The Very Best Time of the Day

Every afternoon, shortly after lunch, my girls go down for a two-hour nap (and, in Ella’s case, two hours of quiet time).

I nurse Ani, turn on her sound machine, and shut the door, then go next-door to Ella’s room and we read a book together and set her clock to 1:00 p.m. and she starts playing on her own.

I spend the next two hours writing posts, cooking and photographing recipes, working on projects, or doing other various work-related tasks.

(I just realized this sounds like I think working and having my children shut in their room is the very best time of the day. Stick with me here).

Then, Ella will burst into my office and exclaim, “it’s THREE!” And usually Ani wakes up right about this time (if she wakes up early, Ella always asks, “Can she come play in my room for the rest of the time?”) and we head downstairs for an afternoon snack.

I love snack time because it gives me a chance to pull myself out of my work tunnel vision and segue back into parenting mode (okay, and to eat a snack myself. I love snacks).

Ani, especially, must have a snack. She never really acts all that hungry until she’s suddenly beside herself with frustration and anger, and you realize, “Oh! You haven’t eaten in five hours.” If she has a snack, it helps her keep the 5PM crazies at bay (every parent of small children knows all about those 5PM crazies).

After everyone’s refueled, we have a couple of hours to spend together before dinner and bedtime. We might go run a few errands, take a walk around the neighborhood, visit the park, or just hang out at home and read books and play endless rounds of bingo.

Lately, I’ve just been feeling extra lucky to have my girls. They are at the sweetest ages, and most days are good days. I’m so glad to be their mom.

Staying at home isn’t always the easiest gig in the world (while I don’t envy Bart the homework or exams or presentations, I do sometimes wish for entire days to get my own work done with no interruptions. Also, all the free dinners he keeps getting invited to), and some days, I put the girls to bed at 6:25 because I just need to be done parenting until the next morning.

But mostly, I feel really lucky that I get to be home with them, that I can take them to the park in the afternoon and then, when we are all starting to get icicle hands, go to the library and play with the train table and sing songs in the car on the way home.

And then have bananas, plain rice, and almonds for dinner because Bart was gone, and I almost never can convince myself to make a real meal when he’s not home. So basically, like snack time all over again, except this time for dinner.

P.S. You can visit for more snack (or dinner – I won’t judge) ideas. 

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Compensation was provided by Kellogg’s via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Kellogg’s.

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  • Reply Kristin @ Going Country January 10, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Had you said nap/quiet time is the best part of your day, I would have nodded in agreement. My days have been like that lately–returning from a trip is always challenging.

    But when my kids are awake and both happy and manage to play together without any headlocks or pushing or grabbing (boys), it's a lovely thing to see.

  • Reply Nina B January 10, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    What cuteeeeeeee photos!

  • Reply Jessica January 10, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Biiiiiiig sigh. Nap time was always the best part of my day, too, because it let us all reset. Then Paul stopped napping. Margaret is great at quiet time, him not so much. There is no quiet and no staying in his room. Hopefully by the time the baby is born!

  • Reply domesticcopycat January 10, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Your little girls are so adorable. There's nothing better than I good push on the swing!

  • Reply Kallah Oakes January 10, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    I love this!! These ARE the sweetest ages! 🙂 Will and Henry crack me up.

    Good to know that Will isn't the ONLY almost-3 year old who doesn't sleep at nap time. I hear the springs creaking in his bed from his hopping around as I type this comment. 😉

    and EVERY mama needs quiet time to herself EVERY DAY. 😉

  • Reply Lauren and Joe O'Brien January 10, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    What type of quiet activities does Ella do during "nap" time? I love that quiet hour in the middle of the day too but I still let Grace (3 1/4 yrs) sleep because she is more quiet that way (vs when I temporarily cut her nap and would let her read library books, and play with an ipad in her room). And any special type of clock for a 3 yr old? (You make her wait to wake you up til 7am in the morning too right?) By the way both my kids go to bed super early too 🙂 –7pm for the 1 1/2 yr old, and 8pm for 3 year old.

  • Reply Sanja T January 11, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Snacks instead of dinner are always a good idea. And I agree, no matter how much we love our kids sometimes we just need a break.

  • Reply Laura January 16, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    I hear you with those 5pm crazies. Snacks are so important! How old were your daughters when you started giving them nuts to eat? My daughter is 20 months and chews really well, but it seems to me like nuts might be choking hazards because they are hard and small.

  • Reply Kristen January 31, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    This post sounds exactly like how I made it through the years where the husband was in school and working full time and I was on my own with a 2 year old and twins and then another baby a little later. We even had the sacred quiet time. Two hours in your room alone. My kids are older and they're pretty well behaved and able to handle alone time. I credit the early bedtimes (it's still around 7) and quiet time and a definite routine. So the point of all of this ramble was… good job. What you're doing is great.

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