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why suicide hour? - Melissa Swart
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why suicide hour?

Suicide hour is a term used in parenting culture. It is used when talking about the late afternoon, early evening, when things start derailing in regards to the kids and all the things that need to be done at home.

We never used it in our house…we didn’t really name that time of day either, but its also not a term I necessarily objected to. It was always accompanied by funny stories and I never gave it much thought.
As a suicide survivor and someone who lost a father to suicide, I’ll never make light of it, but its also something that I decided not to give power in my life. So, someone using that term in another context, didn’t phase me.

Then we recorded our first episode of “1, 2, 3” and I was made aware of something that I didn’t like about myself…

We did our first episode on suicide hour, because I wanted to encourage parents not to give up trying to handle that crazy time a little better, each day. I wanted to laugh with other parents about our hysterical stories and the absurdity that takes place in those few hours. But above all I wanted people to know they’re not alone.
We spend our entire day looking at social media feeds that exudes perfection and those are the images imprinted in our minds, so when we get home and things start going south we are made painfully aware of our imperfection and I wanted parents to know that it is OKAY!

I told tons of stories about some of the most crazy and entertaining times we’ve had, in our house and I spoke about the comical side of things. When I finally watched the footage I was shocked at how many times I made ‘dark-jokes’. Jokes that were funny in the moment, but jokes that were always connected to death…..I know this sounds hectic, but bare with me.
I kept saying things like “we wanted to kill each other”, “the kids were screaming blue murder”, “I felt like I was going to die”. Wow! All this was pouring out of my mouth and I only realized it, because I had the opportunity to listen to myself.

Wow! All this was pouring out of my mouth and I only realized it, because I had the opportunity to listen to myself.

In our house we are firm believers in speaking positivity, speaking life over our kids and our marriage, yet here I was making jokes like these and it made me think. why ‘suicide hour’? Why is this the term that was chosen to describe this time of day?

This is the conclusion I came to:
Parenting is tough and most days we fail at it quite a few times. We feel overwhelmed, we feel incompetent, we feel like we will never be able to make it all work. This is something people without kids don’t always understand and even partners who are not at home with the kids all day don’t seem to get it. We who have been at home with kids 24/7, we who have handled a million breakdowns before lunch, we who experience the intense neediness of these little humans, those of us who feel like we’re drowning, only to hear “it can’t be that hard”. It is infuriating and I think this term was coined out of pure desperation. It was created in an attempt to make people understand how bad it can get sometimes. Yes, it became a term used kind of tongue-in-cheeck, but I think it started giving parents the ability to try and prove that after an intense day, with little people needing you all the time, the craziness of those few hours become so heavy…and trust me when I say that that time of the day has had me in tears more than once and it has caused numerous fights.

But here is the thing that I have realized; my jokes about death will only lead to death (and I dont necessarily mean that in the literal sense). If I keep using negative humor, I will never go into that time feeling positive. We never used the term “suicide hour”, but my dark humor was definitely just as bad.

So, even though we’ll fail, even though it probably will be chaos most days, even though I might still end up crying a few times and even though my kids will most likely still fight more than any other time of the day, I will remove as much of the negativity as I can.
Maybe we can come up with a new term?

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