Them vs. Us: the Bedtime Battle

Them vs. Us: the Bedtime BattleThere is something quite mysterious about bedtime. All of a sudden, your children turn into nighttime assassins–vigorously fighting against the one and only thing that threatens their souls.


Does anyone else fight this battle, or is it just me? I mean, seriously. Can we talk about the stages of bedtime? From birth on, kids have predetermined to cause their parents to age YEARS within DAYS. If I could only tell my former self one thing–it would be that you cannot … I REPEAT … CANNOT … store up sleep. Gaw, the person who figures out how to do THAT would be a gazillionaire.

And if you’re one of those parents who is well-rested, somehow looks younger, and whose baby has slept through the night since their first night in this world … well … then … this post ain’t for you, momma. I would advise you to STOP reading now before you somehow jinx yourself.

First, your tiny human is born into the world. They are lovely beings with soft skin that smells like everything you ever dreamed of. But guess what–five days later, they wake up! They still smell pretty dang sweet, but for WHATEVER reason, they scream their head off until they are permanently attached to your body. Whether nursing or bottle feeding, it seems as if they are NEVER sleeping EVER.

Unless you’re in the car. Or the grocery store. Or somewhere else you CAN’T sleep, too. The days are long, but the bags under your eyes MIGHT be … longer?! Oh, that’s not how the saying goes, is it?


Then, jussssst as your little baby bear grows a liiiiiittle bit more, they’re sleeping in their own crib. Fingers crossed. You may have a few hard nights, but for the most part, they sleep well. 

After that stage is when all hell breaks loose. Toddlerhood. The second your toddler is able to climb out of their crib, they are ALSO able to come out of their room.

Panic sets in. You’re not only responsible for getting them to sleep, but you also assume the responsibility of  making sure they STAY in their room. For the entire night.


If your bedtime looks anything like this–give or take a few f-bombs–then I want to just give you a long hug and some energy in a cup {coffee}:

It’s 7:30 p.m. The younger babies are in bed. Thank God it’s not a bath night. You mention the word “bedtime” and your toddler starts negotiating with x, y and z. You tell your child “5 more minutes of x, y or z” and then he has to go to bed.

Fast forward to 8:15. Shoot, it’s 8:15 already? Five minutes turned into freaking forty-five. What the heck? You got sidetracked by a sick baby, or laundry, or dishes, or packing lunches, or meal prepping for the following day, or picking up toys, or signing papers for school the next day, or emails from work, or–if you’re really lucky–you got to enjoy that 45 minutes with your husband, giggling and talking about your day.


At 8:15, you tell your tiny tyrant it’s time to potty, get teeth brushed and go to bed. He screams at you and you swear you actually saw the devil inside of him. You pick him up, take him upstairs and to the bathroom–only to have him squirm so much that pee shoots out everywhere while he takes no notice. Until he does. Because he will notice. Another tantrum commences.

The brushing of the teeth consists of promising cookies for breakfast the following morning (okay, okay … I’ve only done that once) while you pry open their little mouth and brush. You find yourself singing the most ridiculous songs to get their attention elsewhere.

You’re sweating. Maybe crying, too? Depends on the day!

It’s 9 something. Part of you doesn’t want to look at the clock because you know it’s late for this little boss man to be heading to bed. Nevertheless, you take him to bed and try to escape.

Not a chance, lady! You forgot to read a book!

You’re so tired. Seriously. So. Tired. But a book is a must. After all, you’re a teacher. You promote literacy.

After you read the SAME book for the 499th time, the boss wants a drink of water.

After the water, he’ll want you to either play with his hair, sing a song or rub his back.

After you rub his back, he’ll want you to RE-cover him up with his blankets.

After you cover him up with his blankets, you’ll say goodnight, tell him you love him and exit the room.

He will wait for you to least expect it, then he’ll pop up outta nowhere and demand either a hug, milk, or another opportunity to go potty. This could go on for a few minutes {if you’re lucky}.

After you take him back to bed, his soft little voice will say “I wuv you momma …” as he turns his little head and cuddles up in his blankets.

In that moment, you’ll realize all the sweat, patience and tears you lost that night are somehow not even noticed by your little guy. You’re forgiven. You’ll come to understand that these moments of utter chaos and correction instill in you a spirit of gratefulness. You somehow feel a deep, profound love while simultaneously feeling defeated, destroyed and depleted.

What is that, anyway? That feeling? It’s probably the same one my mom described this way: “you’ll understand someday when you have your own kids.” Turns out, she was right!

Some nights, I’m so tired I can’t even bear the thought of fighting the fight. It sounds so dramatic for me to even say that. But seriously … this stage is hard. And I know I’m not alone.

So, tell me … what does your bedtime battle look like?

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One Response to Them vs. Us: the Bedtime Battle

  1. Jacquelynn October 30, 2017 at 4:32 pm #

    “You’ll come to understand that these moments of utter chaos and correction instill in you a spirit of gratefulness.” Truth. Amen cousin. Oh the gratitude that I’ve built in this past 2 years. It makes me almost want to have another little boss! 😉 I appreciate your story. Love, Jacquelynn