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It's Time for Bed

When you revolve your whole life around caring for other human beings, something's got to give somewhere along the way. In our household, that give is bedtime.
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30th January 1954:  Scotland's youngest film star Vincent Winter is ready for bed and Mum tells him a story. Original Publication: Picture Post - 6884 - Vincent Winter: Scotland's Youngest Film Star - pub. 1954   (Photo by Carl Sutton/Picture Post/Getty Images)
30th January 1954: Scotland's youngest film star Vincent Winter is ready for bed and Mum tells him a story. Original Publication: Picture Post - 6884 - Vincent Winter: Scotland's Youngest Film Star - pub. 1954 (Photo by Carl Sutton/Picture Post/Getty Images)

Do your children have a bedtime?

I've realized that not all parents subscribe to the bedtime theory. There are parents I know who seem to let their kids stay up to a time that would be considered very late in my book -- and this includes school nights.

Having two kids in the house that are up before 7 a.m. in the morning -- one for school and the other because they get woken up by the rest of us -- causes me to shudder at the thought of them staying up late. And by late I mean any time after 9 p.m. on a school night. Our youngest is in bed asleep by 7:45 p.m.

But we have friends whose children go to school and their kids are up playing outside until at least 9 p.m. during the week. They also have multiple kids.

By no means am I attempting to judge, but I'm curious as to how other households function. My main issue with letting the kids stay up late besides the obvious result of tired children who are cranky, is to have alone time either with myself or with my husband -- at least for an hour at night.

If I don't get at least an hour of downtime everyday, I'm beyond irritated. It's important for me to get that time so I can gather myself and prepare for all the tasks and demands ahead. Children take a lot, and I have no shame in admitting that I not only need that time to myself but consider it my right.

When you revolve your whole life around caring for other human beings, something's got to give somewhere along the way. In our household, that give is bedtime. Mom and dad get to sit down for an hour and watch something that's not Peppa Pig or Disney, talk privately, or simply just relax.

I often wonder how parents get that time when they're surrounded by kids who don't have any official bedtime routine. Perhaps as kids grow into teenagers and start doing their own thing it works out okay, but as far as children under the age of 14, I'm not sure how those parents manage.

Under my own household management, I subscribe to bedtime. I always had a bedtime growing up, and I suspect my parents had it in place for for the very same reasons I'm talking about here.

Right now I am a stay-at-home mom, so all my time is given to the kids. Maybe if I was coming home late at night from a job and missed the kids, things would be much different. But still, aren't we constantly bombarded with recommended sleep charts and articles about how kids these days (including teenagers) are not getting enough sleep?

I've read countless articles about how exhausted children are these days due to lack of sleep and an excess of testing and homework in American schools.

Perhaps many parents today grew up without strict bedtimes or else they are rebelling against how their parents did things when they were young. Now that our youngest is finally sleeping through the night it's like a dream come true and I thank God for bedtime.

Knowing there's the light of bedtime at the end of the tunnel keeps me motivated all day long to do all the things I do, like shuttling kids around, cooking, cleaning, loving, scolding and trying my best to be a good partner to my husband at the end of it all.

Summertime is a little different of course. Summer vacations are especially tough to find time alone and bedtimes may stretch out a little later. But summer vacation doesn't last forever and I know that when the school years starts up again -- bedtime is back on!

The bottom line is that spending time with the kids we chose to have and raise is the number one priority as they grow up, but we all have our limits and we all get tired. Bedtime is bedtime in our house. Period.

Do your kids have a strict bedtime? If so, what do you do after they go to bed?

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Originally a Vancouver Island native, Michelle now resides in California. Besides pursuing her creative passions, Michelle is a mother, stepmother, and wife.

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