The 3:30 pm Text


by Michelle Xiarhos Curran

Everyday around 3:30pm, my husband texts me from work.

“Everyone doing ok?”

It’s a simple enough question, but with very complex undertones.

What he’s really asking with those three little words are a variety of questions, the answers to which will determine how he should prepare himself on his commute home from Boston. Should he armor up for battle? Or will he be plastered with kisses and hugs? Will I give him the cold shoulder or tell him about my wonderful day with our 3 little cherubs?

The simple fact is that the question: “Everyone doing ok?” really is code for one – but usually more – of the following:

  • Have the kids behaved like human beings?
  • Did you drink enough coffee to sustain yourself through the afternoon?
  • Did anyone require a trip to the emergency room?
  • Will I be able to actually open the front door or will it be barricaded with shoes, crafts, legos and various other toys?
  • Will there be any dinner or will we be having cold cereal?
  • Was anyone’s head bashed into the wall?
  • Were you able to converse with any other adults today?
  • Did you leave the house?
  • Did anything in the house fall apart, fall off, or break down?
  • Should I look at, hug, kiss or otherwise acknowledge you when I walk through the door or should I proceed directly to the kids?
  • Have you googled “giving kids up for adoption?”

The honest truth is that the majority of our days are good, or at least they start out that way. But by the time 6:30pm rolls around, I have to admit, I have pretty much had it (especially during summer break), and am looking for some relief.

Here was today’s response to the 3:30pm text:

Husband: Everyone doing ok?

Me: Ok. It has rained all day. Tried to nap with the boys, a no go of course. The wood stove pipe leaked and there was a random puddle of water on the floor in the basement. Col slammed the doorknob-less door and got stuck in his room for 1/2 hour while I rescued him. The boys are still in their underwear. Just a regular day.

Michelle Xiarhos Curran is a freelance writer and mom of three in Newburyport.  Visit her website at