life Parenting

Evening Fail

April 15, 2021

Last night with the kids was really difficult. I came home from a day of patients + a meeting and unfortunately had a poorly-timed headache come on at the end of the day.

(I think this one may have been hormonally mediated as I’ve noticed this phenomenon on the 3-4th day of coming off of the pills. I take an OCP and only come off for a few days every few months but I still dread those short stints!).

ANYWAY. So I get home and wanted to make it a nice calm evening because I felt like @$^@#. I honestly tried to set the mood and start out with lightness but . . . somehow, it didn’t work. Instead, my headache worsened as the volume in our house got louder, and IT WAS LOUD. And there was a level of physical rambunctiousness that was not good and I ended up issuing a NO IPAD ON SATURDAY IF YOU DON’T STOP warning and STILL no-one stopped so . . . no iPad on Saturday.

(Then one kid continued to push buttons incessantly until they also lost Sunday’s iPad privileges).

I don’t know. It was pretty miserable.

I probably should have taken them outside for a walk; the weather was gorgeous. BUT – headache. I really didn’t feel like doing anything. In analyzing the situation, I wish I had calmly issued a warning that if everyone did not calm down (and respect each other’s personal space + reasonable volume limits) then the privilege of watching shows for an hour at 7 pm would be gone, but I didn’t. I think I will (calmly) review that our current 7 pm ritual is a privilege and not a given and perhaps that will help.

I will end with a ridiculously cute soccer portrait.

do not mess with G.

Her mad face is beautiful . . . unless she’s mad at you! Though to be clear, most of last nights drama was about the big kids.


  • Reply Lori C April 15, 2021 at 7:09 am

    This sounds shockingly similar to my night last night… maybe it was a full moon? My kids were wrestling in their room after bedtime, screaming, which turned into crying because someone got hurt, and this repeated several times despite my multiple threats and eventually tv time got taken away for today, which STILL did not work. I know Denaye at Simple Families suggests connecting with them when they act up (hugs etc) but my frustration was too high to do that last night. You win some you lose some. I bet tonight they are perfectly well behaved!

    Also G is so cute! I would not want to tick her off on the soccer field.

    • Reply Lori C April 15, 2021 at 7:19 am

      Also – Sephora spring sale is going on!!

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 15, 2021 at 7:31 am

        I just heard!!! My allowance is low, unfortunately but I may squeeze in a few essentials!!!

  • Reply Gwinne April 15, 2021 at 7:16 am

    Oh. Do I hear you on this. The issue of course is that if you take away this privilege you sort of end up punishing yourself if you rely on screen time for quiet time for you. I run into this all the time with tiny boy. Have not really found a workable solution although I am becoming more aware of what he might do to Deescalate like an art project or a bath.

  • Reply KGC April 15, 2021 at 7:54 am

    No advice, just commiseration – and somewhat of a funny story. A good friend took TV/iPad time away from her 8 year old a few weeks back after some behavior incident. This occurred on a weekday, so the screen-free time was between the screen-required time for virtual school while friend was working from home. During the screen-free punishment time, the 8-year-old made a poster/sign in protest and marched around the house as though she were attending a social justice rally – including in and around my friend while she was on video zoom calls! Hard to keep a straight face on a work call with a little kid marching in the background with a sign and saying ‘bring back TV! bring back TV!’

    (and yes, everyone agreed that the punishment of no screens for the kid is equal punishment for the parents in some cases!)

  • Reply Gillian April 15, 2021 at 8:15 am

    OMG! I have been there! I also get hormonal headaches that have gotten worse in my 40s (sadly I have ocp associated hypertension so no ocps for me). They are just searing. I have found a hefty dose of ibuprofen and a caffeinated drink can help (but who wants to drink caffeine at 6 p.m.). Ultimately, we all have some rough parenting days. I have definitely said and done some things in the heat of the moment that I regret when it comes to my kids. But as Anne of Green Gables always said “Tomorrow is another day with no mistakes in it…”

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 15, 2021 at 8:21 am

      I took Tylenol bc i could not find the ibuprofen! The latter does tend to work better for me. Caffeine at 6pm for me would be a recipe for utter disaster 🙂

  • Reply Amanda April 15, 2021 at 8:47 am

    That face!

    It reminds me when my sister was G’s age. On the day of her dance recital, she decided she wanted nothing to do with it. My mom told her “you must go on stage with your class but you don’t need to dance.” So my sister stood on the stage in costume with her arms crossed and a similar face as G’s. Technically she listened to my mom, and we have the hilarious photos to remember it!

