a 7 week old son and almost 3 yr old daughter. My husband works evenings so it is just me to do it all. I am going back to work very soon and am scared how the evenings will be. My little guy fusses really bad in the evening and doesn't settle down until about 7 -730. My daughter is also tired and cranky (as am I most of the time - LOL) I need to cook dinner, get them both bathed and my daughter into bed. I haven't gone back to work yet and I sometimes want to cry in the evening. I hate to wish the time away - but it can be so taxing. Any good tips on dealing with the evenings. I also would like to clean house and exercise sometime......Also if anyone has good crock pot recepies that even a picky toddler would eat - I would greatly appreciate it!!

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Kit - posted on 03/23/2012

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I am a full time working single mom and can totally relate to your worries...my daughter is now 8 yrs old, but when she was younger the evenings used to be sooo chaotic. I definitely agree that a crock pot is a GREAT IDEA! Try this website for recipes - slowandsimple.com



What I had to do to keep myself sane was set up a schedule for myself....everyday I try to make sure the dishes are done, the house is straightened up (toys put away etc.) before I go to bed, but if something doesnt get done I have learned to relax and forgive myself, sometimes I am just too tired or too busy having a good time with my kid. Then Saturday mornings are my deep clean day. On Saturday mornings my daughter likes to to be lazy and watch cartoons and slowly eat her breakfast. I have taught her that this is the time that Mommy cleans so she keeps herself contained to one small area (usually the couch) with a bunch of toys and cartoons and then I clean the rest of the house around her. Once I get the area she is in she knows that it is time for her to get moving and clean her room, while mommy cleans where she was. It has definitely gotten easier as she gets older (especially getting her to clean her room), but most kids love to help so when she was younger and not so easy to contain, I would have her help....she used to love to dust and vacuum. Even if they don't do the greatest job, at least they feel good about themselves for helping.



On Sundays I do a bunch of cooking as well, when time permits. I usually bake a bunch of chicken breasts for the week....its is great because when you get home, all you have to make is the side or make a salad with chicken...I also do this with pork tenderloin. Sometimes I will also make a big batch of pasta sauce then portion and freeze it. Take it out of the freezer and put in the fridge in the morning before work and it will be ready when you get home...then you can make whatever pasta noodle you kid will eat and warm the sauce. I will also make some of the sauce meatless so we can do little pizza's as well.



It took me a while to get things sorted, but routines are great for kids and parents too. Find a schedule that works for everyone in your family and stick to it, being flexible for special events or outings. I always find children whose lives are predictable tend to behave better as well.

Hope this was helpful.

Kagisho - posted on 03/27/2012

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I used to live alone with my 3 kids (7yr son; daughters 3 and 1 respectively) about 600 miles away from my mom and their father. The hired help in that area was a desaster, I think I fired 5 maids in 3 months, so I had no option than daycare; luckily there was a lady who helped with child-minding nearby so I dropped my girls off at her place and picked them up on my way from work in the evenings; The boy was in primary so his school bus dropped hm off at a the childminders after school. I used to have to wake up around 5am,have a bath, wake everyone up and get them ready by 6:30 so we can all leave.

The evenings were always busy; between helping my son with his homework, attending the girls bathing, soothing, reading bedtime stories I barely had time to cook, let alone eat; what I did is cook all or most of the meals on saturday afternoon and freeze them ( almost like a TV dinner) I could then just warm up when we got home and dinner was taken care of. For cleaning, once a week (usually Wednesdays) I woke up earlier and tried what I could to clean, and on Saturday morning did as much thorough cleaning as I could. If it proved too much I would get a part time lady to help with the laundry; and I think because I had no fulltime help I had to teach my kids responsibility at a very early age. For instance the 3 yr old knew she had to pick up her toys befor bedtime and my son, being older learned to keep things tidy in his room and occasionally helped with simple tasks like doing the dishes.

