It’s just cruel. It really is. Bedtime. The word alone elicits so many different emotions. Relief, joy, dread, hope, fear, prayer. How can something seemingly so simple be so unbelievably difficult? Of course, this depends on the ages of your kids. If you’re dealing with infants, this word… yeah, it doesn’t exist! However, for those of us not dealing with infants, this word means so many things. What it should mean, and what it means ideally in my mind, is sweet little clean children in their pajamas, tucked into neat blankets, kissed on the foreheads while their lights are turned out and they drift peacefully to sleep. At 8:00. Hey, that’s how it is on Leave It To Beaver, something my kids and I watch all the time. You’d think they’d have figured it out by now. It goes NOTHING like that. Let’s start with sweet little clean children. Apart from the fact that they’re still relatively little, with my oldest being 9, none of the rest of that is true most nights. Yeah, we make the older two take showers and we occasionally throw the 4-year old in a bath tub, but even when we do, they somehow get dirty upon leaving the bathroom. Almost instantly. I’ve literally seen my daughter come out of the shower and said to her, “what the hell is in your hair? Didn’t you JUST wash it?” Yeah, so nicely combed hair and sweet Wally and Beaver images fly out the window. I’m left with a 9-year old whose hair looks like she slept on it for days; a 7-year old who flings together any random pajama top and bottom (rarely matching them) and a 4-year old who inevitably goes to bed with food on his face almost nightly. I’d love to tell you I tuck them into fresh blankets, but you know what they don’t do? Make their beds. And you know what I don’t do for them? Make their beds. Tonight we honestly picked my son’s sheet, comforter and pillow up from his floor and flung them on his bed before he got in it. My 4-year old has a toddler bed still (they suck, btw) and there really is no proper bedding for those. It’s a crib sheet and whatever blanket you throw on top of it. Big boy bed is coming soon. But, he has to fall asleep in my bed because he and his brother can’t shut the heck up at night and that’s also a story for another time. My daughter’s bed has so much crap on top of it, that I don’t know how she fits in between it all, but she manages. I can’t move the blankets to “tuck her in” though because I’ll knock over something and it’ll probably be something full of Rainbow Loom bands or beads and that’s an f’ing nighmare. Kiss their foreheads? Yes, I do this! Woo-hoo, I get my June Cleaver status!! I do kiss them and say I love you at night. Go me. They DO NOT drift peacefully to sleep though. No, sir. Not even on the nights when they get Melatonin. The 7-year old has ADHD and anyone who has a child with ADHD knows how hard it is for them to calm down when they’re wound up. He’s not always wound up at bedtime, but holy crap, on the nights he is, I’ve contemplated drinking myself into a stupor so he doesn’t effect me anymore. The 4-year old will be found in my bed surrounded by his Legos or his ipad or Alphie or any other toy that he has managed to sneak in there without me knowing. When they’re quiet, you don’t go up to see why and he’s awfully quiet when he’s entertained. The 9-year old is quite the insomniac. She just cannot sleep. Poor thing is still calling out or coming into my bedroom at midnight many nights asking me how to sleep. I know how. Have kids! It’s all you’ll want to do. And I do think bedtime, which takes so much of your energy and stresses you the hell out, should come in the beginning of the day when you still have energy and nothing but love for them. This end of the day nonsense is for the birds. Then, when they finally do get into the beds and aren’t asleep, but aren’t bothering you anymore, you go downstairs to your house all set to relax and maybe watch a movie (funny I know) and you look around and realize it looks like you had a giant old frat party all day, but instead of beer bottles and Solo cups, you’re faced with piles of toys and kiddie cups. This is when you want to collapse and relax and you can’t even do it then. There are nights my husband (who works at night) has gotten a text very similar to this “The house is a disaster and I’m too tired to give a shit. I’m going to bed”. God bless him that he understands because I shit you not, it looks disastrous by nightfall. Bedtime. That blessed time when the kids are supposed to be dreaming sweet dreams and Mommy is supposed to be relaxing. Someone please tell me that does happen at some point!