The doorbell rings. “Baba’s home!”, scream the children, as they climb all over him. Even though he just spent the last hour commuting, after a long workday, he manages to conjure up the energy to laugh and smile, plant some kisses, do a few tosses in the air, read a book, much to their delight. We tackle bedtime together, and a little while later, we sit down to enjoy some hot chocolate and hang out.
That’s how evenings should go, but every couple in the real world knows that it’s not always so ideal. Some evenings can be, at their best, controlled chaos, or just plain mayhem. So we reached out to GrowMama readers to find out how to turn these precious few evening hours into quality family time for all.
When my hubby comes home from a long day at work, he appears completely exhausted. For the first 30 minutes or so, I would classify him as mentally, physically and socially numb. It drives me crazy. Also, it’s not a good example for children who run to see him at the door.
After years of discussing/coaching , we made things better. I tell my children, “Baba has to wash his hands before he hugs you. He brings home a lot of germs.” This gives Baba some down time to change, make wudu and pray salah. Usually by then, he thaws out and is ready for home life. This includes, a quiet dinner with mom ( the kids eat early) and snuggles and bedtime stories with the kids. We also play Quran often in our home, this brings everyone to a calmer state.
Sarah Ibrahim, Santa Clara, CA
Even though I’m a stay-at-home mom and I see my kids all the time, I see the need for a special time away from our busy day to wind down and get ready for bed. The solution to this problem for us is to read together as a family. With some garage sale furniture and a $10 decal, I created a ‘reading nook’ in the corner of our family room for the kids. Every evening, after dinner, we sit down,drink some milk and eat cookies and read stories. I get down to their level and read whatever story their in the mood for. Sometimes silly (Green Eggs and Ham) sometimes girly (Fancy Nancy), and always fun. As we’re reading, I get down to their level and ask them questions about the book, about their day, or about themselves. They will often read their favorite stories to me as I patiently listen to made up nonsensical words. My husband usually comes home from work towards the end of story time and asks the girls about their books and we all go up to bed. Its a relaxing, enjoyable way to end the day, get some good, solid reading in and let them know its time for bed. We’ve been doing this for a few weeks now, and we all love our reading nook!
Saba Ali Arian, Oakland, NJ
It’s hard enough coming home after a long day of work, but with both of us away during the day, our job as parents feels even more difficult as we rush to play catchup during the evenings. My husband and I have taken the divide and conquer approach with our kids. But first, we all sit down to dinner together. The most important time spent together in our house is mealtime. Once we are all fed and happy, our evenings go a lot more smoothly.
Shereen Noor, Salt Lake City, UT
I have been known to dash up the stairs when I see my hubby coming home from the window to quickly change into something cute and apply makeup and perfume. I also have a strict routine with my children. So depending on the time he arrives he will know what to expect. I think that really helps. For instance my kids bathe, and have dinner between 5-6 and then bedtime is strictly at 7pm, so no matter what my hubby and I always have from 7-11 pm of quiet, alone time every night.
Christina ElAhmar, Clifton, NJ