The important trick with evenings is to try and keep a routine that means everyone is in bed by 8pm. Getting home around 5:00pm this means everything should be done within 3 hours. When they're in bed again tidy up where you can, take a nice hot bath and go to sleep as soon as possible; When they're still very small TV, computer, even social time has to be very limited. Sundays we's go to church and maybe visit friends or have friends over in the afternoon; but I always made sure that by 3pm I was home getting ready for the next week.

Another thing that helps is to lay out all you need for the next day in the evening; pack lunches or whatever they need as well; for the first few months or years it will be tough, but I believe women are made to be tough we just don't always know it. And when you feel drained, ask your doctor to recommend and energy booster; include anti oxidants in your diet and always make sure not to skip breakfast and dinner;

As for the routine, bear in mind that days are not always the same; and kids moods and needs may change so you cannot stick to it 100 percent; and keeping house sometimes has to take second place; just try to keep the kitchen and bathroom area clean, unless you have a kid with dust allergies you can sweep or vacuum perhaps once a week.

Good luck with it Wendy and I hope it all works out. also since you're both working outside i think it only fair that you hubby help out with stuff when he's around so you can reserve energy for you evening with the kids and also have time to share some loving with him. Before you know it the kids will be getting ready by themselves before you're even out of bed

Sofia - posted on 03/26/2012

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My suggestion: 1) Ask for dad's help. He should pitch in with whatever he can do during the day, cleaning, laundry etc.

2) Remember, NONE of us are superwoman. We can only do so much. So dont be so hard on yourself and expect to have everything thing done in a matter of 3 hours, along withtaking care of crying kids.

3) Find a routine and do your best to stick with it. Your kids are little so bedtime by 7 or 730 is reasonable. That gives you a few hours to yourself to relax before you hit the pillow.

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Diane - posted on 04/02/2012

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Stouffers & quick meals, clean as you go & go with the flow...just dont sweat it!

Kelly - posted on 04/02/2012

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Since you have to handle dinner and bedtime, have your husband get them bathed before you get home. That is one thing off your plate. Since you and your husband are both working, set up a cleaning schedule and rotate. I have a 3 year old and a baby also. You can exercise while they are awake. Turn up the music and have a dance party with your three year old. It will tire her out and your baby will watch you in amusement. Pull out a hula hoop or a jump rope. Sounds crazy but I hula'd my baby weight off. Then I grab the baby for some lunges, squats and lifts. The kids have a blast and will be good and tired, you have another check off your list!



It is definately a challenging time, but before we know it our kids will be getting themselves ready for bed and we will wish they were babies again. Just think of the money you and your husband are saving in daycare costs and poor your self a glass of wine when the kids go to bed!



For recipes, my son loves chicken cacciatore in the crock pot. It is the only time he eats peppers and tomatoes. He also loves beef stew. Just use any recipe that sounds good to you and throw all the ingredients in the crock pot. You can also look up Sour Cream Mushroom Chicken on all recrecipes.com. I throw that one in the slow cooked also. Good luck and hang in there!

Nicole - posted on 03/26/2012

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I have a 7 year old and 11 mo twins and my husband works nights and I work at least 40 hrs a week. I feel like a singlew parent every evening. It is very challenging. I don't get to sit down until about 9:30 every night. And kids are always fussy in the evening. There's no great tricks except quick dinners and leftovers from the weekend. Even if I have to feed my 7 year old a frozen burrito, I can easily make some steamed broccoli or grean beans and she's still getting veges. But it does get easier! Take it from a working mom with twins!

Julie - posted on 03/25/2012

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Cleaning house usually happens when they are napping, or putting them in a play pen or on your back. I would gate my toddler as I went from room to room cleaning, and give him different activities each time. The baby was on my back or front pack (in the early months) while cleaning. Cooking early on I kept the baby in the bouncer on my counter. Eye contact with you is key for them to feel safe. My toddler has his own kitchen "cupboard or drawer" with safe plastic kitchen ware" he would "cook" on the floor with me, while I actually made dinner! Working out is called a jogger/stroller for toddler and baby on front or back. The carrying and pushing alone is gonna get the heart rate up. It's good for you, and for them to take in the fresh air and see nature daily. I know it is a crazy time for you, but just take deep breaths, and try to enjoy. Mine are 7 & 10 now, the time will fly by!

