Sunday, November 27, 2011

Confession Time: I Suck at Nighttime Parenting


It might shame Dr. Sears to know that nighttime parenting is not my forte. I talk all the time about how much I love having my kids home with me, and I'm so sad when school starts back up after a break, but make no mistake about it: I also cherish bedtime. When those kids go to bed I can rest a little easier and do things that are more difficult to do when they're awake, such as write on my blog, watch movies or television shows that aren't appropriate for them, read, and talk to my husband for more than 3.2 seconds without getting interrupted from multiple directions at once.

I don't spend my days counting the hours until bedtime. Well, most days, anyhow. But when it's time for them to hit the sack, I'm ready for it. I don't like drawn out bedtime rituals. I'll happily read to them and kiss them good night, but then I start to get impatient when the requests for "fresh" water start coming, and the complaints of "I can't sleep", and the pleas of "can I sleep with you tonight?" Some of my children are worse than others when it comes to bedtime and sleeping through the night, I'll just leave it at that. 

Lots of nights are perfectly fine. Everyone hops in bed without grumbling. Nobody wakes up during the night. There are no tears. But then there's the nights when someone is sick. Or suffering from growing pains. Or thirsty. Or having bad dreams. Or has insomnia. And these are the nights when I feel like a really crappy mom because the truth is I don't want to deal with it. I'm on mommy duty hiatus until morning. I do realize that's not realistic, and that at times my kids will need me during the night. My frustration level depends on several factors, such as what I'm doing at the time, how tired I am, whether what I'm doing is actually pressing and needs to get done that night, and whether or not I'm sleeping. If I'm sleeping it might take me some time to respond because I will lay there and try to ignore my children, fervently hoping and praying that they'll go back to sleep so I can stay in my warm bed. Sometimes they come to me, putting their faces inches in front of mine and shaking me awake, in which case I will try to get by with mumbled, half awake responses with my eyes shut, hoping to get right back into that dream I was just forced out of.

I try to be patient and understanding. I myself suffered through very frequent nightmares as a child, so I remember what it's like to be in a dark room all by myself, shivering in fear. However, my free time and my sleep time are both in terribly short supply, so I tend to get a little prickly when they're infringed upon. I'll try to do better, Dr. Sears. Maybe I'll finally even read that book of yours.



Tina Marie said...

Love love love Dr Sears! Good luck.

Tracy Balderach said...

I get frustrated when bedtime draws out too.....I think it's very normal for us to want to "check out" when the day is done.....sleep and momma time make a better momma :)