The Witching Hour

THE WITCHING HOUR [as defined by yours truly] — The hour(s) anywhere from 4-7pm in which children turn into the worst version of themselves and attack their nearest prey/mama with tears, whining, and insatiable desires.


Pretty much. The witching hour brings about massive mama tears. And now, the play by play …

Nap time is over, lunch is complete, and we’re settling in for an afternoon of playing, or projects, or household chores. Jemma pitter-patters after me where ever I go. Helping unload the dishwasher … collecting dry diapers and putting them in their proper place … sitting at her desk to color or read while I’m on the computer.

I start thinking about dinner and begin pulling things from the fridge or pantry. Jemma is there, ready to assist :) Then the oven or stove goes on and I set her up in the living room with a fun toy, puzzle, or book. I head back into the kitchen and before I know it, my legs are getting a big hug and I hear “uuup, uup, uuuuuuuuup”. Her arms stretch out and I crouch down and say, “Mama is cooking a hot dinner, I need you to play in the living room.” She stares at me confused and repeats, “uuup, uup, uuuuuuuuuuuup!”

And then it begins … the witching hour. Or, some days, the witching HOURS.

We move her activity into the kitchen, a safe spot away from where I’m bustling. That doesn’t suit her fancy though. So, I juggle monitoring a toddler as I open the oven and we have a conversation about heat and why we stay away from the oven. She looks at me, puckers her lips, and blows … as if her little breathe will cool the oven and make it a safe place :) At least the concept of “hot” is making its’ mark.

Then the tears begin. Jemma wants up. Jemma wants to snuggle. Jemma does not care in the least about having dinner. She wants mama.

And, the truth is, I want to pick her up. I want to snuggle, and frankly, take-out sounds lovely. Do mamas have a witching hour too?

I speed finish dinner … guessing on measurements, tossing dirty things into the sink, and trying my best to at least get refrigerated ingredients back into the fridge. At the final moment, the moment when all hell is ready to break loose, I finish. I rescue my girl into my arms and we collapse on the couch together.

Tears subside, and whining stops as we share a dinner-spoiling snack of cereal, crackers, or fruit bits. We breath a sigh of relief, snuggle a little closer, and I glance at the clock – 10 whole minutes have passed since the kitchen meltdown of 2012 began.

Tonight, our witching hour, was a mere witching moment. As long as little miss and I are physically connected we are fine. I pull out a few story books or turn on a TV show and we sit. Holding each other, calming our hearts.

Daddy walks in the door and a wave of energy appears. We share a haphazard meal and begin our bedtime routine. Another day has passed where I was victorious over the witching hour. It didn’t beat me. I didn’t turn into a screaming banshee. Thank heaven!

Then again, there’s always tomorrow …

I pray over my sweet girl as she closes her eyes and drifts off to sleep. May tomorrow’s witching hour feel the peace I feel now.


Here’s a few other posts about the witching hour that I’ve recently enjoyed …
(Visited 253 times, 1 visits today)

You May Also Like:


  1. says

    oh man. we only had the witching hour with my boys when they were teeny babies. don't know how i would feel about them having them now.

  2. says

    Brees started her witching hour phase about a month ago. I say "phase" because it really does get better, Belle grew out of this eventually and I have high hopes that Brees will, too. The witching hour only occurs during the week, when I'm working, go figure. It's usually between 4-5:30, when I'm trying to get dinner ready and laundry started and booksacks packed. Basically, it's when I'm doing things rather than pay attention to my baby. I know it's because she misses me: I just got home from work and she wants all my attention. So, I try to just give her that. I cook with her in the Ergo, sometimes I just throw everything down and sit with her in the rocking chair. But the best remedy for us is to just go outside, get some fresh air, let her run wild. Hang in there mama, it really does get better!!

  3. says

    Oh yes, the witching hour. Some days are better than others. And some are worse than others. Every age was different too. I'm lucky that Charlie does a pretty good job of helping out (if he happens to be home on time). But I definitely feel a spike in my anxiety level as I'm trying to finish up dinner and keep everyone happy and give them enough attention. It can be really hard. You are not alone!!

  4. says

    and great links to the other sites! Got some great ideas there!

  5. ThatMamaGretchen says

    I wish Dominic could make it home by this time … Jem always perks up when "Da" walks in the door! We'll just have to weather our anxiety together and say a prayer for all the mamas rushing to finish dinner when we are :)

  6. SadieDear says

    This mama totally hits her own witching hour sometimes, especially if I haven't had a fair measure of peace at some point during the day. Those days that are non-stop from waking to sleeping make me such a grouch. I try to gauge how my boy is doing through the day, and if he needs more or less contact from me to stave off the horror. Daddy coming home makes it worse sometimes: then I have to deal with both of them at the same time! But the cuddles? SO worth it.

  7. ThatMamaGretchen says

    The cuddles do make it worth it :) Maybe I need to work on a post of how to cope with the Mama Witching Hour … I run in to it too :)

  8. ThatMamaGretchen says

    I was banking on it being one of those "seasons". We're learning to cope with it better … one day at a time :)

  9. ThatMamaGretchen says

    Yep … toddler witching hours are a whole new ball game :)

  10. says

    Wow, sounds like you wrote about most of my afternoons! I can completely relate! The sound of the front door unlocking is like music to my ears each evening, when my little one can go from screaming to "da da!!!!" in .2 seconds!.oh the relief!!


  1. […] Just typing those words makes my belly grumble and my heart leap. It’s that good. Super flavorful, super easy, and best of all, unlike traditional risotto where you have to stand over a hot stove stirring stirring stirring, this particular recipe calls for 30 minutes in the oven instead! Boom! Totally witching hour friendly. […]