  • Reply ehartung7 April 15, 2021 at 9:03 am

    That picture of G is so cute!!! I love it!!

  • Reply Irene April 15, 2021 at 9:28 am

    Can you talk to a neurologist about if the hormonal headaches are migraines ( even without aura)? I have terrible migraines around my period to the point I could not care for my kids ( vomiting etc) with out my rescue medicine. Even once a month would be traumatic for my family. If it’s happening regularly it might worth it to get an Rx for an about medicine – the real thing works SO much better than Advil.

    Also, for bad behavior I try to do a time out to reset (ideally just say we are taking a break go cool off for 5 minutes somewhere and we will regroup rather than making it a big punishment but I sometimes loose my cool and it seems more like a punishment) and then require a repair action of their choosing (apologize verbally or with a drawing or do something nice for the person) to come out after really bad behavior that has hurt someone (hitting or breaking something.). I REALLY need screen time these days and I find the delay in the time to punishment decreases its effectiveness anyway.

    • Reply Irene April 15, 2021 at 9:30 am

      * Rx for an abortive medicine for migraines. Sorry typing on my phone is so hard.

  • Reply Sarah K April 15, 2021 at 9:57 am

    My OB just switched my birth control because it was causing the exact same issue – horrible headaches partway through the “off week.” Apparently hormone withdrawal headaches are a well known phenomenon. I have migraine medicine but it seems bad to treat a RX-related symptom with more RX… I’m going to try to get to the bottom of this!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 15, 2021 at 10:00 am

      My answer is to take my ocp almost continuously but every 3 months or so, I have to take a few days or (sorry tmi) I start to get constant light bleeding. Ugh! I’ll have to ask my Obgyn next time I go …

      • Reply KGC April 15, 2021 at 10:52 am

        What about a different option than ocp – like nuvaring? I have had much better luck with nuvaring over the years than any ocp I’ve been on. Though I seem to remember your ocp was also for some other hormonal-related mood symptoms so maybe nuvaring wouldn’t solve that problem…?
        (sorry if you have already considered all of these options!)

      • Reply Omdg April 15, 2021 at 11:48 am

        Why do you have to? I thought that was supposed to be a myth. Is there new data that you need to do this? I’m not up on all the new things are: outpatient women’s health.

        Also, some evenings are just like this.

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 15, 2021 at 12:56 pm

          If I don’t take a break every few months I have bleeding like daily indefinitely! So no medical reason but for me that’s why 🙂

          • teresa April 15, 2021 at 1:26 pm

            I was also going to comment that if you’re dreading the pill-free interval skip it (and all things birth control related is exactly what I’m up to date on)- but yes, the down side of that is risking more annoying bleeding. You might have done this already but you could try playing with the length of your pill-free interval to see if 1-3 days off is enough to avoid the bleeding but not get to the HA point. Or try a different formulation to see if you have less breakthrough with a different progestin. Or one of the brand-name formulations that has a small amount of EE in the withdrawal-week pills.

          • Sarah Hart-Unger April 15, 2021 at 1:39 pm

            ooh, i didn’t know that was a thing (EE in the withdrawal pills!!!). interesting!!!

  • Reply Kristi April 15, 2021 at 10:32 am

    UGH I feel you. Pre kids I would get monthly migraines at that same time. And my 3 kids get the same way. I know you didn’t ask for advice, but I’ll give it anyway. When the bugging, wrestling, fighting, etc gets out of control the threat of a future punishment rarely works. I’ve found it works better to just make them separate in that moment. Everyone has to go their own room by themselves. NOW! haha.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 15, 2021 at 4:24 pm

      Oh, I did yell that. And SO BADLY wanted it to happen! And nobody moved. (Hence . . .the no iPad spiral). Unfortunately my kids seem incapable of being alone in any room of our house. And at least one of them would be terrified at the prospect.

  • Reply Erica Sparky April 15, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    Commiseration for bad days! G’s soccer picture is a whole mood and I love it!

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns April 15, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    G’s soccer photo is amazing!!! Too cute! Do not mess with that little lady! I hate it when threats do not work – we try this with our 3yo and it always backfires. He’s too smart for us or something. I will say maybe we need to give your toys away if you can’t clean up and he will say – ‘ok give them away’.

    I hope tonight is a better night. Solo parenting is hard and then add in loud and rambunctious kids and it’s even harder – especially when you have a bad headache!!

    • Reply RH April 15, 2021 at 2:25 pm

      Then give his toys away! Never threaten something you won’t do.

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