A few days ago I read an article in a women’s magazine about the importance of reading to your child at bedtime. The author, a mother, either said she looked forward to getting the kids to bed or she dreaded the bedtime routine. I don’t remember which it was, but her point was that she learned to change her attitude, slow down, and enjoy bedtime by reading to and connecting with her kids. That sounded lovely to me.
I started thinking, “Maybe I need to learn from her. I should change my attitude toward bedtime and savor that bonding experience.” Many nights this winter I’ve buzzed around tidying and cleaning while the kids watched a movie, usually with sippy cup of Ovaltine and some popcorn I cooked the old fashioned way.
After reading the article I tried to feel guilty. I told myself that I was creating bad habits, the kids were going to suffer in the long run, and I was somehow damaging them and our family dynamic. I tried to promise myself that I would be one hundred percent hands-on until the kids fell asleep at night. Surely I could be a better mother than this!
Listen, I’m home all day with these little boogers. I read to them, play with them, cook for them, and take care of every need (and most every whim) they have. In the warmer months we play outside until way past bedtime, but this winter we’ve been hibernating, and yes, watching movies. Am I destroying their brains? Am I spoiling them, ruining them, or somehow making them stupid or dull? Are they suffering undue stress because Mama and Daddy don’t always read a book before putting them to bed?
No, I’m not at all apologetic when I say I look forward to bedtime, and not a soft, fuzzy bedtime routine. I look forward to throwing their little butts into bed so I can have those last few precious hours to myself before it starts all over again. There, I’ve said it.