Today’s guest post is part of the “What Other Mums Do” series. Naomi from Under The Yardarm is sharing the evening routine for her family. Naomi’s children are both in school and her eldest starting high school this year.
Naomi writes beautifully and if you have younger kids and have a tough day recently you should go and read her post Shifting Time which this quote comes from:
This post is not for all those great days you have being a parent. This is for that day when it’s all too much. The days when you want out. The days when the thought of making another meal that won’t be eaten makes you cry. For the days of battling once more for a child to sleep. For the days when you drive endlessly, with a knot in the pit of your stomach, because you know as soon as you switch the car off someone will wake. This is for those days.
Evenings here can be anything from full on scheduled routine to a meal not eaten until sometime after 8pm. On work days I often arrive home between 5 or 6.30pm, unless it is The Green Eyed Girl’s soccer training day, when I walk in the door with her sometime after 7pm. Whether we are on track, or running woefully behind there is a routine of sorts for our family evenings, one that is comforting, low key, but works for us.
Usually when I arrive home Hubby will come up from his office (he works at home) under the main house. We will have a quick chat, then depending on the time I’ll grab a glass of wine, or a cup of tea and sit at the kitchen table to debrief about the day with the kids. Hubby will head back to work for a while.
Often The Blue Eyed Boy is already at the table doing his homework. If needed I’ll give him a hand. Before homework he and his sister have some household tasks to do, taking out recycling, unloading and loading the dishwasher, putting away clothes, walking the dog. After homework they are then free until the evening meal. Some nights one of them will help with the evening meal.
Meals are cooked by Hubby or myself, depending on what the meal is. We tend to have a fortnightly meal plan, shopping once a fortnight, with some supplementary shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables.
Before meals start being prepared you can guarantee the kitchen iPod dock has been put on. Music is always a part of our evenings.
Once the meal is cooked, one of the kids sets the table and lights candles. We usually eat together at the table in the kitchen, though there are nights where this doesn’t happen.
After the meal, the table is cleared. There is no set person for this, is all depends on who has what on that night.
As the kids are older, bedtime can some nights seem a long way off! More often than not, Hubby will have work to finish and heads down to his office again. Usually The Green Eyed Girl and I will spend some time watching TV in the main lounge while The Blue Eyed Boy will finish up any homework, or (more likely) chat with friends online in the kid’s lounge.
The Green Eyed Girl heads to bed around 8pm and reads for half an hour. The Blue Eyed Boy goes at 9pm, often much to his disgust. But if you ask me, even teens need a decent amount of sleep and rest. The beauty of Hubby working at home is that even if he is on a deadline, he can still come up and say goodnight to both kids.
After this time, the TV is mine. I can watch, blog, tweet, or, depending on how hectic the workday has been, snooze on the couch.
There are of course, those days when none of this happens. When the dishes are piled high unwashed on the kitchen bench. When the household chores are not done, and when takeaway food is brought home.
On those nights, we eat in front of the TV, using the coffee table to rest food on. Those are the nights I usually walk in the door and before even talking to anyone, climb into my pyjamas, pour wine and put my favourite playlist of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong on as I sit on the couch in the kitchen (it’s a big eat in kitchen!) or in warmer months sit on the back veranda basking in the sun with the stereo from the sunroom sending out soft jazz.
Those are the nights I let questions about homework slide, and don’t nag about flute or drum practice. Those are the nights minecraft weaves its way into the evenings, as well as Dance Moms on pay tv.
And that is alright too. Because if there is one thing I want my children to know it’s that some days we need to stop and let it all slide, just a little. The housework can wait.
Naomi is a Melbourne based blogger at Under The Yardarm, runner and parent to moody adolescents. When not blogging she teaches little folk, wears dresses and imagines being a foodie. A wine drinker and cocktail maker, she can whip you up a martini or pour you a glass of wine in no time at all. A rebel in her own mind, she unashamedly wears her heart on her sleeve and is the maker of fine cups of tea.
How do you relax in the evenings?