Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bedtime: Reaching the Finish Line

The boys (and friend) sought shelter from the rain during the All Comers track meet.

Today, a friend vented about her children. Evidently, bedtime has been a struggle as her sons have been reluctant to stay in bed. She spoke about how easily frustrated she became with her little ones at that time of night.

It made me think how we mothers treat bedtime like the end of a race. Once we see that magic time flash on the clock, a wave of relief washes over many of us; we've made it to the parental finishing line. But, when our angelic little ones pop back out of bed it almost feels like we have to run another lap.

Pre-Cooper I couldn't understand my friend's frustration. My first two went to sleep easily; so easily that I quickly became smug in my parental abilities.

Then my delightful third son bound into the world. I performed all the usual bedtime tasks with Cooper-bath, books and prayers. I planted a kiss on his cheeks, then turned out the lights. As I shut the door, I smiled and congratulated myself on completing the race.

Just as I was ready to do a victory lap, Cooper would descend the stairs. He needed _________ (a drink, a kiss, a stuffed animal, and on and on). Mommy fatigue quickly set in. I desperately yearned for the race to end.

As my friends' frustrations tumbled out, I nodded. I offered the only advice I could give, Maintain your energy. You never know when a race can turn into a marathon.

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