The Kids

Confession: I Hate Putting My Kids to Bed

by Katy Anderson

Photograph by Twenty20

I've heard many moms say that bedtime is their favorite time of day with their kids. They love the cuddles and the chance to talk, read stories and connect with their children.

I think that's amazing and I admire them. But by the time bedtime hits in our home, I'm simply too. damn. tired.

The truth is, I loathe bedtime. It feels like a finish line I can't wait to cross. My patience wears thin after being with my three boys all day long and my ability to keep it together dissipates. All I want is a quiet house and some adult time. It doesn’t help that my kids fight bedtime as much as I look forward to it.

Comedian Jim Gaffigan, a father of five, gets what I’m talking about. He once described in his special, “Mr. Universe,” how bedtime at their home is like a hostage negotiation—but in reverse. "If you stay in there, I will give you whatever you want. I will meet your demands!" he jokes. Amen, Jim.

The sexiest words out of my husband’s mouth are when he says, 'Let me put the kids to bed tonight.'

One hard thing about bedtime is that once your kids are in bed and you begin to unwind and actually do something that you want to do, interruptions follow. Somebody needs a drink, or someone else somehow managed to have a bad dream in the five minutes since you left their room.

Look, I am an introvert and need alone time to recharge. The short time from when my kids go to bed until when I go to bed is usually the only alone time I get during the day. My kids already interrupt me all day long, often while I’m trying to write something, and I’m generally pretty patient. But my body shuts down later in the day, and I can only tolerate so many more requests. There is no clocking out in motherhood, and I'm pretty sure it's not healthy.

I’ve been a mom for 11 years. When I was a new mom, I almost never asked for help or did any kind of self-care. It has taken me years to learn that I am a better mom when I take breaks, and that these breaks are essential to my mental well-being. My breaks don’t usually happen at bedtime, but when they do, it feels like a day at the spa.

I'm sure that one day I will miss the epic battle that is bedtime with kids. Maybe I'll even miss them getting out of their beds for the fifth time because they just have to tell me one more thing, but that time is not now.

Right now, I'm at the place where I'm OK with admitting I would outsource putting my kids to bed, if it were possible. In fact, these days, the sexiest words out of my husband’s mouth are when he says, "Let me put the kids to bed tonight." Swoon.

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