A part of me feels compelled to clear something up. I love my children. There I said it. I love them more than life itself and can’t imagine my life without them. Happy? Can we move on now?
Here’s something I do not love. Bedtime routine. I have a friend who once told me that she absolutely loves putting her children to bed and thoroughly looks forward to tucking them in each and every night. I don’t know why I am still friends with her. She makes me feel bad about myself.
Am I a bad mom because from 6:00 in the evening on I watch the clock like a hawk impatiently waiting for bedtime to roll around…to the point that I physically feel like my heart is going to jump out of my chest from the anticipation? From the moment I get up in the morning to the time my children go to bed, here are the different “hats” that I wear. Wake-up service, personal chef, time keeper, butt wiper, referee, chauffer, therapist, teacher, cleaning lady, laundry doer, grocery shopper, negotiator, activity director, circus ring leader, drill sergeant, librarian, life size kleenex, fashion consultant, nurse, playmate, wall climber (figuratively, not literally), jack of all trades, and master of NONE.
Am I selfish because I would prefer NOT to read my kids one more book and have more snuggle time, but would rather pour myself a glass of wine and sit in the dark by myself wondering what the hell just happened? Here’s what bedtime routine involves in my house. Reading at least 3 books…to each child (they pick the longest ones that we own…EVERY TIME), supervising and facilitating the “go potty and teeth brushing process” (to which there is clearly never enough room at the sink and everyone feels entitled to spit at the same time), and personally escorting my children into their separate bedrooms amidst record breaking whines, while reminding them over and over again that bedtime is non-negotiable.
Here’s what happens once they are actually in their rooms. I have to “suck” the nightmares out of their heads (an intense series of events that basically involves me trying to convince them that I have some sort of control over their inner demons). Thereafter, I proceed to tuck them in tight, give 27+ hugs and kisses, whisper sweet nothings in their ears, and then slowly inch backwards out of their rooms in hopes of no further contact until morning. To which I get one foot out the door and like clockwork both of my daughters have an absolute mind-blowing epiphany. “Mom, I forgot to tell you something REALLY important!” And so it begins. A ping pong game in which I am the little white plastic ball bouncing from room to room while internally trying to talk myself from jumping off my imaginary cliff. I am grateful each and every night that my brain has that tiny little area that kicks in to refrain me from screaming at the top of my lungs, “GO THE F@#K TO SLEEP (I love that book.)!!!!!”