NOTE: I am fully aware of the fact that the song "Afternoon Delight" is about having S-E-X in the afternoon. This post is not about that. I was just trying to think of terms associated with afternoons, and this one popped into my head.
So, my latest problem is this:
I don't like the afternoons.
In the morning I'm on fire! When I wake up in the morning, I'm presented with a variety of tasks that need to be done. The cat is meowing her head off for food. When I go downstairs to the basement to feed her, I find a load of laundry in the dryer that needs to be folded. While folding, I find clothes for Nathan to put on, then nag him incessantly to put them on his body. I throw together some breakfast. I empty the dishwasher. I clean up the kitchen, which my night owl husband has managed to mess up in the hours after I've gone to bed. I grab everything we need and get us out the door (which involves more nagging), usually by 8:00 a.m.
I work out at the gym. I clean myself up and make myself look presentable. I run a bunch of errands. I feel energized! I pick up Nathan from school on preschool days. I get home and throw together some lunch. We eat lunch.
And then I am exhausted.
I think most people get tired in the middle of the day. That's why they have that commercial for some kind of energy drink, which refers to that "2:30 feeling."
What's hard is that I can't combat this exhaustion with any kind of break, because my kid takes no nap whatsoever anymore. And I realize that isn't a big problem. Most grown adults don't get any kind of break during the day, so it's not like taking away naptime now makes me the unluckiest person alive or something. It's just, somehow, almost 9 months since he gave up his nap, I am still struggling to get through the day.
The nap was such a nice break. It was such a nice regrouping time. It just really broke up the day. It meant we had energy to keep doing things in the evenings. And yes, we have "quiet time," but quiet time is a joke. It certainly doesn't get us from 1:00 to 5:00.
The afternoons just drag. There aren't a lot of organized activities for kids Nathan's age in the afternoons, because many kids his age still take naps. The gym daycare is closed from 12:30 to 4:30. It's hard to arrange any type of playdate because his friends are either napping, have younger siblings who nap, or are still at school.
I consider taking him to a museum, a bouncy castle place, or the mall. But honestly, by that point we are both tired. He doesn't need to be dragged through a series of nonstop entertaining activities just because his mom is bored. And after the crazy pace of the mornings, I usually don't feel like another battle with the coats, another in and out of the car, another big production.
I've thought about hiring a babysitter for a couple of afternoons a week, but I feel like that would just lead me to think up another series of exhausting errands for myself. Plus, that's a lot of money, and do I really want to pay a lot of money to do exhausting errands?
And I realize I'm just making excuses here. I know that. I mention all my excuses to illustrate the fact that I just feel stuck. Sometimes I wonder how I will make it through the day, just because I don't know how to get through the afternoon. I don't like worrying about how I'll make it through the day. That shit reeks of depression.
In the morning we have things to do. In the evening we have things to do. In the afternoon, there is nothing. It just drags. And as the day goes on and on, the kid gets more and more tired, and his brain shuts off until he's at the point where it's like "The Opposites" on You Can't Do That On Television: I say not to do something, and he does it.
And I'm staring down a long evening of bedtime routines, and my husband doesn't get home until 7:00 or sometimes later. And now I've set this stupid exercise goal for myself, so I have to conserve my energy because I have an evening class at the gym. Or a rehearsal. Or some kind of fun outing where I want to still be fun and chipper for my friends.
I've solved the afternoon problem on Mondays and Fridays by signing Nathan up for the program at the high school. That kills the hours between 1:00 and 3:00. Wednesdays I think I can come up with some sort of fun outing that takes up most of the afternoon, because Wednesdays are relatively open for us.
This leaves Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the worst. Nathan is tired and overwhelmed by his preschool in the morning, and I've more or less reached my limit because I spend his preschool time cramming in exercise and every possible kid-free errand I need to do. Tuesday and Thursday afternoons suck.
I thought I had a solution, for Tuesdays at least. The park district was offering a program called Little Scientists on Tuesday afternoons. This was perfect. It seemed low-key enough for an afternoon where Nathan would be tired. It would break up the afternoon, it was educational, it was relatively inexpensive, and it was local. I figured with Little Scientists on Tuesdays, our only pain-in-the-ass afternoon would be Thursday. And I could probably make it through one slow afternoon. Hell, I might even look forward to an afternoon at home after dragging my kid to various activities during all the other afternoons of the week.
Then we got the call: Little Scientists was canceled. Only two kids had signed up. Everyone else probably had to take a nap at 2:00.
So, now we're back to Tuesdays and Thursdays of endless time at home, and Wednesdays where I have to act like a damn cruise director in order to come up with some activity to get out of the house for the afternoon.
I realize this sounds like a really dumb problem, and it is. It's just, I can't believe how freaking hard is has been since Nathan gave up his nap. I can't believe how hard it is to get through the day sometimes.
I'm sure things will improve in the warmer months. I remember back in the fall when we had boring afternoons, we'd just slip out the back door and go to the park. No coats. No driving. Free and easy, and I usually ran into some other mom to talk to at the park.
And in the summer I'll be happy that he doesn't take a nap, because we can spend long afternoons at the pool or the beach. (Right? RIGHT?)
But for now, the afternoons are just hard.