Why Does Bedtime Have to Be Such a Huge Battle?

Mom Moment 17

I used to say that "sleep was where I was a princess," but those were the days before I had three incredibly charming children who can't stop playing and go the sh!t to sleep.

Now, I know part of it is age-related; at 3, 5, and 11, kids don't simply go snugly into that good night like "some babies" (who were not my own) do. In fact, until recently, I thought "sleep like a baby" was a sarcastic way to say, "not sleep at all, ever, no matter what."

Bedtime, though, if a new kindergartner and middle schooler weren't enough changes to go through, has gone from being a spectator sport to a super epic battle royale.

At this point, I can't tell who's winning.

I say that because I just went and took a nap for the first time in 10 years and actually fell asleep, rather than lay there thinking of all the things I *should* be doing, like microwaving peeps or brushing the cat or, really, anything but laying down.

This means Mama's tired. It also means Mama's stressed out.

Why? What could make this mommy want her vodka so much?

The epic battle of the bedtimes.

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It doesn't matter when we start winding down the night, doesn't matter how much they've been running around like puppies in the backyard, doesn't matter how soothing we act, or how much white noise there is, the kids do not want to go to sleep.

Bedtime, which once took 30 minutes on a bad day, has stretched into an epic 3-hour battle. Someone wants a drink. Or a blankie. Or the sun to go down. Or the sun to come back up. Or the answer to the Fibonacci equation.

We've been patient and yelled. We've given in and we've stayed firm. In the end, we're all tired, exhausted, and a little more weary for the wear.

And I know that some day, in the not-so-distant future, I will miss the days in which lying down with Mommy makes things better. I'll long for the snuggles and the giggles and thumping and bumping of tiny feet as they pad to and from each other's room.

And that is why, even when I am exhausted and at the edge of my rope, I know I will survive these moments.


activities, back to school, behavior, kid sleep


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cmjaz cmjaz

Lol very true! I've tried making them watch Antiques Roadshow with me. Minimal effect.

nonmember avatar Michelle

All THREE of your kids are an epic battle to get to bed (even the 11-year old)? I am guessing that the one thing you haven't tried is CONSISTENCY. Your kids have figured out they can play you like a violin because you will change and accommodate them. You can't be firm ONCE and then give in the next. Kids aren't stupid...start a routine and do the same thing EVERY NIGHT. Yes, it make take time...my 3.5 year old has gone through some frustrating periods too but in the end, if they KNOW they can manipulate you, guess what? THEY WILL!

Mrscj... Mrscjones

At 11 that's definitely a lack of consistency. My son is 7 when I say bedtime he give me a kiss goodnight. Now at his bedtime he just gets up and go to bed.

Miche... MichelleNYC

when my siblings and I were kids, we never went to sleep either, gave the my parents suuuuchh a hard time. Thing is, my mom was a night owl to and so at some point she stopped making a big deal. I still go to bed very late - no matter how early I am in bed I cannot sleep before 12. Some peope are just made that way I guess.

Evaly... EvalynCarnate

Im actually quite proud of my daugher (and my husband and I) that our daughter doesnt usually give us crap at bedtime. We've had a consistant "Pick up your crap, brush your teeth and ass in bed" routine for about 2 years now. I will admit that a tiny bit of our success is due to our allowance of 1 hour of tv right before bed, but it brings things to a close and gives her "happy" things to think about on the way to bed. I'm hoping that kid #2 will be as compliant. :-p

LSeab... LSeabolt1982

Ok all you people saying no consistency. I do use consistency and we have a battle of questions, potty breaks, drinks of water, wanting different blankies etc. EVERY night. You all must be moms of the year with angels for kids.

nonmember avatar autumn

Bedtime was the hardest thing until my daughter started kindergarten. She uses to cry and say she needed hugs and kisses and 10 more books read to her and anything else she could think of to get out of sleeping for 10 more minutes but now with school I don't give in at all, she's tired and goes right to bed after story time and kisses and hugs. I really believe having a set bedtime and doing things the same every night really helps. we have dinner at about the same time each night, play for an hour then bath and ready for bed. I guess I'm pretty lucky that it has been so easy.

Jesicalyn Mary Potter

I honestly don't care if my kids go to sleep right at 8, but they (at least my 3 yr old) know they have to be in bed, under the covers, and quiet. They are always asleep by my check at 10.

nonmember avatar NoWay

I've been very lucky. My boys have never given a fight at bedtime. They have had a bedtime since they were very young and there was never much negotiating. I will admit that they know how to "stretch it out" by about 30 mins or so sometimes, but I am not super strict and they are always in bed at a reasonable time. Sometimes my oldest son has trouble sleeping, so he is allowed to read, but he still has to be in bed.

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