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Challenge: Parent Fails

Moms are supposed to be good at putting kids to bed, but I'm not

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I know that moms are supposed to be good at putting kids to bed.

The thing is that I’m not.

In fact, I never have been.

Over six years into the mom game and I am still the worst parent for the job.

When my girls were newborns, the idea of “bedtime” freaked me out. It was a time of anxiety for me, with so many questions racing through my mind. Is she breathing? Should I wake her up to eat? What if she is a day-one-freak-of-nature and rolls onto her tummy and then squashes her face and then doesn’t have the strength to roll back? This meant that I didn’t really sleep, but it also meant that the girls were tossing and turning too. I would lean in close to listen for breaths or poke them gently to generate some proof of life. And there was always proof of life - in the form of a baby that is awake when they should actually be sleeping.

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When my girls were a few months old, I discovered that the cry to sleep method was something created for moms who handle tears a lot better than I do. We tried a few times, but it always ended with tears for everyone and so, out of a desire to stop the madness (and undo some mom guilt), I would retrieve my sweet babies from their cribs and show them that I was sorry by being the most enthusiastic mother ever. My husband and I argued over my excessive level of excitement and how it caused our babies to be awake when they should have been sleeping.

When the girls became squirmy toddlers, I relied on “bedtime” for the extra cuddles that I didn’t get during the day. I was either at work and away from them or at home and chasing after them and the most “appropriate” time to snuggle up with my girls was in the evening. It’s the time when their little bodies were tired of racing about and it’s the time I was finally able to sneak in and get my snuggle fix. Unfortunately, I often got carried away and sometimes the calmness of bedtime turned into fun and laughter and the ole side eye from the other half. Again, the girls were awake when they should have been sleeping.

Now the girls are approaching age five and age seven and The Bedtime Saboteur lives on. Just last night, I sent my husband a video of my bedtime attempt with our youngest. It entailed lots of screaming and a wild goose chase around the kitchen table (which I lost, of course.)

I know that moms are supposed to be good at putting kids to bed.

The thing is that I’m not.

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