35 days down, 335 to go!
Dear Bed Time,
Oh how you can annoy me so.
I know I am supposed to love you and cherish you, but sometimes I do not.
I just want the kids to wash up, brush their teeth, and then curl up in their cots.
Please don’t get me wrong.
The bath time giggles, the stories, the nighttime snuggles I do LOVE.
It’s just that you stand in my way from my hours that are peaceful like a dove.
I ask you, implore of you, please be kind to me.
Help the kids move along from bath to bed without a fight,
So that I can send them to slumber full of hugs and kisses, not anger, for the night.
The Orange Rhino
Wowsers! Did NOT think I was going to make it today (also didn’t think I would write a poem?! Huh?!)
Anyway, the day was going relatively fine. Despite 5 hours of sleep (basically my own doing, dumba*s) I was mostly cool, calm, and collected. Three words I would never have used to describe myself before The Orange Rhino Challenge.
Then I started thinking. Which is NEVER a good thing. Thinking about how #4 is growing up too fast. Thinking about how I struggle to enjoy the present. Thinking about how much I worry about what other people think.
The pre-occupied mind moved in.
Then for some reason for which I have no idea, maybe too much coffee, maybe the start of the stomach bug, maybe because of all the thinking, the intense, I can’t move, I want to cry, stomach pain moved in.
Then the physical exhaustion hit. WHAM.
And what time was it? 5:30. The beginning of the end of the day. The beginning of the longest hour for me. The beginning of an hour where I am antsy and eager for it to be over the minute it started.
I have 60 minutes where I get to bathe 4 kiddos and get them to bed. All while they 1) complain I turned the TV off, 2) complain I picked out the wrong pajamas, 3) complain they don’t want to wash their hair, 4) complain that daddy isn’t home, 5) oh screw it. The list goes on and on.
If I had to write a Chemical Equation for what triggers a massive yelling Reaction, tonight would be it.
Mental Preoccupation + Physical Pain + Physical Exhaustion + Complaining Children + Antsy Mommy => 1 Yelling Mama!
So going into what feels like the “never ending hour,” the hour that is supposed to be peaceful and loving but feels more like a head-banging negotiation, I had all the right chemicals mixed together for an explosion.
But the explosion never came.
I continue to be surprised by myself.
I mean the night time routine, forget my kids having a meltdown, this is my meltdown time. I usually yell used to yell at least 1x per child during that hour. And that is was on a good day.
“Stop screwing around, brush your teeth.”
“Go to the bathroom already.”
“No putting your butts in each others’ faces” (really, this is what boys do???)
“Don’t spit on the mirror, spit in the sink!”
“Hurry up, it’s bedtime, not playtime!”
Bedtime is simply a hard hour. Even though I look forward to it on really long days, and I love the one last snuggle when I tell each boys why I love them so, getting to that point is hard. Because everyone is tired and MAMA wants the day to be over. I want to claim my life back for a whopping 2 hours. Hey it may be two hours, but they are MY two hours. The two hours where I can pee on my own without someone asking if it is a pee or poop. The two hours where I don’t have to watch a talking truck on TV, where I can do what I need to do without first getting 4 kids settled only to have to re-settle one 2 minutes into doing what I need to do. The two hours where I can talk/email without interruption, where I can enjoy silence and just breathe. And quite frankly, anything that slows down my getting to my 2 hours, well, has the tendency to annoy me.
I do my best to remain calm during bath and bed time, to not rush my boys so that I can send them to bed relaxed and reassured of mommy’s love. This is supposed to help them sleep better…and I think it does. But WHOA is it hard. Because I just want to be done. I don’t want to read one more book or answer one more question, I just want to relax. And of course my desire to be done makes me antsy. And being antsy makes the kids antsy. And when they are antsy Bath time / Bed time takes longer. So it is all massively counterproductive.
But still, most every night I am antsy.
And nights like tonight, when my stomach and head are throbbing, I am extra antsy. And I yell, or used to yell, A LOT.
But tonight, I had something new in my favor. Awareness. I knew going into the “never ending hour” that the cards were stacked against me. So I mentally prepared myself and told my kids what was up.
“Mommy doesn’t feel well. I need you to be extra good tonight because I love you and I don’t want to yell.”
Instead of yelling, I just kept saying this one line over and over. And over. And over. To re-assure me, to re-assure my kiddos.
Turns out, it was the best one-liner I’ve ever used. It scored me Day 35.
Wow, communication really has its perks.