Parenting Reading

Evenings Etc

September 6, 2023

Evenings feel really different now than they used to. I blame COVID for making the transition so jarring.
When the kids were little, they went to school, possibly had an after-school activity 1-2 times per week,
and that was that. When I arrived home from work, everything felt very settled and there was a natural
trajectory towards bedtime. Bedtime itself wasn’t necessarily smooth, but there just wasn’t that much I
had to do/coordinate/manage in the hours after work.

Currently, someone has an activity until 7:15 pm or later from Monday through Thursday; some night
are slightly later (7:30 or 8 pm end times). Often, two or three kids have an activity due to convenient
doubling up (A + G sometimes have dance / gymnastics classes that line up, time-and-location-wise — which is great!). I am definitely NOT doing all of the driving; it’s usually split between me, our nanny, and Josh. But it still completely changes the rhythm and feel of our weekday evenings — there is just no settling in for the night after work. It feels like it happened so suddenly I didn’t even have time to really process or mourn the loss of those quieter evenings.

As I’ve written, I’m glad my kids are doing these things. I would probably worry if they didn’t have
anything they enjoyed outside of school. I think the things they are doing are great, and the level of
intensity for each kid is reasonable. But even this moderate level of commitment did take something
away and I do sometimes miss it, especially since I skew so Lark (vs Owl) that doing things in the evening
can feel extra challenging.
At least we still have Friday nights, mostly. For now. Assuming this will change as the kids fill that time with more social stuff.

Oh parenting! The challenges never end – they just morph and change, usually without us noticing and
always without our permission.

(Also, I guess I should also *celebrate* the fact that we almost never have super early risers anymore. That phase sort of faded away without fanfare, too, and will not really be missed!)

Things really have been looking up this month. I’ve only had one migraine and think maybe LMNT (super salty electrolyte drink) might be a helpful preventative agent? It hasn’t been as severely hot/humid and I feel like I’m finally – after nearly a year! – falling into a really good rhythm on my unstructured Tuesdays and Thursdays. The weather has helped with running and I’ve had some really great workouts recently, too. It is really fun to notice improvement from day to day – I guess this is what training is supposed to do, yet the progress often seems to come in fits and starts.

I am also reading again! I am 2/3 done with Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano and wow – just wow. I
find it less pleasant and more heart-wrenching to read, honestly, but it’s so well done that I’m dealing
with it. This is our book club pick this month and I anticipate a great discussion. Next up is the new Ann
Patchett and then James McBride. I cannot imagine with those authors that this will be anything but a
stellar reading month!


  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns September 6, 2023 at 1:14 pm

    When I saw the picture of Hello Beautiful, I got nervous as it’s my fave book of the year so far. I am so glad you are loving it. It is gut wrenching. As someone from a big catholic family, it was very relatable in terms is sibling alliances, secrets, etc!

    We are just starting to dip our toe in kid activities. For now most are on the weekends but we plan to enroll our oldest in karate this fall. I kind of look forward to more activities, especially as we enter the winter months, because the time after work can DRAG!! But there is of course a happy medium. Later event times will be a challenge since our kids need to be up around 6:15 so we can be out the door before 7. But eventually they will need less sleep and will tolerate a later bedtime!

  • Reply Gillian September 6, 2023 at 2:10 pm

    The new Ann Patchett was good. I read the whole thing over this past weekend. Interestingly my daughters sleepaway camp has a little cameo. It’s not a particularly well known camp so I am not sure how it ended up in there, but it was a fun surprise.

  • Reply MarRab September 6, 2023 at 2:37 pm

    I have three daughters (4, 6, 7) and we did alllll the activities last year after school. We found out very quickly it did not work for us. While my daughters enjoyed the activities, they enjoy being home and having calm evenings more. This Fall I have limited my girls to one activity, Girl Scouts, which is 1-2x a month in our area. I notice my girls are happier all around not being rushed from activity to activity after school each day. We are all enjoying the slower pace and a nice early bedtime. We’ll see how long this lasts, but, in general (and as a teacher), I feel that many children are being shuffled around entirely too much after long days at school.

    • Reply omdg September 7, 2023 at 7:14 am

      In our public school district there are a number of activities that are offered after school starting in 6th grade, and there’s also a late bus to bring the kids home. Recognizing that we are lucky to live in such a well financed district, I will say it’s SO much easier than having to drive to evening activities until 8pm every night. I do think activities are important for kids so they can make friends and explore interests, especially when they get older, but I cannot tell you how happy I am that my daughter has no interest in travel sports.

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 7, 2023 at 9:21 am

        Our school has some sports but they are skewed towards the older grades! That does sound awesome and more convenient.

        • Reply omdg September 7, 2023 at 9:47 am

          I almost died from happiness last week when I learned about the late bus.

        • Reply omdg September 7, 2023 at 9:48 am

          Also, daughter still does horseback riding one evening per week, and dog agility another, so we still wind up with two late nights. Four evenings per week might actually kill me haha.

  • Reply Caitlin September 7, 2023 at 6:03 am

    I have been taking Ultima electrolytes 2 times a day and have also noticed that has alleviated my headaches and migraines—and I’m not training for a marathon!

    I also couldn’t believe the number of comments on your post about migraines—so many women share this affliction. I feel like it must have something to do with hormones as it doesn’t seem to affect men nearly as much. Also I wish there were more solutions being worked on and researched. Maybe there are and I’m just not aware if it, but my cynical side says there doesn’t tend to be much attention paid to women’s pain.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 7, 2023 at 6:14 am

      I will say there has been an explosion of new effective pharmaceuticals for migraine in the last few years (Ubrelvy / Nurtec / Emgality / etc – the CGRP inhibitors). But you may be right. and YES so common. Unfortunately after posting I ended up with a migraine (I had a tough speed workout that morning which is often a trigger) so I don’t think the sodium/LMNT is magic but it still may be helpful.

  • Reply Jenny September 7, 2023 at 9:26 am

    Ah, your schedule sounds hard! Once I’m done with work I want to be settled in for the evening, and I get very scattered when we have to be out. We have evening activities THREE nights this week, which is above the norm, and I’m feeling discombobulated. But, I only have one kid at home and she’s not into sports, she’s into music. The music activities tend to be concentrated at certain times, so a lot of times we have a very “peaceful” week.
    I use LMNT after almost every run. If it’s a shorter run, I mix half a pack in with a glass of water. If I do a longer run, I’ll have the whole pack. I don’t get migraines, but I do notice I get fewer headaches in general when I use LMNT. You run a LOT of miles, so you need it- I’m glad it’s helping you.

  • Reply Daria September 7, 2023 at 10:39 am

    With kids ages 3 and 5 there is absolutely nothing in the evenings and one gymnastics class on Saturday mornings for both of them. That’s it. I cannot fathom having four + evening activities but then again, my kids are still small. I agree with other commenters that activities are good for them to make friends and explore interests but not when it’s at the sake of my mental health and family time… Will cross that bridge when we get there in a few years but for now we are determined to keep it to ONE activity at a given time for each of them.

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