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When it's too late

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I have three young children and I work part time so I can totally empathize with you. Trying to find the time to prepare, cook and clean is hard and exhausting. I used to suffer from anxiety also and it would make trying to do all this and cope with the 4 - 6 witching hour seem impossible. Changing my eating habits and sticking with it really has made an incredible difference to my mood and my ability to make dinner time easier as I'm not feeling so stressed all the time. Some of the things that helped me were using the slow cooker; meal planning, I write the weekly menu on a blackboard in the kitchen so I can easily see what needs to be taken out to defrost in advance; keeping a similar food rotation, roast chicken on Tuesdays, meatballs on Wednesdays, etc; feeding the kids by 5 at the latest. Sometimes I sit my one year old in his high chair with something to eat like an omelet or fruit while I'm cooking and give the girls jobs to do. My six year old will help with chopping or getting things out of the pantry for me and my three year old will get out cutlery, wipe down the table or put rubbish in the bin, and I can get on with getting dinner ready. I hope you can find a happy balance

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LisaLuLu thanks for posting this and thanks everyone for the responses. I completely sympathize though your situation is even more challenging than mine (I just have one baby, but still can't keep it together most days!). 

I had a rough day last week when my baby refused to nap (or stop crying) and I snacked on plantain chips, raisins, nuts and avocado ALL DAY because I couldn't set her down long enough to prepare a real meal. 

My husband has a high stress job and works a lot of overtime so I don't get a ton of help, and honestly I probably don't even ask for it enough.

I don't have any advice but I'm encouraged to hear how helpful you've found this way of eating for your energy levels and bravo for sticking with it. My toddler doesn't eat exactly what I eat but I love how much variety she's getting in her diet and not existing on starchy, carby snacks like most babies her age. I love that I'm learning other ways of coping with frustration instead of distracting and comforting myself with food. 
Whole30 does add a ton of work - dishes and meal prep and planning, on top of what already seems like a lot of work, just keeping a house running and kids happy and fed. It sounds like you just need more regular breaks to get ahead of cooking and meal planning. 

When I was in 5th grade I babysat for a mom with 2 kids so she could work around the house for 2 hours. I came after school and left before dinner, 3x a week. I made $4 an hour. I was thrilled. It was hard work cause the baby wanted his mom whenever he saw her but I just kept them busy and engaged with games and toys. Maybe now that summer is coming, you could find a trustworthy kid to come once or twice a week to give you enough of a break that you won't feel so frazzled. 

You're doing great, you're a good mama.

(I've been inspired to say that more -because moms need to hear it!- after reading this blog post: 

http://joannagoddard.blogspot.com/2013/10/motherhood-mondays-tell-friend-you-are.html )

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