Most parents, no matter how much they adore their children, look forward to bedtime. Whilst they may not actively admit it, the prospect of putting the child(ren) to bed after a long day and having a few hours of peace, quiet and relaxation is most definitely appealing. For some, the clock ticks to 7pm and the role of Mum can be placed on the back burner for a while, leaving the character known only by her first name to enjoy some of her own time, to do whatever she wishes.
Whilst many look forward to bedtime, I dread bedtime. I would go so far as to say I HATE bedtime.
Because for many, the reason why they love bedtime, is because they love the time they get after bedtime. Yes there are jobs to do, lunches to pack, clothes to iron. But most parents, somewhere, anywhere, get a small slither of ‘me’ time, couple time, time to paint my nails whilst catching up on Big Brother time.
I get what I refer to as YoYo Time. Up and Down, Up and Down, Up and Down – and not in a good way!
I love my girls, but I also love nothing more than to see them sleep.
Instead I spend hours stuck to an uncomfortable nursery chair, in a box room staring at the four walls in front of me.
I have my necklace pulled, my bra straps pinged, my nose whacked and my neck poked.
I rock, I sway, I sing lullabies, I avoid feeding, I offer a cup, before ‘giving in’ for an attempt at an easy life.
I settle her, I leave the room, I have a moment where I consider what I want to do with my evening. And then the crying returns.
I pendulum between angry frustration and pure overwhelming love, repeatedly, around 10 times a night.
I sit on my phone, desperately trying to stay awake, when all I want to do is sleep.
I sneak in my eldest daughters room in a brief interval between settles, and rub the hair off her face. Admiring the sleeping beauty and feeling guilty that I didn’t read her a bedtime story this evening.
I lift my baby in and out of the cot on repeat, until I give in, and bring her in with me. Anything for the tiniest hope of some sleep.
I don’t put the duvet over me in case I accidently cover her.
I don’t roll over in case I accidently smother her.
I ‘sleep’ on approximately one inch of bed, whilst my diva daughter sleeps spread-eagled on the bed next to me, one arm on mine, and the other on her snoring father.
We get calls of “Daddddddddddddddddddy” at 1am. They wake us all, and I am back to square one.
I comfort baby number 2, whilst feeling guilty and sad that no.1 never calls for me anymore.
She never calls for me, because I am always too busy – too busy settling her sister.
I finally drift off in the early hours of the morning and the rest of the night passes in a blur.
I couldn’t tell you how many times she wakes in the night but it is a lot. I feed her lying half asleep in my bed. It’s easy, and it’s an instant sleep aid, but its non sustainable.
I don’t look forward to bedtime, because for me, there is no real bedtime.
I bloody love my children, but I’d love it even more if they slept.