Why is Night time so tricky in my house? I seriously can’t be the only one asking myself this question!
Here I am 4 almost 5 years into being a mom, and I still can’t win the epic bedtime battle with my sassy little munchkin.
How did we get here?
I believe we have a reasonably loose bedtime schedule. I know you’re going to tell me that’s my 1st mistake!
Here’s the thing, for the longest time I worked Mon-Fri from 7 or 8am until about 5 or 6pm. Some nights, after work, I would go to Night class; if I didn’t have a night class, I would come home for about an hour and then head to a gym class.
This caused us to be home and sort of settled in around 9pm or later most nights.
Now that I have been out of school for a year, I still work until about 5-6pm and 2-3 nights out of the week my daughter has Dance or Gymnastics. So depending on the day of the week we may not get home and settled in until about 10pm.
Maybe some of you can relate?
I personally don’t like getting home and directly starting the bedtime process; I want to unwind, talk with my daughter about her practice, her day or just in general, before we get to the nitty gritty sleep time mess.
Once dinner has been eaten, and showers have been completed, I am pooped and I honestly just want to kick my feet up and enjoy maybe 30 minutes of my TV shows before falling asleep. To do that I need my kid to hit the hay.
The only problem is……. she still sleeps in the bed with me!
Let me go back a bit
When my daughter was born, I was deathly afraid to co-sleep; I mean you hear so many sad stories about families and their co-sleeping experiences; it completely terrifies you out of the idea.
But I did also read some positive experiences as well.
After about 7 weeks of sleeping with one open eye one and on the edge of my bed or couch, while my daughter peacefully dreamt in her bassinet, swing or crib, I thought it was time to relax and loosen the reigns just a tad bit.
Then I went back to work, and I missed my little baby like crazy; I missed holding her and smelling her and even watching her sleep (because I did that a lot).
So in my mind, sleeping with her was time for us to be close because we were away from each other so much during the day. I tried to make our sleeping arrangements as safe as possible because I was still nervous about the co-sleeping thing.
And I’m sure I will get a judgment or two on this, but hey we all parent how we want to parent and just hope and pray we are doing it right!
So anyhow, now my little one has been introduced to mommy and daddy’s bed!
As time progressed
Fast forward about 2 years, we started trying to get little lady in her own bed. Well, I was trying; her dad was perfectly fine with our sleeping arrangements.
But this step proved itself as a hard one.
We would try reading a book; stretching, night music even 20 minutes of TV here & there but absolutely nothing prepared her for sleeping in her own bed. So I would hold her and rock her until she fell asleep; which took anywhere from one to two hours!
So here I am totally worn out from getting my toddler to bed; its 12am and I still have to study or clean or do laundry. Hell or all three!
Needless to say, I became discouraged with this plan and welcomed Missy back to my bed within about 2 weeks.
Wait, don’t let me forget the nights I was successful in getting her to sleep (if you want to call it a success) she never slept in her room the entire night, and I regularly set alarms to wake up and go check on her throughout the night.
Ha, Ha, I know – I am shaking my head too!
The Other Night
So what prompted me to break out my laptop and write about this longtime struggle? What made me say enough is enough after 4 years of co-sleeping?
The other night!
There was nothing relatively different about this evening; we did our thing, ate dinner, talked, played, cleaned; it was a regular weekday night for us.
As 9pm approached I start talking the steps to prepare my kiddo for bed; by 10pm we are in bed, and I am turning off all devices, except the iPad which plays the “night music.”
First I ask my daughter to lie on her pillow, and I would pat her back while she falls asleep; she immediately jumped into freak out mode and demanded that she was held.
Okay that’s fine I hold her just about every night so what is the big deal with holding her again.
As I am holding her and patting her back, I swear about every 2-3 minutes she whines, tells me she is not comfortable and wiggles around in my arms, sometimes flopping from one side to another; after about 15 mins of moving and whining I just place her next to me and tell her to go to sleep.
Ohh, but why did I do that?
She broke out the waterworks and experienced a complete meltdown.
Absolutely nothing I said would comfort her; she didn’t want me to touch her, yet she didn’t want to lay by herself. My halfcocked threats didn’t work either.
I felt so defeated and over the entire night! I just wanted to sleep!
After about an hour of crying, flopping around and more crying she was off to sleep, in my arms!
I kept telling myself that after that night I was changing things up. My daughter was going to sleep in her perfectly comfortable queen size bed with her plush pillows and comfy comforter; after all, we had to prepare for her little brother arriving in a couple months.
What am I going to do with a
child that still wants to be rocked to sleep and a newborn that is going to
expect/want the same things?
Should have, Could have, Would have
These types of thoughts lead you to think of things you should have done differently or could have done differently. And then you tell yourself that you’re going to do so many things different with your next child to avoid not such positive experiences.
I specifically said to myself that I will not cosleep with my son at all; I came to this conclusion because of the difficulty I am having with my daughter now.
But if I choose to eliminate the cosleeping idea with my son, will I miss out on the same benefits of cosleeping that I have enjoyed with my daughter over the years?
Which leads me into next week’s subject – Is it fair to change your parenting styles/approaches with each child?