As you know from my post on Friday, we now officially have a school-aged kid in the house. This means in addition to dealing with J starting school we have to embark on a new journey, starting a new bedtime schedule.
As a working Mom, my kids have a much different bedtime schedule than what is recommended by doctors and parenting magazines. While other kids are heading to bed at 7:30 or 8, my kids are often up past 9. When I come home from work I try to make up for a day away from my kids and therefore we are often up late spending the time together I missed all afternoon. The prospect of only getting 1 or 2 hours with them a day is just something I’m not willing to do.
But about a month ago, when I was sitting on the couch with my kids at 9:45 p.m. in the middle of a movie night, I realized that our current schedule is not going to work. There is just no way the kids can go to bed at 9:30-10:00 p.m. and then turn around and get up early for school. So I decided then and there we needed to overhaul our bedtime routine.
Of course thinking about doing something and actually doing it are two entirely different things. Two weeks ago I intended to start working us into this schedule with slightly earlier bedtimes, but then the weather was beautiful and J started to learn to ride her bike, so that didn’t happen. Last week I said to myself, “okay, let’s start this now”, but then all the to-do’s of getting ready for school had me running to Wal-Mart late in the evening. So now, here we are…starting school tomorrow, no more excuses, we’ve got to do this.
The new mission seems simple enough: L in bed at 8:00 p.m. and J and H in bed at 8:30 p.m.. I figure this is the perfect compromise as it allows them to have sufficient rest but gives me a chance to be with them.
However, this new schedule is anything but easy. Rather, it seems actually impossible to me. I get home at 5:00 p.m.. I then make dinner which is usually on the table by 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. Then we often head outside for bike riding, park trips, or just hanging out on our trampoline. Then come baths and showers, snack time, story time, teeth brushing, lullabyes and finally good-nights. How am I going to fit everything in in just 3 ½ hours?
The answer of course is something I don’t want to hear: I just have to do less with them. I’m going to have sacrifice some of our play time and outdoor fun in order for this to work. No more riding bikes on our driveway until we can't see anymore. No more trips for ice cream or movie nights. No more cuddling on the couch with J watching Project Runway. But how am I going to do this? How am I going to get the quality time I want with them on a short quantity of time?
Then I have to add in all the additional challenges. Monday night we are at the dance studio for J until 8:00 p.m.. H starts soccer later this month and therefore we’ll have practices and games to work in as well.
Then there is the “L” factor. Right now, L is like a well-oiled machine when it comes to bedtime. He goes up for bath at 7:00 p.m., comes down and plays a bit, then at 8:00 p.m. we listen to his favorite Pajanimal Lullabye song, and off he goes to sleep. No fuss, nothing. But L is about to be 15 months old so before I know it, his easy bedtimes are going to get more difficult. Soon we’ll be transitioning from a crib to a bed, soon he’ll be able to ask for one more story, or one more song. Soon we’ll say goodbye to easy bedtime baby and hello to stubborn determined toddler.