Help me out here, because I’m honestly a bit baffled. My husband is literally a genius, his IQ is off the chart. He also graced with a lot of common sense and has a been a parent for over ten years. So why can’t he figure out how to put the kids to bed by himself?
Let me back up… Marc and I decided that each week, one of us would take a night off (this is in addition to the two, sometimes three nights that Marc goes to the gym). We’d alternate, one week he’d play D&D; with his friends and one night I’d go do something – whether it was a movie or a solitary trip to the library. Just be… not here. That way I won’t resent so much that Marc is gone, and he’d get to put the kids to bed by himself twice a month. Not that he doesn’t assist and help out on the nights that we are both here, but twice a month, he’s supposed to do it solo.
And in defense of Marc, let me state for the record that he’d have a totally different bedtime routine if he was in charge of it. But since the vast majority of the time is me doing it solo, then I do it the way I want to. I like to cuddle my kids to sleep. They’re only little for such a short time, and it’s my favorite time of the day. I like to read, sometimes sing, but mostly just snuggle them until they drift off. Marc would rather put them to bed, in their own beds, kiss and hug them good night and then let them fall asleep on their own.
The routine is this – at seven thirty (or thereabouts, it’s not etched in stone), I start the process. Jammies, brush teeth, pee it out, two stories, they both pick one out, then lights out and I put on CNN. I used to do the bedtime routine in Jessie’s bed, but then Sam came along… and he wasn’t the kind of kid that I could put down to attend to his sister, and once he got too big to snuggle in Jessie’s bed, we moved it to a big love seat in the living room. And Jess usually falls asleep almost immediately. Then I lug her into her bed, and drop Sam into his – sometimes just leaving him in the chair sleeping until I go to bed. It might not work for every family – but it works for mine.
I’ve actually gone out the past two Tuesday nights, both time returning just after nine o’clock, to find my children up and rocking and rolling, thrilled to betsy and so overtired that they inevitably crash within fifteen minutes of my arrival home, and are screaming miserable messes the next day. My kids actually function surprisingly well when they’re hungry (on numerous occasions, I forget to throw food at them) but lack of sleep makes them absolutely insane. Both of them rachet up the whining, the crying, the unreasonable-ness, and it’s such a wicked pain to try and deal with them the next day. I end up mad and yelling at everyone, Marc, Jess, and Sam, because it’s so infuriating to have them not be able to just handle this when I’m not here.
Marc appears to be fine with this whole scenario. He has a great night with the kids, they love spending the alone time with him, and everyone is sunshine and lollipops until I come home and have to morph into the mean parent, who insists on bedtime and lights out and GO TO SLEEP. But bedtime isn’t a rule I made up to make myself feel powerful – it’s a basic part of parenthood. You feed them, you dress them nicely, and you make sure they get enough sleep. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I feel trapped into a hostile unfriendly spouse and parent role, insisting on a regular bedtime, especially on a school night, and I resent it.