By Heather Miller
It started off with a nice warm bath. Then we moved on to her favorite show. The lights were dimmed, the milk was poured, and the house was calm. This is how my first born was prepped for bedtime each and every night. She was then gently carried into her room, lotioned up with sleepy lavender bedtime lotion and rocked for however long it took for her to drift off into dream land. It was a ritual that I took seriously. Looking back, too seriously.
Nowadays, and two additional kids later, this is not at all what bedtime at my house looks like. To be honest, I am not sure that my third child was ever rocked to sleep. By the time she had arrived I was over trying to make sure that my bed remained kid free and she slept with me for the first two years of her life. I have now traded in the lavender bedtime lotion for threats of throwing away toys and taking away screen time.
Like the sun sets, bedtime rolls around each and every night. I have a love/hate relationship with this time of day. I love thinking about how once it is over I will get to crack open a nice cold beer and watch shows on Hulu that use adult language without my darling children thinking it is funny to repeat those words. I also hate this time of day as it is undoubtedly going to end in tears, sometimes theirs, sometimes mine, and yelling. Lots of yelling.
I am aware that it is ideal to end the day with your loving children in a peaceful, gentle manner. Big ups to you moms who are able to do that. Please direct me in the direction of the store in which you purchase your extra patience to be able to still have some at the end of the day. Mine is usually all used up by the end of lunch. Hell, some days I am lucky to make it through breakfast with any to spare. At bedtime I want one thing, and that one thing is to be away from my kids for the next 8-11 hours.
They try it all. They are hot, they are cold, they are hungry, they are thirsty, they are scared, they have to pee, they want another hug. It goes on and on. I used to give in. Round three of hugs coming right up! Not anymore. One hug, one kiss, and sorry about your luck on anything that comes from the kitchen. No more will I be played. It took a while, but now they get it. There are two things that I need a day, I need my morning coffee and I need my kids to go to bed. All things in between I am more than happy to do with a smile on my face.
Moral of this story is that things change. What you may have had time for in the beginning of motherhood, you may not have time for now, and that is ok. I would much rather my kids know that if they don’t get it together at bedtime I am going to turn into a monster, then to actually turn into a monster because I was trying to give them every little unnecessary thing that they were asking for in an attempt to stay up for an extra fifteen minutes. I mean seriously, who needs a cheese stick as soon as their heads hits the pillow?
So go ahead moms, threaten to take away that iPad, slam that door, and settle in for the latest season of Casual. You deserve it and I promise your kiddos will still love you in the morning. (awesome show, by the way, check it out!)