It’s Sunday evening. Our pajamas are on and the warm glow of the evening lights relax us as we enjoy a snack before books and bedtime. My daughter usually chooses yogurt, a banana, or some crackers for her snack. It’s been a few hours since dinner and my milk supply is near nill so a night-time snack has become part of our bedtime routine. Once we are done with snack, I take her upstairs to brush her teeth and use the potty one last time.
Our general routine begins around 7:30 pm and goes something like this: bath, jammies, snack, brush teeth, use the potty, climb into bed, read 4-5 books, lights out, nursing and snuggles. As you can tell by the amount of tasks we need to accomplish and the fact my daughter is not quite 2 and half years old, this can be a very long, time-consuming event. EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.
Getting her into bed is fine actually. We read and giggle and say I love over and over again. Once the light is out, the real work begins. My daughter still wants to nurse and well, I don’t. Nursing has stopped being a “feel good” part of being a mom. Some nights are easy because my daughter has skipped a nap and is all tuckered out. And other nights, I basically have to lull myself into a sort of meditation to get through it or I just simply fall asleep as I wait for her to fall asleep.
The nights that are easy, she actually falls asleep while nursing. I am talking maybe 10 minutes tops! These are the evenings I triumphantly walk downstairs feeling like a champion and get to have some chill out time with my husband. Maybe even watch some TV together or eat a cookie without having to hide in the kitchen or share half of it. And then there are the majority of evenings….
Most of the time I fall asleep with my daughter (yes, it might only be 8:30pm) because I am just plain exhausted. But those 10-15% of evenings when all I want to do is carve out a little bit of time for myself (maybe to read some blogs or write a post, or even read a book – GASP!), it’s enough to drive me mad. The suckling and tossing and turning. My poor little bubs. I just want her to stop touching me and GO. TO. SLEEP.
How can I love her to pieces and want to be away from her at the SAME time?
It’s maddening. Eight pm turns into eight-thirty and then eight – fifty and she is asking for another snack, or to read more books, or to watch Thomas and Friends. And this is my breaking point. I have been at the entire bedtime routine, starting with bath time, for nearly 2 full hours.
On these particular evenings, I have to have my husband step in. I leave the bed, tell my sweet daughter that it’s bedtime and mommy is done laying with her. I let her cry for a few minutes before I head back upstairs to kiss and soothe her, but now it’s daddy’s turn to lay with her and get her to fall asleep.
Once I finally have “alone” time, I have to deal with my anger, guilt, and agitation from the past 2 hours. I feel like my evening is being hijacked by my toddler and it’s like a cruel itch that I am unable to scratch. I am not sure if this is developmentally ‘normal’ or something I am personally doing wrong with the way I have established our routine. I know friends who have done the cry-it-out (CIO) method and their child is asleep by 7 o’clock EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. Say what???!
How do I get some much-needed me time built back into my routine?