My five-year-old is impossible to put to bed.
The room has to be the right temperature, her blankets have to be just right, the stuffed animals all need to be tucked in beside her and the night light on. I have to sing her three songs, read her a couple of books, tell her a story, get her a drink of water, wait while she goes to the bathroom for the second time, rub her back for exactly 90 seconds, explain the meaning of life and then I have to lay with her until she falls asleep. Like really sleeping. I have to do this every night. It is over an hour process only for her to crawl into my bed a couple of hours later. It’s exhausting.
But the other night, as she was falling asleep, I rolled over and hid under the covers so I could look at my phone without her noticing. (I know, so terrible, but if I don’t I’ll fall asleep and won’t get my ‘alone time’ where I get to watch my TV show and eat all the bad snacks.
Also, it’s usually when I find the best online deals.
While I was scrolling through Facebook, an article popped up from a mommy blog that made me cry. It was called Three Little Words that Changed my Perspective on Parenting. The author’s main message was that she doesn’t have to do things with her children, she gets to do things with her children.
She was at an amusement park one day, it was hot and the kids were a bit cranky and they were waiting in a long line when someone from Make a Wish asked if another child could go ahead of them in line. It was then that she realized she gets to take her child to this amusement park, she doesn’t have to. She gets to wait in line with them, she gets to take them home and put them to sleep without worrying about their health. She gets to watch them grow up, she gets to dream about what their future will be like.
I bawled, giant tears streaming down my face as I lay with my daughter, who was snoring at this point.
I get to put her to bed.
I get to lay with her until she falls asleep.
I get to wake up in the morning with her. My daughter is healthy and happy and while bedtime is a pain, it is something I get to do.
I wanted to share these thoughts with you, not to make you feel guilty, because as parents, we have enough things to feel guilty about, but maybe just change your perspective when you are doing something with your child that you dread.
There are parts of parenting that aren’t fun but at least we get to do them.