13 Moms Reveal How Bedtime Really Goes Down in Their Homes

13 Moms Reveal How Bedtime Really Goes Down in Their Homes

Does your child’s bedtime leave you in tears? Read on and see why misery loves company!


By Wendy Robinson

I recently heard of a school silent auction fundraiser where one of the items available for bid was to have the school librarian come over and read the winning child a bedtime story and tuck them in for the night. I had a moment of thinking, “Man, that would be awesome!” and then, I had to be honest and admit that I would happily bid on ANYONE (school librarian, custodian, lunch lady, whoever -- I’m not picky) to come over and do the nighttime routine.

In our family, we take turns with bedtime, so one night, I put my 6-year-old son down, the next night I do my 2-year-old daughter. The 2-year-old has recently decided that, upon much reflection I’m sure, that “sleep” and “bed” and “not screaming like a banshee” aren’t really her thing, so bedtime is something that I, frankly, have come to dread.

I feel guilty about this, because I’d love it if bedtime were this cozy and peaceful time of the day where we all wind down together, but it just isn’t right now. This starts to rev up my mama guilt until I read these 13 other moms’ confessions about bedtime, all of which make me feel a whole lot less alone.

1. “We have such an absurd, detailed routine ... Last night, he was being deliberately contrary, so we held our ground and took away one part of the crazy routine. It took at least an hour for him to calm down enough to continue with the process. And for that whole hour, he kept talking about the part we didn't do and how much he wanted to do it. Insane.” -- Jessa D.

2. “We have a nice routine, but it is SLOW. At least an hour from start to finish. And bath nights add 45 minutes more. Thus, my daughter does not get many baths.” -- Brandy L.

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3. “It is easy-peasy here! He loves to take a bath and brush his teeth. We tell him the number of books we will read, and after that he kisses us goodnight. The end. We deserve this, because the rest of the day is usually a total train wreck!” -- Linda S.

4. “If I do bedtime, it goes smoothly. When my husband is home it goes like this: My husband rolls in at 6 p.m. most nights, we scarf down dinner, bath or shower, listen to my 3-year-old scream for 20 minutes because “showers hurt,” read books, listen to my 3-year-old scream, because his book wasn't 4,000 pages long, and his brother is hogging daddy's lap, watch my husband lay next to the 3-year-old until he falls asleep because otherwise it's a 45-minute jump-out-of-bed fiesta, wake husband up after an hour, because he fell asleep on the floor. Here's how it goes with me: I bribe my kids with cookies and they fall asleep.” -- Posey L.

5. “Bedtime is actually pretty good here. They know the routine and have always fallen asleep pretty easily. My ‘bad’ night probably really isn’t that bad. And my 5-year-old still naps. Please don’t hate me!” -- Erin J.

6. “I think we need to make adjustments to the routine to cut down on time and to save some sanity. We've always had both of us with my son at bedtime, save for the nights one of us isn't home, but I'm starting to think it's too distracting for his threenager-self to have us both there -- the more audience he has, the more he acts out.” -- Rachel F.

7. “We have it really easy at bedtime -- a couple of books and songs and then, lights out. They wake up at the crack of dawn demanding breakfast though. So, it's all about trade-offs, right?” -- Hannah H.

8. “When hubby is home, it's pretty easy. I take the toddler (yay for nursing him before bed still -- so simple!), and hubby does the whole routine with the older two, which takes much longer than when I'm solo parenting. He lets them get away with too much.” -- Mary O.

9. “It's my least favorite part of parenting. If I could, I would hire someone to come to my house from 7 to 9 p.m. every night. One-year-old is a breeze, but the 3-year-old fights sleep like it's her worst enemy.” -- Beth A.

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10. “Bedtime has always been a struggle for me, because I am tired (which makes me much less patient). It turns out their bedtime is my natural bedtime too. Finally, when pregnant with our second, I just allowed myself to go to sleep with them when I needed to. Now, at 6 and 10 [years old], they are a breeze and occasionally ask to put themselves to bed (which is really just code for fooling around when they should be sleeping). We often find them sleeping together in a twin bed. They are best buds and thick as thieves.” -- Juliet B.

11. “My husband always stays on the floor until she falls asleep, and then, he falls asleep after an hour or so of her not closing her eyes, fidgeting with her hands, and kicking her feet off the bed constantly. I'm usually in our son's room nursing him to sleep. I sometimes take longer in there just so I don't have to go into our daughter's room while she is still awake. She always insists I sing two more songs and stay instead of Daddy. Then, she cries when I leave. It never used to be this hard.” -- Stacy V.

12. “Let's just say, my husband and I have both mastered the army crawl and know every single floor board in our house that squeaks.” -- Tara K.

13. “We don't really have a routine. And I know, I know: Kids thrive on consistency. But seriously, I’m an artist, and my husband is bipolar, and I swear we are just not built to operate in typical ways. Somehow, our children have adjusted, adapted, and are super resilient? (I tell myself.) They usually all sleep in one room – bunk beds – and depending on who loves who, switch around where they sleep. There is some combination of: bath, snack, water, stories, bathroom, books, songs, TV, cuddles, drama, melatonin, more snack, giggling, crying, more drama, bed switching, manipulation, another bathroom break, more drama, and eventually sleep. Sounds pretty good, eh?” -- Elizabeth A.

At least these other tired mamas and I can comfort ourselves with the knowledge that the bedtime-dread phase doesn’t last forever. They have to go to college and/or move out eventually, right?

How does bedtime go in your house?


Wendy Robinson is a writer, working mom, and graduate student. Someday she'd like to sleep in again. She also blogs at www.athleticmonkey.com.

Image ©iStock.com/nullplus


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