When you are doing the family thing alone, (and you know I am, you probably are too) any moment of quiet time is seized upon like the last bread stick in the basket at Olive Garden. As a mother I feel guilty saying that my favorite time of the day is when the kids are in bed. It is true.
Now that my kids have gotten older, nap time isn't what it used to be. Only one of my children naps during the day, and I protect that nap with my life. When they all napped I was like Hallelujah! Those two hours mid-day is just what I need to maintain my sanity. I am a little less sane these days.
I wish I could get my children in bed earlier! I have followed the counsel of Dr. Mark Weissbluth the author of the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" for all four kids! I am pretty sure he has saved my life, or in the least gave me permission to not feel guilty about putting my kids in bed.
During medical school and residency it was tempting to keep the baby(s) up so they could see dad when he came home from school/work. But in the end it just made the kids grumpier and mama bear ready to show some teeth. Armed with Dr. Weissbluth's wisdom I could put the kids down guilt free, and enjoy a moment or two with DrH when he got home.
Some days the kids wouldn't see their dad. But it was a gamble keeping them up.... they might not see their dad anyway and I would have tired and grumpy kids to deal with. It wasn't a gamble I took very often.
Dr. Weissbluth is an advocate for early bedtimes for children. I would love to have my kids in bed by 7:00 pm. And once upon a time they used to be. Those were the days!
Now, thanks to things like Daylight Savings Time and Summer - that darn sun that never sets early enough to give the right cues, it is more like 8:00 pm. I really need it to be 7:00 again. Even better would be 6:30 pm.
I love that he is very scientific and has graphs and charts in his book. He suggestions (and I wholly agree) that children who are well rested learn better, behave better, are more sociable, and have happier mothers (I added that last one, but I am sure that he would agree). I have some great kids - I can say that when they are in bed:-)
When I read his book, I tell myself the title is "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Mommy". If I don't sleep.... oh, it is bad. When my children don't sleep, it is bad. When we both don't sleep well enough - you'd better watch out, it is going to be a rough day.
If you have a baby, toddler, preschooler, or school aged child this is a great book and I highly recommend it. I have read it with each of my children and re-read sections of it periodically as we are experiencing changes in our sleep routines. I can tell when my kids haven't had enough sleep, and when I haven't too. Sleep is a big deal!
We just had a rough day. They need to sleep. I need to sleep. Goodnight.