March 3, 2014


Oh, bedtime, that magical time of the day.  That time that, I admit, I sometimes find myself longing for the minute I wake up.  I love sleep, even if that love sometimes feels unrequited. I feel that there is this myth among mothers, though, what bedtime actually looks like.  I worry that there is an ideal that moms (especially new moms) strive for.  Even I still have fantasies of tucking all kids in bed at 7:00, saying goodnight and enjoying some time with my husband while they drift off to dreamland, not to be heard from until 7:00am.  Bedtime looks different in every house.  Here's a peak into ours.

I take 3 of our girls to bed between 6:30 and 7:00 and I stay there with them until morning.  Sometimes we read or watch some TV before falling asleep.  They get up a million times to go to the bathroom, or downstairs to bug their dad for snacks and drinks.  When they are asleep, I use my phone to read my own book or catch up on whatever show I'm behind on.  Once a week, I leave the house and my husband gets to do it.

We have a small house.  I'm sure when my husband bought it, it was listed as a 3 bedroom.  I'd maybe call it 2.5.  Our oldest daughter has her own room.  However, it is just big enough for her.  The three youngest girls share a room.  My love affair with sleep was part of the reason I slept with my last two babies from the time they were born.  We have been co-sleepers of some sort for a long time.  The only thing keeping us from sharing one family bed is my husband's sleep apnea, which he refuses to do anything about (probably so he can have a bed all to himself).  So, as of now, I sleep with the 3 youngest girls in their bedroom.  The driving force behind this is our youngest.  She's not quite 3 yet, still nurses at night and isn't quite ready to sleep on her own yet.  So, for now, Kennedy (6) and Georgia (5) sleep in bunk beds and Stella and I sleep on a mattress on the floor.

Lately, Kennedy has been having difficulty with nightmares and has been sleeping at the bottom of Stella's bed.  When this started, I had a new appreciation for a family bed, or in our case, a family room.  When I was a kid, I dreaded bed time.  I was so scared to lay in my bed with the door closed.  Every noise was some unknown monster coming to get me.  Every night, I would lay in bed and wait for my mom to turn the tv off.  When she did, I would slowly and quietly make my way out of my room, across the living room and into her bed.  This took a while because if she woke up, she would send me back to my bed.  I love that my children don't have to do that.  They don't have to be afraid of the dark because I'm right there with them.  Every time I start to doubt our nightly arrangements, someone will wake up in the middle of the night and say "mom?".  When I answer, they go back to sleep.  If my being there reassures them, I will do it until they go to college.  Ok, maybe not.

Every couple of years, our sleeping arrangement changes.  I won't always sleep with my children.  Someday soon, Stella will be big enough for her own bed and Kennedy's nightmares will stop.  I'll be back in bed with my husband and he'll have to finally address his apnea issues.  For now, though, I will cherish this time and what makes us different from other families.

What does bedtime look like at your house?  Do you get that coveted time to yourself before you go to bed?  Do you or would you sleep with your kids?


  1. Bedtime happens between 8-9 every night without fail, despite my wishing it was sooner. There's chaotic bath time that involves one or all three kids in the tub. Then it transitions to naked kids running around screaming- cause we're all about quiet and calm in our house. The boys try every negotiating tactic known to man to squeeze an extra book reading out of me. This may or may not happen, depending on how much I care to fight them.

    Then I take girl toddler to her room with quiet light and soft music. She almost never falls asleep in my exhausted arms as I doze off with my head resting on hers. I wake up an hour later (she's still awake), put her in her crib, then stumble downstairs to make a valiant attempt at being an attentive & enthusiastic wife- now that it's after 10PM. Which usually results in me and husband passing out in the family room on adjacent sofas, then me waking up in a startled daze around 430AM. I dash upstairs to take son2 to the bathroom, then stumble into my room to catch a last few hours of sleep before my 630AM alarm makes the day start all over.

    If there's a household out there that manages bedtime well then I want to know what they are doing. But I feel pretty sure that for any family with more than one small child it's all shit storm at bed time!

    1. It amazes me that getting kids ready for bed and getting kids ready for school isn't making millions of mommy alcoholics!

  2. I am that family with one small child and because our bedtime is usually, for now, rather easy we intend to continue with only one small child. We eat dinner, watch Wheel of Fortune, bathe and wind down. She's in bed no later than 8 but generally earlier. She sleeps until 7 with no problems other than she may lose her binky and need it back. I suppose I'm blessed. That is until it's time for a toddler bed.

    1. I envy you! If she's really ready for a toddler bed when you get her one, it shouldn't be too much of a problem for long!


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