Bedtime Sucks a Little Less.

So what is the worst time of day for my family?

Hands down: Bedtime.  Bedtime can be brutal.  Let’s break it down: they are tired but don’t want to go to bed, you are oh-so-close to that coveted quiet time.  Meet the perfect storm.  Sometimes I look at the clock and think In twenty minutes this will all be over… Rally woman, you can make it!  That might make things worse- and I am realizing this as I write it but I am not sure it’s possible to not perform that mental countdown so I am just going to move on.

Our bedtime routine consists of 1. Brush Teeth, 2. Jammies, 3. A Book and 4. Lights Out.  Now there are multiple phases in between- but I’ll get to that.  (You mama’s who do the whole bath/shower deal… Well, let’s just say, I’d rather have dirty kids than deal with that every night.  The screams of “water in my eyes” are enough to push me over the edge!  Seriously, I am not using acid to wash their hair.  Man up- it’s water.  I digress.)

My cheerful voice says Time to brush your teeth!  (Can you picture the stupid smile I have slapped on my face?)  First comes Phase One:  Blatant Push-back (no, not now, a few more minutes, etc.).  When that doesn’t seem to be working, we move on to Phase Two of push back which addresses the issue of who brushed “first” last night and who is going to go “first” tonight.  Now tell me something, is it really a surprise that we are brushing our teeth before we go to bed?!  We do this every night.  Does it really matter who goes first?  Phase Three: (should we make it that far) The Toothpaste’s Rating on the Spicy Index.

I am usually yelling before we get to Phase Two.  Why?  Because I am frustrated.  Because, I am tired.  Because I can’t understand why they won’t just get up off their sweet little asses and get in the bathroom and brush their damn teeth.  Because I am tired.  But it’s not about me… Or is it?  Shit.  It’s totally about me.

Last night, I didn’t yell.  I didn’t even give that meanish snarl that we all know is just like yelling but pretend it doesn’t really count.  But it counts.  I didn’t do an arm grab or rip a toy out of someone’s hand.  I just knelt down and looked right into said child’s eye.  I know playing is important to you so I am going to give you two more minutes and then I need you to brush your teeth because it’s important to me that you get to bed.  “Fine.”  And that was it.  I provided one more reminder and then we moved straight past Phase Three (the toothpaste Spicy Index rating) to Phase Four: Jammies are Too Scratchy.  Progress is progress, people!

The rest of bedtime routine was better because we laughed.  I purposefully tried to make it fun and funny.  We played.  It was fun.  It was longer than usual by about 20 minutes but there was no yelling.  No yelling.  And no one hyperventilated, had a melt down or threw anything.  And I was still downstairs in plenty of time to dig out my well-hidden snacks and find out whether Kourtney is going to let Kim talk her into a spray tan for her six month postpartum bikini photo shoot.  (Which by the way, are you fucking kidding me?!)

Bedtime.  No yelling.

How did you do today?

2 thoughts on “Bedtime Sucks a Little Less.

  1. Awesome! Again, I totally related to this post and I too am floored that tasks that we do every single day sometimes come as a surprise to my kids. My son is the slowest dresser in the world…I have to nag him 50 bazillion times to stay on task. Gah. But I didn’t yell yesterday morning and in the afternoon I even succeeded in staying cool and calm while my daughter screamed for a good 30 minutes over a drinking straw. Last night, I lost it a little as I saw the clock moving forward later and later while they seemed to be getting each more and more wound up but overall I think paying attention to the yelling already reduced it’s occurrence greatly. I don’t know if you are familiar with the Positive Discipline books but she uses the expression “firmly but kindly” and I try to remind myself of this when I’m sane enough to slow down and take control of myself.

    In general, timers have worked pretty well with my son and your post is reminding me to use them again. I’m getting close to bedtime here so the timing of this post is perfect for carrying me into dinner, pjs, brushing, stories, songs, lights out and then shhhhh…. 🙂

    • Timers are a great idea. Very concrete! My boys respond well to timers. And I need to get back into using them. Many times, I find I am just saying let’s Go, let’s go, lets GO! I would respond to horribly to that- why would I expect them to respond any better?! But in the moment… It’s tough. Thank you for the firmly but kindly. That’s a wonderful reminder! Hope you got your kiddos to bed and enjoyed some of that sacred me-time!

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