As a mom of two littles, bedtime, the time my children are asleep, is like the last swirl of hot chocolate in my favorite mug. Extra creamy, rich and chocolate-y. With a touch of personality.
Lovely. Sweet. Relaxing.
Bedtime is the goal. The countdown. When the two year old is already whining at 4 pm and naptime is over the clock starts ticking extra loud.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
You can try your best to revive what’s left of your urge to “appreciate” your child and “live in the moment” (my “moment” has too many decibels in it, can I have a refund?), with little to show for your effort:
Ok. Let’s have a snack… *insert dying animal noises here*
No? Ok… Water? *the screeching tires version of two year old yells*
Ok, then… I don’t know what you want….what do I want?
Retail therapy? Yes. Sound good to me.
You want to go in the car, baby? Yeah! He says in a pitiful voice and then proceeds to run to the front door.
He throws a minor hissyragetantrum when he can’t open it and then is completely devastated when we walk a few more miles in the house while I gather shoes, jackets, blankets, clean diapers and other accoutrements necessary for a quick trip to the store these days.
We spend a few minutes going back and forth between the door and almost to the car to the tune of his horror and freaking out before we finally set out.
A happy trio.
A minor meltdown occurs in the parking lot because of a miscommunication regarding the car’s destination. I thought I had specified the store to buy some flowers and the two year old was sure I’d promised him books at the library… But since I am the mommy and we were already there, flowers won and were soon placed in the cart with him as a conciliatory prize. We successfully completed our shopping trip to fill the flowerpot on our shady front porch (Will the flowers live? Ummm. Hopefully?) and bought our way an hour and a half closer to bedtime.
Luckily, when we got home, Ranger’s buddy (the son of some friends’ comes to hang out with us for a couple hours weekly) was there or I might have had a mini rage-monster on my hands while I made dinner.
But since it was the Evening of the Meltdown Ranger honored the occasion by bursting into heartbroken tears when I tried to put him in his highchair.
Alas. He wanted to play no matter how hungry and irrational he might be. Instead of listening to the wailing we had a picnic in the grass. Dinner negotiated. Ranger ran to me for bites. They played.
I ate. Bounced the baby. Broke up disputes. Fed the baby. And on. Until the friend left. Then desperation set in and we read books and watched Netflix until the long awaited hour arrived. And that is the truth of the matter.
I’d stopped counting down the hours, luckily, but the minutes were beginning to wear.
Ali would be almost asleep enough to set in her crib and then Ranger would go for a Forbidden Item and I’d have to get up to Enforce the Law…and we’d be back to square one.
The bedtime fight can be long, but eventually they will sleep. And then comes the happy prize of a few semi-uninterrupted minutes. Tonight mine consists of a handful of dark chocolate chips …oh but, if I have to be honest..maybe that became three handfuls (I’ll let you believe I have small hands). Mmmm. And The Proposal. Because my husband is out of town. And because Sandra Bullock + Ryan Reynolds = well, I’m not sure, but in the movie, hilarity (with a little bit of semi-believable romance).
And their beauty is only marred by the crayon marks on my computer screen.
I made it: Bedtime.
But why is bedtime so often the highlight of the day? It tends to be the goal I’m running towards: just make it through this day. It’s not because I don’t enjoy my kids. It’s just the wear of being constantly on call and not being able to do everything I want to do.
The job is an all day task, but it always seems like I should be able to fit more loving, and doing, and being significant to the world into the cracks. At this point with two babies, the extra space is limited and I should really just fill it in with grace and marshmallows to the greater good of mankind.
I’m sure there is a balance somewhere, but for now I’m going to let myself enjoy bedtime and enjoy the day as much as seems sane. That’s enough balance for me.
I’m just going to accept it as a part of mothering little ones.
Bedtime is welcome.
Babies are loved.
But I am just glad they need more hours of sleep than I do!
Grace and marshmallows, people. That seems like a cushy landing place, doesn’t it?
This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!
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