Bedtime Is A Literal Nightmare At My House

You know how all those cutesty parenting articles talk about what parents do after the kids go to bed? Crazy things like binge-watch Netflix together or eat tubs of ice cream? Or even crazier things like actually talk to each other or enjoy each other’s company?

I can’t imagine any of that because absolutely none of that happens in my house. I have no idea what it’s like to enjoy a little “me” time or couple time after the kids go to bed because bedtime is a literal and actual nightmare in my house. Mostly because of my youngest child, who is two and a half years old and is also the world’s worst sleeper.

Now before you go thinking that it’s just poor parenting on my husband and I’s part (and granted, I am not above admitting when I need help in the parenting department), allow me to assure you that we have three other children who we have successfully trained to sleep through the night. Sure, they were up a lot as babies, but I breastfed exclusively and aside from one baby who had horrible colic, they were all pretty normal babies who ate, did their thing, and went back to sleep.

Enter the baby of the family.

She actually tricked us when she was born, sleeping in solid, content stretches right from the hospital. We even scared our entire families, when we were texting updates while I was in labor, only for us all to fall asleep so soundly after she was born for hours that we woke up to frantic texts and missed phone calls. That sweet little innocent baby tricked the heck out of us until four months hit and all hell broke loose. Literally overnight, she became a horrible, terrible sleeper.

And nothing has changed since then. A combination of bad habits and her natural sleep schedule have led to basically disaster. My daughter will just not fall asleep. At first, she would only fall asleep if I rocked her to sleep, a process that took hours. And then that would lead me to falling asleep in the chair with her, waking up groggy with a stiff neck at one in the morning. Not cool. So next, we tried putting her to bed awake in her room. The girl is so stubborn you wouldn’t even believe it and she will outlast both me and my husband, just happily playing, singing and eventually calling out, “Mama! Daddy?” until we realize we’ve passed out in the hallways waiting for her to fall asleep. Again, not cool. We’ve tried putting her in a room with one of her siblings, hoping that would comfort her, we’ve tried co-sleeping, we’ve tried letting her fall asleep in our own bed, we’ve tried the sleep training, where you put her down, and then reassure her every few minutes, we’ve tried sleep training, and a few months ago, in a desperate attempt, I even cut out her afternoon nap, thinking that maybe she is just one of those kids who doesn’t need a daily nap, all to no avail.

You guys, I’m losing my mind.

Part of me feels like a bad mother. Like, oh my gosh, they’re only little once, you should soak up every snuggle you have with her and just rock her! But on the other hand, I’m an at-home parent and I’m with my little kids and by the end of the day? Mama is spent. It has to be normal to want some downtime that’s just for myself, right?

Sometimes I get resentful when I hear other parents talk about putting their kids to bed super early and basically having hours to hang out together or watch a show or you know, do adult things in the bedroom, when bedtime at our house is something that both of us dread, knowing it’s going to take hours and we’re both going to end up more exhausted than our kids.

I know this stage won’t last forever and for now, I’m doing the best I can to soak up the cute moments snuggling with my “baby,” but I’ll be darned if I don’t look forward to a night when I can say, “Good night, sweetie!” without a three-hour long battle.

And when that night comes, you had better believe I will have the ice cream stocked and the Netflix ready to roll.