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Sucker.

Fat Mum Slim /

I love my kids.

I feel like I need to put a disclaimer out there. They’re cute little people who I love with all my heart. I love them.

But I find them cutest when they’re sleeping.

Holy smokes, I’m sure if you searched for blog posts on the topic of sleep on this blog you’d find 50% of the blog posts are on that topic. Trust me, I’m over it too.

I JUST WANNA SLEEP.

The other day I want to Melbourne for the day and my flight was due to come back in around 10pm and I was so excited that I’d get home when the kids were asleep.

You see, bedtime is a battle. I know it’s nothing new and so many people go through it. It starts out with story time. I read a book, or seven, because I’m a pushover and my kids know it. And then I send Lacey to her bed, and I pat Lulu a million times and stroke her face. It can take 20 minutes or it can take over an hour. Then I go into Lacey’s room and I start the true battle. Basically it’s a negotiation situation. She’ll beg to sleep in my room. She’ll get in really close to my face and whisper, “Let’s just go to your room. I’ll fall asleep straight away and there will be no problems at all. Sound good?”

She’s smart that one.

And to be honest, I’m so over bedtime…. if I didn’t have to maintain a happy marriage, and if I didn’t like personal space I’d probably just throw in the towel and have everyone sleep together, because I’m SO OVER THE BEDTIME BATTLE.

But I want to have some normality, and 13% of me is stubborn, so I persist with the sleep thing. I pat her 300 times {no exaggeration}, and then I tell her I’ll come and check on her in 5 minutes. I’ll go and sit on the couch, and generally she’ll call out about something after 36 seconds and then I’ll go into her and see what the problem is, and then it starts the battle of me playing this game that I know I shouldn’t be playing, but I’m a sucker.

The other day I actually paid her $5 to go the FLIP TO SLEEP because I just couldn’t. It worked and it was the best $5 I’ve ever spent. Shame it didn’t work the next night.

The thing is, I’d love to be able to share this battle with Hubby but the girls want him to have no part of it. Mostly because he’s all about tough love, and I’m a sucker. A softy. I crumble.

Eventually, after about 3600 pats and 110 minutes, Lacey will pass out, and I’ll go to check on her and see that she’s asleep. I make sure she’s really asleep, because there’s nothing worse than being tricked and starting the situation all over again. And then I tip toe to my bedroom and pass out.

It doesn’t end there. Most nights I’ll wake to someone standing beside me, their face right in mine, whispering, “I can’t sleep!”

Sometimes I scream, because no matter how many times it happens it still scares the bejeezus out of me. KIDS AT NIGHT AT CREEPY.

And then they’ll get into my bed, or Lacey will sleep on the floor {on a mattress} and we try to get sleep.

Lulu will scream because my face is not in her face, “YOU NOT LOOKING AT ME MUMMY!” and of course I’m not looking at her because I’M TRYING TO SLEEP.

This happens every night. Each day I have to gear myself up for the battle. I dream of not doing it. I dream of the kids ASKING to go to bed, or passing out early, or like the time I went to Melbourne hoping they’d be asleep before I got home.

I sent Hubby a text that day, “Please make sure the girls are asleep before I get home, but I just can’t.”

To which he replied, “They want to stay up for you, sorry.”

My flight got delayed and I ended up getting home late, and not so keen to do the bedtime thing… but I came home to a quiet house. I gave a fist pump to no one. I imagined Hubby going through the routine – the story reading, the patting and all the negotiations.

Then I walked into my bedroom and saw all the bodies and knew he’d been a sucker too. The kids won.

Sucker.

Do your kids sleep at night? Tell me your secrets!

P.S. Do you know what’s bad? My brain is so fried and tired I feel like I’ve written this exact post before and I might have and I’ll be so embarrassed… I need sleep.

