Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Learning To Go With The Flow

I have realized that a little flexibility and acceptance go a long way toward making life around here easier on all of us.

I'm not talking about giving in to fits or demands from the children. I'm talking about letting things be what they are and not worrying about the way they are "supposed" to be.

In particular, I'm talking about bedtime.

You see, bedtime in our house is not a calm, peaceful time that eases the children gently into their beds and off to dreamland. Bedtime at our house, like most other times of day, is full of playing, laughing, and NOISE!

Recently we had friends watch the kids for us and I warned them that bedtime was not a quiet affair. In fact, it's more akin to a riot than anything else.

On bath nights there's splashing in the tub. Other nights there's nakey time, which generally involves the children chasing each other up and down the hallway, screaming. OK, it often involves me and Jeff chasing them up and down the hallway while they scream, too. Still other nights we dance in the kitchen or have a ticklefest in the family room. In short, it's playtime, and it's a ton of fun.

We downshift a little for a bedtime snack and books, though inevitably, the kids jump around during the stories. Then it's off to bed with a book for the boys. We rock each child while the others wait in the cribs, quietly looking at their books. HA! Usually they are jumping up and down, playing "Lasso!" with their little blankies or entertaining each other with some other crazy antics.

After rockabyes, it's lights out time. We generally have about 30 minutes of talking, laughing, meowing, shouting, giggling, storytelling, chatting and more out of the gang in the nursery before they start to settle down and go to sleep.

Once the boys are in their beds, Amelia gets a little time with Mom and Dad to herself. Bedtime is a little calmer with her than with the boys. (It's a crowd control issue.) Again, after books and prayers, it's into bed with a few snuggles and a quick story or two from us.

The happy chaos before bedtime doesn't really bother me. I let go of the idea of the peaceful, gentle bedtime long ago. The kids all fall asleep on their own and generally sleep pretty well these days, so our crazy routine seems to be working for us.

But, I have been banging my head against the wall with the idea that the boys should be in bed at 7:30 p.m. and Amelia by 8.

It just doesn't work for us.

Jeff often gets home at 6, so if I try to force the 7:30 bedtime, he hardly gets in the door and we have to start doing pajamas and the rest of the bedtime chores. He gets almost no time with the boys. We get almost no time as a family.

I finally realized that since the boys don't have to get up in the morning and aren't crabby and ready for bed at 7:30, a half hour doesn't make that much difference. Having a little more time to play also helps give Amelia time with her brothers, as well as with Mom and Dad.

Accepting an 8 p.m. bedtime has made my evenings much more pleasant. And you know the saying, "Happy Mommy, happy family."

Just one more thing my kids are teaching me: Let go and relax. Everything really will be all right.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

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