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