Teachers who assign a lot of homework should have to spend one evening in my home after school. If you’re a mom of school-age children–enough said. But just in case, here’s a typical afternoon:

1. Two cranky kids storm through the door at 4:40PM for the first time since leaving the house at 8AM. They’ve been sitting at a desk for most of those hours, with the exception of the last 30 minutes on the bus where they’re often taunted by other crabby kids.

2. I’ve got a baby in one arm because every mother knows 4-6PM is a baby’s witching hour. Try as I might to get dinner done before the girls get home, my other arm is still cooking. And my 4-yr.-old? He’s gearing up to agitate his sisters for the next hour.

3. Depending on the year and the kid, the girls–now in 3rd and 1st grade–have between 30 minutes and 1.5 hours of homework. And on nights when there’s dance, they have one hour to do homework, eat dinner and relax before leaving the house again. Of course, they each want my attention and help.

Usually this mix means there’s a lot more crying and screaming happening than there is studying.

On nights like these, there are only two things that save me. The first is my mother, who I call every day amidst all the madness. God bless her because it’s a wonder she picks up.

The second is a fast, yummy and healthy after school snack.

1/4 cup peanut butter or almond butter
1/4 cup coconut, almond or rice milk
1T cocoa powder
1T maple syrup or agave
1/2t cinnamon
1/2t vanilla

Mix all the ingredients in a food processor for a few seconds. Serve with sliced apples, pears, bananas, strawberries or dried apricots.