Our 2-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son race upstairs to start their bedtime routine, excited for their daily bubble bath, story reading and snuggles with prayer. Friends who have witnessed this tear-free ritual are astonished. Our children wish them goodnight as well, and off to bed they go, not seeing them again until morning.
No, this isn't a dream or made up, but collected moments of dedication to bring them to this point. You see, although not a common practice or widely-accepted parenting method, we "trained" our children to love bedtime.
It saved our sanity and our marriage.
Both of our children were colicky. Our first outgrew it by month three, but our second didn't stop crying until she was 7 months old. We became exhausted, irritated parents. If the stresses of work weren't enough, let's throw a baby into the mix.
Our marriage became very rocky and tested through this new season. Our evenings were miserable— especially for me as the nursing mother—and I had gotten to a point where I dreaded the timeframe of 6 pm-9 am.
Something had to give.
As they got older, we did research and found gentle ways of sleep training both of our babies. As time passed, they learned those bedtime routine cues and fell asleep on their own.
We gained our sleep back, as well as that one-on-one time together in the evenings. We started to like each other again. We had that time back to invest in our marriage. We knew that if we wanted to give our kids the best parents they could get, they needed well-rested parents that poured into each other.
Listen, mamas, it's okay if you cherish sharing the bed with only your husband. It's also okay if you would prefer your child to be in bed with you every night. If you're like me and need daily one-on-one time with your husband and a tear-free bedtime routine, it's also okay to sleep train your tiny humans. Please don't let the guilt take you over from strangers on the internet and/or family and friends.
Focus on your family and ask yourself these three questions: Are they healthy? Are they happy? Are they thriving? Then you're doing okay, mama.