4PM

I have two recipes photographed and ready to post.. well, almost. You see, I have so many photos on my computer (over 60,000) that I couldn’t upload any more! So my darling husband got me an external hard drive to move some of my photos on to that and give my laptop some relief from how full it was. There I was, diligently transferring photos, it was taking me MONTHS and then all of a sudden the external hard drive was full. I told Pierre and he basically laughed because there was no way I could have filled it up, apparently there’re more space on it than my laptop has so even if I had transferred everything over it wouldn’t have gotten full, made no sense. He ran a duplication software and low and behold… I had duplicated over 10,000 photos ON THE HARD DRIVE. Basically I’ve been in computer hell and deleting duplicate photos for weeks. There are 3 copies of almost every single photo I’ve transferred on to that thing. SO all that to say that once I get myself together I’ll share these recipes with you! Until then I get to air out all my dirty laundry.

I don’t know when 4pm became such a terrible time of day for me. It had to be when the twins were babies and got progressively worse with Esme’s birth. Every day at 4pm I felt so sad and depressed, almost like the sadness could swallow me whole. I felt anxious and frustrated with my kids, and my heart would start to race if I thought about what had to be done the rest of the day. I felt more overwhelmed at 4pm every day than I would getting the kids up and dressed in the morning, which if you ask any mom of tiny ones she’s tell you that’s never a walk in the park. There was a sense of fear and paralysis that would overtake me and make me want to give up and hide under the covers. And of course when I couldn’t actually hide and do nothing because I had 3 ( and then 4) little people counting on me, I would kick it into Hysterical Mean Mom mode and the monster came out just so I could feel a little in control.

I think this is particularly hard for me to share because I recognize that this is an actual problem for me but I also know that at some point when these little episodes began I started giving power to the fear. I started dreading 4pm and the closer it got to that time of day the more I’d resist any good happening around me. I remember living in one house in particular where 4pm meant the sun was shining through a high window in such a way that it would light up the entire entrance way of the house. It was such a high window that putting blinds up or curtains were kind of pointless and so it was left without covering. The sun would shine so bright that if you looked in the direction of that window you’d be blinded for a minute and have to look away or shield your eyes right away. There were days I didn’t even need a clock to know what time it was because looking at that window I already knew. The knots my stomach would squeeze tighter and tighter as I watched the entryway get brighter and brighter.

When my kids used to take an afternoon nap I got them on a schedule to where they’d all wake up at 4pm. I remember their nap was from 1pm-4pm and during those beautiful 3 hours I got to myself I would nap or read a book or relax and watch TV to decompress from the busy morning. It was such a necessity for me, especially after I had Esme, 4 kids 3 years old and under was no joke. The twins alone at 15 months had me wanting to run for the hills. But just like clockwork, they’d all begin waking up at 4pm and the dread would start to set in. I knew that I’d have so much more to my day once they were all awake. Changing diapers, cleaning messes, making dinner, cleaning the dishes and table, giving baths, making sure I was giving everyone attention, nursing Esme, I could keep going but you get it. Like all the decompressing I had just done was for no real benefit because I was about to chuck all that relaxation out the window and start the day all over again. It almost felt like Groundhog Day because the routine was so similar every single day. I didn’t dare leave the house with all of them alone in the early months and so I’d be pretty much be stuck at home doing the same thing, day in and day out. It was a security blanket of sorts, too, because I knew there wouldn’t be any surprises if we just stayed home. If we went out I’d have to pack a diaper bag and plan for any and all horrific scenarios where we’d all end up on the floor of some public place crying, me included. With the nature of Pierre’s job he is gone quite a bit which meant pretty much all the day-to-day responsibilities fell on me. And even thought I was fortunate enough to never get full-blown postpartum depression I’m pretty sure I could have fallen easily at any moment. I had help from time to time after Esme was born from family nearby and I think at the time I was too consumed with my own problem to notice a helping hand when I truly needed it.

My schedule has changed a lot since the early days of having newborns but I have to be honest and say that 4pm still has a hold on me. It’s not as deeply captivating as it used to be and that may be because my kids are older and they aren’t so dependent on me anymore. But I still wonder what would have become of me in those early days if I had truly let the darkness of those days take over. I remember just trying to hold on to the one thing that had never let me down and that was my faith in Jesus Christ. I knew there was more to life than the mundane and fear and when I let the promise of ‘a hope and a future‘ (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) sink in it was my anchor when I was drowning.

Maybe you’re struggling with a similar situation. Maybe yours isn’t kid related or motherhood related but paralyzing fear comes in many forms and it’s real. Sometimes what’s going on in your head is so scary you can’t even say it out loud even if you wanted to tell someone or ask for help. I never understood the power of the mind until I had kids, to be honest. I want to tell you that even though it seems dark right now there is light and maybe that light is within you already, you just have to let it shine. God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT). You can train your mind to seek God first in the moment when you feel like a situation is going to swallow you up. You have the power to stand your ground and declare light over a dark moment.

When I start to get the 4pm blues now I try and find something, just one thing, that brings me joy in that moment. Lately it’s been playing Uno with my kids or blasting music, the kids got a karaoke machine for Christmas so I have them sing me a song or put on a show. I still lose it and Mean Mom comes out but I’m much more aware now why I’m getting frustrated and try to calm myself before taking it out on the kids. It’s not easy being in charge 5 out of 7 days a week without a real break, I’m not going to lie but I know this is what I’m given in this chapter of my life and I try to seek God first in the hard moments. I know God has a purpose in all of this and I hope I can show my kids that my dedication to them and is an act of service I’m happy to do. Sometimes people think that having joy is always being happy and never complaining or getting upset about anything. But joy is more about knowing that God is in control and because of that you don’t have to be! There’s a lot of freedom in that. Carrying on in the dark moment with His light inside of you to light the way, that’s joy. Knowing you don’t have to worry because he “will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5)

I’m not really sure how I want to close this post out, it’s pretty heavy. I hope I can continue being real with you, it’s a great way for me to get some thoughts down. But More than that I hope to encourage someone to give God their fearful or sad moments. Exchange those for love and power and peace because we were not put on this earth to endure chains, fear and sadness, Jesus took care of that for us on the cross.

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