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  • Erin Strike

    We did the tough love thing. I wasn’t at my best during the days due to being so tired and figured the only way to be a better Mum on the whole was to be mean Mum in the evenings. As soon as they came into our room they were marched straight back into theirs. It was painful at first but we just stuck with it as they soon realised that we weren’t giving in they just stopped coming out.

  • Kathy

    I definitely did the tough love thing. My kids were read a story and put to bed. I’m so darned impatient that I could never sit there with them and do the pat-the-back thing; it’s just not in me to do it. I would have turned into crazy-mommy and they knew it. We also didn’t let them into bed with us except if they were sick. They learned how to fall asleep without me early on and we were all happier for it.

    That said, every family has their own way of doing things and have to find the way that works for them. For some families co-sleeping works well or soothing their kids into sleep each night makes everyone happy. It’s about finding the balance that keeps you all happy and sane.

  • Joanne Boyd

    TOUGH LOVE! Your girls deserve a mum who isn’t so tired, so do it for them! Having said that, my 2 (who are now teenagers) were pretty good once they grew out of the baby stage. However, one night a week my hubby used to go out, so my son thought it was his chance to misbehave – so I had a policy of “smack first, ask questions later” cause you know how they make up any excuse! Good luck xxx

  • Meile Worrad

    I feel your pain. I started off with my son doing controlled crying when he was 4 months old and was thrilled that I had mastered the bad ass super mum with a kid that now self settled at 7pm and slept through the night. Then at 3 years he had night terrors! Only 3 times but they were horrific and he was so traumatised by it that he hasn’t slept in his own bed since. So now I’m the one who lets him sleep in my bed every. single. night! I don’t even bother trying with his room. We read a book or two, then I lie with him until he goes to sleep. Half (ok, maybe 3/4) of the time I also fall asleep but given I then get up at 5am, I’m happy that I still got a full night.
    Side note: I’m a single parent so there is no one else squeezing in the bed (other than the dog).

  • Dee

    Bedtime can be so draining. Try writing some bedtime rules with the girls & put it up in their room. I once heard that the things you continuously say as a mum just stress you out and the kids stop listening anyway. So we wrote down some family rules which included the things I always nagged about. I was sceptical & couldn’t see what good it would do, but it was like magic. Might work for bedtime too. Good luck!

  • Oh hun I could have written this……. so my youngest is now 5 and it’s only just getting slightly better. The only piece of advice I have is to try not get too worked up about it because no matter what you do, it’s unlikey to change, sorry but it’s true. My husband and I are both insomniacs so my kids didn’t have a chance. Pick your battles, and if nothing else works (trust me I’ve tried it all and yes half of my posts about a lack of sleep due to kids) then maybe it’s one of those things you might have to live with, like taxes and school lunches (3 of them every day in my case) You don’t have to like it, but it could just be the way they are… for now. How I cope is having a break from bedtime routine every few weeks, if you can while hubby is home, go shopping at 6 or 7pm or catch a movie or big walk…. Big love and I feel your pain xxxx

  • My 7 year old is easy at bedtime. Toilet, story, “icy cold water bottle”, kiss, lights out. Don’t hear from him til morning. If he needs the bathroom in the night he just gets up and goes, doesn’t even turn a light on.

    My 10 year old however.. HATES BEDTIME. It’s near 11pm, sometimes after by the time I get her to sleep. She’s so anxious at bedtime, always has been. Luckily she’s grown out of night terrors, but still, omg.
    With the start of the new school year and all the extra anxiety that brings, I’ve had to go back to sitting in her room til she falls asleep. We’ve tried dreamcatchers, lavender on her pillows, fairy lights strung all around her bed, a mountain of novelty cushions and stuffed animals, nothing helps. So I just sit there, in silence, hoping eventually she’ll drift off and stop coming up with reasons why she can’t sleep. If I ask if Daddy can put her to bed ‘just this once’ I may as well have told her an axe murderer will be doing bed time tonight! Even if they’ve spent the whole day together doing something awesome, once bed time hits she doesn’t want to know about him, lol

    We used to have a mattress on our bedroom floor for the inevitable 2am wakeup, but luckily those days are over at least, once she’s asleep, she usually stays that way.
    One thing that I have been getting her to do lately is bounce for 10 minutes on her big exercise/fitness ball before she gets into bed, that seems to be helping with the tossing and turning while she’s trying to fall asleep. I’d really like to be in bed at a reasonable hour though!

