True life: Sometimes it feels like the bedtime dance lasts for HOURS

But when the stars align, I hope you stop 'doing' and start relaxing.

True life: Sometimes it feels like the bedtime dance lasts for HOURS

We all know how much of a cluster the pre-bedtime hours can be. We're talking food battles at dinner time, power struggles at bath time, and to complete the trifecta—professional-level sleep-avoidance mastery at lights out time.

You know what I mean. (I know you know.)

"Mom! I'm so thirsty! I need another sip of water!"

"Mom! You said you'd read two books but you only read one and I can't sleep unless I hear two books! You know that!"

"Mom! I have to go pee pee again!"

Most nights bedtime is not so much 'calm' and 'zen' as it is 'chaotic' and 'exhausting'. Don't get me wrong—there are some sweet moments throughout our routine like reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and signature sign-offs like, "See ya later, alligator!" And honestly, there are also nights when there's truly nothing I'd rather be doing that lying next to my daughter's crib holding her hand as she falls asleep.


Then there are some nights that it feels like I'm saying goodnight to my children for three hours and that our bedtime routine has somehow morphed from a simple, straightforward three-step process into an elaborate, intricate 32-step master plan. Sometimes I feel like I'm dealing with Carrie Mathison from Homeland in CIA-level sleep negotiations. (Where's Saul for some help?)

But on the nights when the stars and moon align and Mercury isn't in retrograde anymore and everyone's sleep cycles have synced and your children go to bed with no fuss and fall right to sleep with no whining or extra requests and you get to go relax on the couch—well… I hope you bask in that sweet, sweet sound of silence. (Because we all know how fleeting these moments are.)

I hope you decide to ignore the three loads of clean laundry piled on the bed that need folding, and instead, take some time to connect with your partner.

I hope you—if you must—take only 20 minutes to tidy up and then read the book you are engrossed in so you can finally solve that mystery.

I hope that even though you get that wacky feeling of missing them (I mean, this happens to me all the time—even on the roughest of parenting days), I hope you resist the urge to go give them a kiss or to go take a picture of them or something that will jeopardize the whole operation.

I hope you remember that last night was not one of these stars-aligning type nights and find an extra bit of gratitude for the fact that tonight is one of these magical nights. Maybe tonight you can finish the movie you started last night but didn't finish because you were both exhausted by the time you actually got to the good part seeing as you were interrupted by a non-sleeping child at least 10 times.

I hope you pretend like the dishwasher isn't clean and it doesn't need to be emptied and instead, get in a nice, hot bath with a face mask and a good podcast. (#Selfcaregoals)

I hope you don't think twice about the fact that you need to declutter and re-decorate your living room and instead use your time more wisely by mindlessly perusing a magazine or catching up on the Instagram stories you missed throughout the day (when you were parenting/adulting.)

I hope you tag-team kitchen cleanup with your honey and treat yo'selves to some chocolate or decaf tea (go wild! 😂) when you're done.

I hope you turn a blind eye to the Lego disaster in the playroom and instead, save that for a teaching moment in the morning with your kiddos. ("We all need to clean up in this family.") Instead, please enjoy some (well-deserved) down time with Netflix and your couch. STAT.

I hope you forget about the work you need to catch up on for tonight and instead listen to your body and go to bed super early. Don't get sucked into staying up late if you are beyond tired. Don't be ashamed that you are going to sleep right after your kids. Girl, that only means that you are living your best life.

Listen—we have a LOT of things we need to get done during our busy days momming. We complete tasks left and right and we multitask until the cows come home. We are responsible and proactive and efficient. We follow through, we work hard, we Get. It. Done.

And nighttime can be tough when kids don't cooperate or they aren't feeling well and need you or the baby is going through a stormy period and your pre-planned date with your partner and the couch just isn't going to happen. There are plenty of nights like this in motherhood. And you rock them all, mama.

So on the nights when the magic happens (no, not that magic, I'm talking about the real magic—the kids sleeping soundly) don't question the Universe. Just accept and appreciate.

Oh, and do what you want to do. Not what you think you "should" be doing. Deal?

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These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

1. Go apple picking.

Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

4. Have a touch-football game.

Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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