The Dark Night Rises

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

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It's 5:30 and pitch black.

The trade-off?

Waking to sunlight, or, rather, some sort of light - even if it's not sunny.

My kids are 11 and 7, but on the cusp of 12 and 8, and yet, I remember the "witching hour(s)" between 5:00-7:00 PM from when they were babies/toddlers.

And it seems as if we are having a new uprising of the "witching hour(s)".

On the nights when we have responsibilities: Karate, youth group, etc. The 5-7 hour doesn't seem to be as cumbersome. But, when home with just homework, chores, and no real set agenda, the darkness of these two hours turns all of us into grumpy people. Maybe I've been watching way to much of "The Walking Dead," but truly, we all walk around off-balance, while moaning, groaning, and lashing out at the slightest annoyance. 

Looks like for the next few months, I'm going to have to be WAY more creative in how I manipulate this time of the evening. How? By doing some creative planning. It is my responsibility to have stuff ready to do together: 

  • bake Ninja gingerbread men with the kids (found this yesterday and tucked it away!)
  • read together out loud (we are still in the middle of the Mysterious Benedict Society, which we started over the summer - for shame.)
  • weed through Christmas ornaments and jazz and start to purge and organize for our post-Thanksgiving decorating
  • hold watching The Voice over their heads as a reward for being good
  • involve the kiddos in making dinner with me (usually happens - but I need to be more intentional)
  • institute a mandatory "Quiet 30" when iPods must be handed over, and books pulled out. Shhh.
  • find family Groupon deals for fun activities: bowling, laser tag . . . things to get us out of our funk
  • Etc.

It's really in my court. Setting the atmosphere. My thought? Creating a calendar with an activity for every night - nothing too overwhelming, or labor-intensive, but rather, something to create an atmosphere and focus on strengthening our relationships with each other. I don't want to merely "exist" with my family or "get through the day". I want to enjoy them. And since I am prone to the winter blues due to lack of sunshine, I'm going to have to create my own rays.

Anyone else have a plan like this for the dreary winter months? I'll show you my calendar when I'm done creating it! In fact, maybe I'll ask the kids to help!


Joline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be found writing at The Cuppa Jo, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel and the newly debuted SlimSavers.com. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask. 

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