Mom Nails the Emotional Roller Coaster That Is Bedtime With Toddlers

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We love our kids, but after a long day, sometimes all we want is for them to go to sleep so we can have a little time alone to de-stress with our favorite couch cushion and our good friends Pinot and Grigio. But as Laura Mazza of Mum on the Run recently realized, sometimes space from our kids isn't the key to relaxing. Sometimes we need them as much as they need us.

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Like many of us, Mazza considers the evening to be mom o'clock, that blissful time when she can watch what she wants without having to break up fights or get snacks or wipe bottoms. "From 7:30 to 10:30pm, I like to think the night is mine," she writes. "I like to unwind from cleaning, from cooking, from being on demand to the world. I put the kids to bed and breathe a sigh of relief to having my own time."

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But recently, when she was very much looking forward to her alone time, her son had other plans. He started crying for his mom, and no matter what Mazza did to try to soothe him, he wouldn't settle down to sleep without her there beside him. 

She tried everything. "I walked in there and I checked his forehead, I made sure his blankets were tucked in tight and his water bottle was in reach," she writes. "I turned on his special night light and said, 'Goodnight buddy.' I went to leave hurriedly and I don't think I even made eye contact with him. I went to close the door and I saw him standing up with his two brown eyes staring at me, 'I need cuddles.'"

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We've been there. When you feel like you've done your parenting duty for the day, it can be so frustrating when your kids ask for more of you. Mazza felt her anxiety rise. "Why can't I just have me time today? Why can't I just have that little break where I'm allowed to be touched out. Where I just want to binge eat chocolate and watch How I Met Your Mother?" she writes. 

But rather than have the adult version of a temper tantrum, Mazza realized something important. 

"He needed me," she reflects. "I held him and I climbed in his bed with him and I stopped thinking, for the first time in a long time I stopped thinking, and I listened to him breathe." 

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Mazza's rocky night reminds us that our kids may drive us nuts, but at the end of it all, they're what matter most -- even over our wine and ice cream.   

"Tonight in that dark room, the best thing that little toddler did for me was need me," she writes, "because it made me realise that on the worst days, I need him more."

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