Can we all just admit that it feels like the worst thing ever when your kids don't go to sleep right away at bedtime? When they refuse to stay in bed after the drawn out routine, the reading of a million books written for tiny people over and over again, the toothbrush battles, the jammie chasing, the whining, the setup, the water fetching and the repeated tucking in...ugh. God help us all.
For a while there I would get super pissed off, like crazy mad. I needed that downtime to prepare for tomorrow's early wakeup call, and every minute lost caused me physical pain. Like, literal pain. I've had a chronic headache pretty consistently since January, and being able to sit and do nothing felt really good after a long day.
Then I quit my job, the one that caused me insane amounts of stress, and I suddenly wasn't bothered nearly as much by the disruptive "bedtime crazies" as I call them. My headache eased up quite a bit, and instead of getting super angry at sweet Lorelei for not doing what I needed her to do at bedtime, I started giving in to some of her requests.
The other night it was a snack. Tonight it was reading two more books. But both times the final move that officially kept her in bed was the simplest and coziest move of all - I snuggled her and held her hand and giggled with her about cats, and it worked! It worked so well I kind of teared up and felt very grateful for those simple moments.
I think I've written about this before, about choosing love instead of anger. Considering all that is going on in the world right now, I'm finding it more important than ever to show my child the difference between and the benefits of choosing love over anger. Sure she gets in trouble and we get frustrated with her when she misbehaves (those are important lessons too), but when all she wants is to not be alone, why force her to be sad and alone every single time? It's completely unnecessary, and also kind of mean.
So instead, and from now on, I will show her love during the bedtime crazies. Now and forever I will show her love in the moments that mean so much to her. I am finding that they mean just as much to me, even more so than that downtime I crave so badly.