Monday, July 12, 2021

Unexpected Day + Bedtime Woes

We went camping this weekend and for the first time ever, packed it in and came home a day early. It looked like heavy rain and the friends we were with had decided to leave---we've camped in worse, but the boys would've been very disappointed without their friends, and camping in the rain isn't exactly fun so...

G and the boys are doing errands/chores while I catch up on work. It was going to be an admin day for me, one of VERY FEW this month, so I am actually relieved to have it back. I've dealt with a bunch of backlog and using this time to plan out work projects for the rest of the summer so I can reach my (somewhat ambitious) goals. 

You may notice that I've also used some of this unexpected time to comment on your posts! I am always reading, but I can't comment from work or from from my phone, and when I actually sit down to my laptop I am usually back to back with meetings, so don't get used to it :)

As I read and comment and plan, I am always jotting down ideas for "life goals" to work on this summer. I already have grand plans to declutter and organize EVERYTHING while the kids are away with my MIL in August (I did this 3 years ago and its all devolved to shit again, so the whole "do it once" thing is obviously nonsense). Bedtime in our home is a major source of frustration for me right now---I am inspired by SHU and Gwinne to do something about it. I am also revisiting the idea of one on one time with the kids, something we have not done in YEARS as they currently do every single activity together except very occasional play dates (but even then, since usually outdoors, I just bring them both). And then the terrible (lack of) screen time rules in our home currently. 

Lets start with bedtime:

Current bedtime in our house (its summer, they go to day camp that starts at 9 so wake up around 8): we try to get them to bed by 9:30 but its often closer to 10 (omg). Unless its before 9, I will NOT read to them nor are they allowed to read by themselves (they are tired anyways lately, from being outside all day). We lay on their pillows for a few minutes each (though if I'm too tired I may just kiss them goodnight and go to bed myself). 

Not only is this TOO LATE for my liking (I have zero time to myself or with G regardless, but it actually pushes my own bedtime later than I need for my early wake-up) but the process of getting them upstairs and ready is a disaster. They 1) don't listen 2) fight or play with each other and 3) get distracted in the middle of simple tasks (B, the ADD kid, who will take off his clothes and then forget to put new ones on, or will be just sitting their staring at a book with one sock on and one sock off OMG!). They decide they are hungry. They decide they are "itchy" and want a shower. It is one thing after another.

Obviously, we need to think backwards from when we actually want them in bed so that we can make it work. Currently dinner is just too late, thus "family time" (watch a show or play a game) runs late, and the whole thing gets later and later. 

Ideally: Dinner 6:30-7 (I wish this could be earlier, but only possible if we stop work early), clean up/prep tomorrow's lunches/coffee/etc... 7-7:30, family time 7:30-8:30, up to brush/change, read (if time, which there should be if they get ready quickly but will never actually be because they won't), lights out 9:15

On days I'm at work, I'm not home until about 5:45-6. G drops them off and picks them up from camp (at 3 pm) so he doesn't stop work until about 6-6:30. Thus, earlier dinner is only possible if I am at home or have an early day, or if we don't have to cook (leftover days are the best). 

This week actually looks unusually good because I have a few admin days. We planned for pizza tonight. I will marinate chicken for a double-batch of chicken tikka which we will eat tomorrow and Thursday. Wednesday is an early day & Friday I am working from home, so I can start cooking at 5 those days. Saturday take-out and then start over again! 

Any bedtime tips or commiseration greatly appreciated!


  1. It's so weird because when my kids were little I felt like we had really late bedtimes compared to everyone else. Now with all these posts, I feel like they're really early(!)

    We don't say that DC2 has to get to *sleep* at 8:00 but she does have to be in her own room by then (lights off ~8:30 though she has her own bedside lamp she can control that we set to yellow light). And the bedtime process starts with screens off and a shower at 7pm.

    I guess we're all at home all the time so there's no feeling of need to spend time with them between getting home and dinner because we're all still working from home.

  2. This from NandM: "I guess we're all at home all the time so there's no feeling of need to spend time with them" Yes.

    I put very little time into dinner prep, mostly using the instant pot.

    I don't have an answer here but musing aloud for both of our benefits: sometimes with my kid I wonder how much is an actual problem and how much is my expectation (based on culture and my idea of what a family "should" look like). i.e. some of our easiest nights are those we don't actually eat together, either because Tiny Boy is otherwise occupied or LG is out of the house.

  3. "I put very little time into dinner prep, mostly using the instant pot."

    I envy this so much. With Eldest (21) back at home the past few months (roommate drama) and Middle Boy (14) currently 6'3" and growing, food has become the bane of my existence. I am constantly shopping and cooking. I hate it so much. We go through tons of food, they are all very carnivorous and meat takes a long to prep, and they don't want to eat the same thing five days in a row (I wouldn't mind honestly), and, to top it off, there are food sensitivities to work around (husband has gotten very hard to feed with age, for example he can't have dairy at all anymore, not even traces, and Middle Boy can't have nuts of soy or peas or eggs). A few days ago I went to Costco and bough a bunch of Sukhi's meals and Korean barbecue and pulled pork and premade stuffed peppers and fettucine Alfredo, hoping it would give me respite from cooking for a little bit.

    1. 100% all of this on the cooking. And they eat so damn much. Leftovers? Not a thing anymore.

  4. It seems impossible for us to get Dyl in bed before 9. Lately I've been insisting she come in from playing with her friend before 8, but then I inevitably discover she hasn't showered or eaten dinner, and since she insists on using my bathroom, that means I can't possibly go to bed before 9 or 9:30 myself, and we have no time for snuggles. I know I should just make her come in early and ban the iPad completely, but I feel like I am messing up her social life because her friend doesn't really have to be home at that time. I should just bring down the hammer on this, and I HAVE to some extent, but it never seems to be enough. Plus when my husband is home he drops the ball on me EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and then has a tantrum at me for not going to be sooner, which is an unhelpful dynamic. Anyway. Solidarity. I need more sleep than I've been getting.