“The days are long, but the years are short.”
So, so true.
I have a saying, too. “The days are long and the dinner, bath and bedtime routine are even longer. I’m tired and want to relax and go to sleep.” ?
Seriously though—sometimes it feels like the evening schedule we have in our house can… well… take a while. But maybe that’s mostly because I’m with our kids all day and one day can often consist of school drop offs and pick ups, tantrums, work meetings, activities of all sorts, trying to shower, fitting naps in, deadlines, lots of coffee, meal planning, scheduling—the list can go on and on.
So, when the clock strikes “need to make dinner” time—it feels like I need an IV of caffeine to plow through it. ☕
And that wasn’t working for me anymore. I decided I’d do something about it: I’d gracefully bow out of the bath, pjs, book and bedtime part of the evening.
I’d make dinner—because my husband doesn’t get home early enough to do that—but then, I’d let my girls and my husband get some quality time together.
Here are 5 reasons why—
1. Science says it works
And, who am I to argue with research?
As Motherly Reporter Heather Marcoux recently explained, “According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, fathers who engage with their children through shared book-reading see a boost in their own parenting skills while also raising their preschooler’s school readiness and behavior.”
So, it’s beneficial for dads to do this part of the evening routine anyway? Win-win, mama!
2. He wants to do it
My husband works out of the house—leaving before the sun rises and getting home around dinner most nights. He misses his girls and wants to cram as much fun and quality time in with them as possible before they go to bed.
We usually have dinner together, and then they are off to their normal routine—bath, brush teeth, PJs, lots of laughs, books, then bed. He’s recharged in that loving goodness only your kiddos can give you and it makes us all really happy.
3. I can still be tagged in for bedtime snuggles
Bath time and the rest of their little routine before actually getting into bed usually takes about an hour or so. So, even if I am needed for laying down with one of our daughters, I still get about an hour or so to myself before I may be tagged in.
That little break, on nights I am needed for bedtime, helps energize me to get back into parenting mode. And it makes those snuggles and night time chats even more enjoyable.
4. It recharges me in so many ways
I am with my kiddos all day. Someone is always touching me, requesting something from me, needing me. And that’s all well and good—that’s called being a mom. But it can be too much some days—and I just need a moment to myself.
So, my hour (or more) of time to myself while my husband takes charge of bedtime gives me time to catch up on work emails, finish an article, be in my room with the door closed and music in my ears. It gives me a second to think clearly and remember I am a person with passions and goals and not just the snack getter or boo-boo kisser (although, I do love those jobs, too. ?)
I am able to wipe away any frustrations from the day, recharge the ol’ batteries a bit and regroup with my husband after he emerges from the girls’ room—unless he falls asleep in there in which case I have to go wake him up so we can hang out.
5. It’s something we all look forward to
The hour or so before my husband gets home from work, both girls consistently ask “Is Daddy home?” “Will he be home soon?” “When is he getting home, Mom?”.
They then get sooo excited when they hear his car pull into the driveway. They love being allowed to open the front door and jump right on him. And—needless to say—he LOVES this enthusiastic greeting, too! (I mean, who wouldn’t?)
Seeing this excitement they all have for reuniting after a long day makes my heart just about burst.
So thank you, my dear husband.
Thanks for tackling our night time routine so seamlessly.
I know I don’t have to say that. I know you’re happy to do it. And I know it’s part of your job as my co-parent to do stuff like this.
But, basically, I just want to say it anyway.
The time I get to myself during the nighttime routine hour is refreshing—and important to me.
The bond you have with your girls is so heartwarming and makes me so insanely proud of you all.
Watching you guys together (because, yes—even though I’m supposed to be taking time for myself, I can’t help but peek in to see the girls roar with laughter every time they tackle you in their mismatched PJs you all picked out) makes me fall more in love with you every night.
Seeing you rock fatherhood has been an absolute joy.
You’re an amazing dad and we’re all lucky to have you—especially at the end of the day when the girls are most likely sick of me anyway. ?