    Good luck, I feel your sleep deprived pain xx

  • I feel you. I usually end up shouting “the day is over stay in bed” which is unpleasant for everyone but it’s so draining! My 10 year old believes that the only time to talk to me about what’s going on for her is after we’ve said good night and lights are out, meanwhile the 8 year decides that’s when she needs water, wee or just to have a party in her room. I put them to bed earlier now, the 8 year old usually stays in bed once she is asleep but the 10 year can be like a new born on legs some nights! We’ve tried all the tricks some nights they work some they don’t! Good luck with it all, sometimes knowing you are not alone with it all helps!

  • deb xo

    I feel terrible to share this but my kids sleep at night. With my first I had to go to Karitane to learn how to put him to sleep and of course I was convinced it wouldn’t work, but hubby made me give it a go and low and behold after a week he was putting himself to sleep. Of course I kept this with the other two from the minute they were born and it was all great until I took them overseas and my 5 month old switched her body clock around. It then took 3 years to get her to go to sleep. I’m afraid I tried everything, the patting, the story telling the bottle etc, etc and then I put the foot down and took the tough love approach and within a week you guessed it… sometimes facing up to the hard things will get you the good things. Its been 9 years since I got her to go to sleep and still to this day she’s in bed at 8.30pm and asleep by 8.35pm – sorry I hate to be one of those mothers that makes it sound easy, it wasn’t – it isn’t but if you put in the touch approach it might just work – think about it, would you do something you didn’t want to do if you weren’t made to do it (for one reason or another).

  • My older kid is only 2-years-old – I’m not sure I’m looking forward to this next stage of bedtime battles! At the moment we have a closed-door-to-go-to-sleep rule which works fine. My kid finds it quite comforting, I think, being able to shut the world out. Sometimes when he’s really tired, and I put him to bed, he turns over and says “mama, close door.”

    Other times, when he doesn’t want to rest, I take him into his room and close the door behind us. He might say that he doesn’t want to rest now, but he knows that the door isn’t opening again for him. So he gets into bed and we read books, and sometimes he’ll jump out of bed and play with some toys again, but he knows that he’s in there for the night. When I leave, he doesn’t try to race out with me, because he knows that won’t work.

    I don’t know how this will work once he’s older and needs to be able to go to the toilet during the night, but maybe we can still have the closed-door-to-go-to-sleep rule until I go to bed. Not sure. :/

  • I can’t say I’m super successful at the ‘go to sleep’ game, as 50% of the time I end up growling at my boys (who share a room- not by choice but out of lack of space).

    We do have a few rules- if they get up or yell out and it’s not an emergency they loose a privilege like some pocket money, or a special treat (and I’ve found myself offering a lot of special treats just so they can be used like a weapon at bedtime #badmum).

    All I can say is I feel your pain, and I hope that it will get better for you!! Maybe being the tough Mum might work? I don’t have any great answers, though I wish I did. I do swear by Tizzie Hall’s Save Our Sleep Toddler edition which has a lot of really good tips for kids too.

    May the force be with you 😛

  • Barb N

    .. my children were horrific at night….. sleeping was never on their night time agenda…..
    I wish I had some good advice for you Chantelle, but I think you just have to ‘wing’ it……
    I never mastered Getting the Children Settled in Bed ….ever…
    Homework and teenage years only made night time worse…..
    I was glad when the last one left home so I could sleep undisturbed …..
    …. all I can say is that you will live through it … hugs …….. Barb xxxxx

  • Pat68

    😀

@Fatmumslim