Here’s a clever way to embrace the witching hour

You know that time of day when all that is hinged, unhinges and all that is raveled, unravels? That precise moment often hovers around the time that dinner needs to make it’s way to the table. Knees get scraped, feelings get hurt, bellies get hungry and diapers get full right around the time the caffeine wears off. It’s the witching hour. For Edmonton photographer Kelly Marleau, she knows it by a different name: 5 pm.

pictures of sisters playing with laundry basket inside by window by Kelly Marleau

image of baby peeking out of bathtub by Kelly Marleau

The oven beeps at me that it’s warmed up and ready. As I attempt to wash the broccoli to get it into the oven so that we can at least have something to eat for dinner, my 3 year old pokes my thigh with her index finger begging me for a snack. The baby is half rolling, half crawling around at my feet and needs to be bathed and be in bed within the next half hour before she melts down. I keep one ear half listening to hear the garage door open, which signals that my husband is home from work and my second set of hands has arrived to help me stay sane through what is usually the roughest part of the day in our house. 5:00 pm. Our crazy hour.

photo from above of baby hands in dinner dish by Kelly Marleau

image of mother nursing on bed playing with hands and toes by Kelly Marleau

picture of older sister listening to little sister hearbeat with stethoscope black and white by Kelly Marleau

image of young girl standing on chair to reach kitchen sink father cooking by Kelly Marleau

I can actually remember not so many years ago when 5 pm meant relaxing after work watching tv, maybe thinking about what to make for dinner … maybe not. Sometimes I’d go the gym, other times I’d take a nap. Oh, how things have changed! My work is now mostly at home and 5 pm now means dinner, two tired kids, a tired mama, a husband who’s just getting off work, baths and sometimes even bed!

photo of young girl drawing on chalkboard walls in bathroom by Kelly Marleau

photo of toddler under toy sister watching by Kelly Marleau

image of young kids playing with pans on kitchen floor from above black and white by Kelly Marleau

picture of baby getting bath in kitchen sink by kelly marleau
I was tired of dreading the 5 o’clock hour, so I took charge and created a personal project to force me to slow down and take it all in … to truly appreciate all of those little things that make my family amazing. Even crazy can be beautiful, right? I committed to taking one picture a day during the 5 pm hour for the month of April. It was a project that fed my soul and made me get back to basics. It forced to me to work with the evening light in our home, to creatively capture our mundane routines and to figure out how to shoot while I had kids who needed me and a thousand other things on my mind. And you know what? It worked!!! I not only grew as a photographer that month, but it also made me realize how much I have to be thankful for, even if I have a hard time realizing it while listening to whining and almost burning dinner.

image of father and small children wrestling on floor black and white by Kelly Marleau

photo of mother taking picture of self and daughter steering wheel smartphone reflection cracked windshield by kelly marleau

picture of baby being fed by fork in restaurant by Kelly Marleau

image of toddler and baby inside looking outside window together by kelly marleau

Not only did Kelly embrace this harrowing part of the day, she documented it. If you can’t beat them, join them. Or at the very least, take pictures.

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