Do you ever think to yourself, "Why is it so hard to put these kids to bed?!"
Personally, I could fall asleep while standing up. I'm not even sure I'm awake right now? I've been in a permanent zombie-like state since I entered the parenting trenches 7 years, 6 months, 7 days, and 13 hours ago...but who's counting?
After spending each day with little creatures who are powered with the energy of a thousand suns, I can't fathom how they don't pass out once their tiny heads hit their fluffy little pillows. But they don’t. At least mine don’t.
My seven years have taught me some things though. Things that I have painstakingly compiled into handy little steps for you to follow, to ensure the bedtime routine is pain free and smooth sailing....
That's a lie. I'm lying to you.
These kids are slowly killing me, just as I'm sure they're slowly killing you, too. At least I hope I'm not alone. Tell me I'm not alone! I need this!
All traces of the well rested, sane individual that I used to be are gone. Coffee and the promise that they will one day move out are the only reasons I hold it together (most days). This list is what I’ve learned from seven years of parenting. If you're doing it better, I applaud you. I also have two kids for you to raise...you know, since you've obviously got your shit together. They're not so bad. Kinda cute, they smell good after a bath, they almost never embarrass me in public...
That's a lie too. It's bad.
Some days I wonder what I was thinking. I didn't have any training to be a parent. Why in the hell did I think I would be good at this? Shouldn't we all have to undergo some formal testing to make sure we can't be broken by these tiny terrorists before we're actually allowed to create them? And why is no one properly concerned that these little people could bond together and rise up against us?
If you feel my pain, maybe we can hang out and help each other through the shit storm that is parenting. (Literally and figuratively speaking)
If you roll your eyes, scoff and think, "What's this lady's problem? Parenting is easy and kids are AH-MAZ-ING." Then we probably can't be friends. Sorry not sorry.
This is what happens in my house. Can you relate?
1. Announce it’s bedtime. (Ce-le-brate good times, come on! We’re gonna have a par-tay!) Think these things. Do not say them out loud. I repeat, DO NOT SAY THEM OUT LOUD! You get to tell them it’s time for bed. Something like, “You gots to go, kid. Momma needs a break.” They will groan and maybe cry. Stay strong and act like you’re really disappointed too.
2. Drag the limp bodies of your protesting kids to their bedrooms. Obviously they hate the very idea of sleep. Sleep is their kryptonite. They immediately turn into spaghetti-jello the minute you even hint that it’s time to visit the land of Nod. Hence why you have to drag limp, little people as they protest loudly that you’re infringing on their right to...blah, blah, blah.
3. Conduct a sniff test to determine if they need to bathe. They don’t. They’re fine. They rolled in dirt outside. Pigs roll in mud and they’re the cleanest animals so your kids are practically like clean little pigs. Trust me.
4. Chase naked, screaming people around and wrestle them into pajamas. Once they’ve reached their bedrooms they realize you mean business and they need to step up their game. They think they’re smarter and faster than you. They’re almost right. Don’t show weakness. Catch those suckers and clothe them before they make it out of their bedroom and you have to go back to step one.
5. Watch your little humans cover everything but their teeth in toothpaste. They want to do it themselves. They’re so independent. Unless it comes to wiping their own bottoms and then it’s all “No! Ewww! Do it for me!” The counter, the mirror, the dog. Everything must be covered in toothpaste for them to feel like their teeth are clean. Whatever. Just let them. They’ll go to college one day.
6. Read their favorite story approximately twelve times. I say twelve but it could be more like forty-six times. It just depends on how relentless your kid actually is. Just prepare yourself for a lot. A LOT. “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?” A tired F’ing mommy. That’s what I see.
7. Do the last potty/last drink/hug/kiss/”I love you” routine. Squeeze them to make sure every last drop of liquid comes out. I cannot stress enough how important this is. Monitor their last drink, just a sip. Not too much or we have to revisit the last potty step. Kiss, hug, “I love you!” Over and over again. “Yes, I love you to the moon and back. Yes, I love you bigger than the ocean and taller than the tallest dinosaur.” Now, run! Make your getaway. Grab a snack. Turn on Netflix. You don’t have much time. Do you understand?!
8- 35. See your kids 4,032 more times for one last sip of liquid, urgent pee breaks, questions about life, slaying the monsters. Oh, you thought you were done? You said goodnight and thought your kid was actually going to fall asleep? That’s cute. Your night is just beginning. I hope you snarfed that snack down because you’re gonna need all the energy you can get for what lies ahead. There will be imaginary monsters that you must defeat to maintain your hero-like status. You will have to rush your kiddo to the potty before urine comes flooding out of them because somehow they turn one sip of water into a liter of pee. They’re magical like that. You will be asked deep and thought provoking questions from your six year old who turns into a philosopher at night. Yes, I know you thought you were done for the evening but our tiny dictators say differently and they’re not afraid of anything. Except for imaginary monsters, of course.
36. You finally pass out from exhaustion and the kids finish working on their plan for world domination. You fought the good fight for as long as you could. They are younger and better equipped for long standoffs than you are. There’s no shame in admitting defeat. Sleep well, soldier, for tomorrow you wake up to do battle all over again.