Maya - posted on 03/24/2012

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I have a 4 and a half month baby, and a 4 and a half year old daughter.



I went back to work full time at 7 weeks, and at 6 weeks I was sooooo worried about how I was going to manage.



But, it turns out, it wasn't anywhere like what I imagined it to be! I'm actually having a lot of fun!



BATHTIME: all three of us get into the bath. Daughter loves to help wash baby. It's not a chore at all, just some fun family time.



Cooking: OK, this can be difficult with the baby, but give the younger one something to help out with (even if the most you get out of it is some quiet time), and pop baby into a baby carrier you can ear on your back. Kids also tend to be more inclined to eat something they have helped prepare.



And the BEST tip: get out the house!



I discovered that one by accident. Evening always seem like such a draining part of the day, with the baby niggly, and the other kid wanting some of your time too. BUT, I discovered that if you go somewhere, their behaviour changes - even the baby!



I've just signed up at the local gym, and they have a creche there. I take my daughter swimming for about half an hour, and come back to collect a happy baby as well, plus I have had some exercise, so it's a winner for everyone.



Good luck!

Lindsey - posted on 03/24/2012

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As far as bathing goes my 3 yo actually started requesting the new baby take baths with him. So I put the babies tub in first and fill it up then fill the rest of the tub up around it. We can all then hang out in the bathroom for a while. Then I can get baby washed and keep a close eye on him while I wash big brother. Then I'll take baby out and get him dressed on my bed and leave him there while I fetch brother. After he's dressed we brush teeth and then we can all snuggle up in my bed for books. Then I'll get bb in bed and can nurse the baby to sleep and get a little freedom until I need to get to sleep myself. It doesn't always work out perfectly but certainly cuts back on time. Best of luck!

Kit - posted on 03/23/2012

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Just another little note - when I make the pasta sauce and freeze it, I add lots of secret veggies to the sauce...I cut up the heads of broccoli really tiny so it looks like a spice and then I will puree some zuchini and carrots, I also use stewed tomatoes and tomatoe sauce, with lots of parmesan cause my kid loves it...she doesn't even notice the veggies :)

Wendy - posted on 03/23/2012

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My husband drops off the kids at daycare on his way to work. He will sometimes grill up some chicken we all can have during the week and he helps out with the laundry. He usually gets them outside..he would always take my daughter hiking or kayaking.

Amy - posted on 03/22/2012

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My husband works evenings so I can relate to what you're feeling! It's much like being a single parent. Crock pots are a life saver, I also have a stove that I can set to start cooking at a certain time. What time does your husband leave for work, is he able to put something in the oven before he leaves if you have it prepared ahead of time for him? Another thing I do is make extra so we eat the same thing two nights in a row, or I freeze the excess to make a quick meal another week.



When I put my daughter to bed my son watched tv, he was 4 when my daughter was born but he was used to staying up later. If my daughter was being particularly fussy at night and I was having trouble getting her to sleep I would read my son his stories and sit in bed with him till he fell asleep, and yes there were some nights he had to do it through my daughters crying.



My house is never spotless, I try to put clothes in the washer in the morning and then switch them to the dryer at night. Bathrooms I quickly scrub while getting ready in the morning, vacumning is done on the weekend. Floors hardly ever get mopped except when they are visibly dirty. I exercise when I can sometimes I wake up early in the morning, sometimes its after the kids go to sleep it depends on my energy level, I find that sometimes I'm so stressed from the night time routine that it feels good to get on the treadmill for 30 minutes.



One of our favorite crock pot recipes is:

A beef roast, a can of stewed tomatoes (italian style with oregano, basil, already in it) one packet onion soup mix (I use lipton), one onion sliced up, and mushrooms. Then I usually just make a pasta for the kids, rice for myself, and a vegetable that I know they will both eat.



Good luck!

Tammy - posted on 03/22/2012

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Who will be with the kids during the day when you will be working and what is your husbands routine?

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