I always found nighttime to be an especially hard time of day. By the time I get home from a long day at work I’m tired, hungry and have so much to do around the house that I tend to run out of patience. Being calm is not easy especially when I feel overwhelmed and all my kids want to do is jump all over the place when I’m secretly wishing they’d just go to sleep already!
So, in effort to have more patience and be an overall better mom, I’ve been using the following techniques during the short time I have with my kids:
I no longer expect my kids to want to go to bed at the exact time I want them to. In all honesty, when has that ever happened? It’s never happened, so I stopped expecting it to. Instead, I’ve given myself goals and adjust according to what’s going on at the time. For example, my goal tonight is to have the kids ready for bed by 7pm. If they are filled with too much energy, then I’ll let them run around a bit and start bed time 15 minutes later while I prepare their lunches or feed the baby. Those 15 minutes will take away from my stress… I won’t get frustrated that my kids aren’t listening to me and will use that time productively. At 7:15 the kids will likely be more willing to get into bed than they were 15 minutes before.
Eat a Snack
I noticed that the nights I would lose my patience the most were the nights that I was super hungry. Not sure why or if this one is backed by science, but now that I’ve started having a snack before leaving work I’m not in as much of a rush to get them to sleep at night. Of course by snack I mean something healthy… doesn’t have to be a candy bar, but I try to have something filling so it’ll tide me over until dinner time.
Plan and Prioritize
Every night I know what needs to get done, but the truth is that it doesn’t always get done. Some nights I’m more tired than others and unplanned things come up. On my way home from work I come up with a clear plan of what needs to get done and what I want to get done. I prioritize each item and don’t get upset if there isn’t enough time to do all the “wants” on my list. There is only so much time during the day!
Enjoy the Time
When doing the same thing day in and day out it’s easy to lose focus of what really matters. At night when things aren’t going my way, I just take a deep breath and tell myself that I have to enjoy this time with my kids. We spend so little time together and it’s important that I make the most of it. In the long run it won’t matter if they go to sleep 15 minutes later than I’d like. What does matter is that they each feel loved and cherished and I think they feel that much more with a mom who is calm, cool and collect at all times.
I know that bedtime is hard, but with these techniques in place, bedtime has become much more enjoyable and relaxing for us. Of course I still have my moments (who doesn’t?), but at least I’m working on it. No mom is perfect, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try!
Until next time,