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Bedtime Is the Absolute Worst

bedtime
Image Source: Heather Neal

You’ve heard of the witching hour. The time of day when all chaos ensues.

Toddlers become clingy.

Preschoolers are demanding everything from fresh playdough to a very specific dinner request.

Babies are crying.

It’s usually at dinnertime, when you’re trying to get some semblance of a real meal together or just walking in the door from work. Most moms dread it. They pour a glass of wine and wait for it to be over, watching the minutes roll over on the clock.

Witching hour doesn’t bother me. My most dreaded time of the day is one most moms love: bedtime.

And before you think I’m saying that because I’m being sweet and nostalgic about missing my kids once they go to bed, I’m not that nice.

I secretly (or not so secretly now) hate bedtime because it is when absolute mayhem breaks out. I once saw a meme about how having dad help with the first half of bedtime is like shaking up a can of soda before handing it to you. That’s exactly what bedtime at our house feels like, regardless of who’s doing any part of the putting to bed.

It starts with the most innocent and sincere of requests, usually just minutes after dinner, and often right after a “No, you can’t watch TV.”

“Mommy, I’m tired. Can we go put PJs on?”

The minute we near the threshold to his room, a flip switches. Absolute utter chaos breaks loose.
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We went years without hearing the words “I’m tired” come out of our toddler’s lips, and now that we do, it sounds like magic. But although it’s uttered with sincerity, it’s a total ruse. It’s code for let’s all go crazy.

The minute we near the threshold to his room, a flip switches. Absolute utter chaos breaks loose. My son’s suddenly doing flips onto the bed, jumping off the bed, pulling all the clothes out of the closet, and throwing books off the shelves. He wants to have a dance party or a wrestling battle.

Things that would be fun at any other hour of the day, and things that would be exasperating no matter the time. They all happen seemingly simultaneously at bedtime. What starts as a simple request to fill — putting on PJs —becomes a nearly impossible feat.

By the time said PJs are on, teeth are brushed, potty flushed, book read, and 1,803 random requests fulfilled or shot down, I feel like I’ve run a marathon. (Not to mention half the time there’s also a crying newborn to add into the equation.)

No matter how good or long or great or bad the day was, by the time the bedtime crazy dance is done, all I want is a glass of wine, the couch, and a bad drama on Netflix.

No matter how good or long or great or bad the day was, by the time the bedtime crazy dance is done, all I want is a glass of wine, the couch, and a bad drama on Netflix.
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All that being said, in sticking with my backwards take on many things parenting, I know the exhaustion of the bedtime ritual means my favorite time is around the corner: morning. It comes too quickly and most assuredly too early, but even then I love it.

The distant strains of some version of “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” gets louder and louder until my son busts open my bedroom door, leaps onto my bed, and starts talking a mile a minute.

He doesn’t need any time to transition from asleep to awake, so no one else should either. We immediately dive into our day at 110% and though I try to remain horizontal as long as possible, I can’t help but smile as I listen to tales of last night’s dreams of dragons and good witches and hear the excitement of what today’s adventurous plans entail, according to a 4-year-old.

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