|The bigs at bedtime after a trip to Costco|
"That wouldn't be a good idea," he said casually. "Why not?" I felt defensive, eager to know why I couldn't have those idyllic Norman Rockwell type bedtime scenes captured forever and hung around our house. "Think about how bedtime is at our house." I hated that he was right, but he was right. Bedtime at our house is not my finest hour. I like to think I'm a decent mom for 10 or 11 hours a day, but when it gets to that crucial last hour of the day I'm really starting to lose whatever good things I've had going earlier in the day. Meltdowns are rampant, and I'm not just talking about the kids. Ed is good to usually take over the bedtime scene, because if it's left to me the drill sergeant within emerges and instead of lovingly winding down our day and enjoying our bedtime routines I'm shouting commands of jammies-teeth-potty-prayer. And really, shouting about praying? You know I've lost it.
As I've realized the bedtime disconnect, I've started to think about the positive bedtime experiences I want for my kids. A story from my friend Natalie came to mind that she posted about several years ago, but it's stuck with me (probably because the first half of her experience is so familiar to my own- definitely click over to read her beautiful words). She talked about her own bedtime bedlam and at the end of a particularly exhausting day, she got her kids back out of bed so she could make it up to them and end the day on a happier note. As they were reading scripture stories together they came across the story of Christ's miracle at the wedding of Cana turning water into wine, and she realized that this same miracle of turning something ordinary into something extraordinary can happen through His power- even if that means turning a hard time of day into a happy time of day.
I came across the following quote recently on 320 Sycamore, a decorating blog I enjoy, and thought I'd share it again.
"Parents, remember that now is your opportunity; you may feel yourself harassed as you struggle through the days with an unruly child, but you are living the happiest and the most golden years of your life. As you tuck them into their beds at night, please be kind to them. Let them hear a kind voice amid all the angry, vile voices that they will hear throughout life. Let there be an anchor to which these little ones can turn when all else fails. The Lord help you so to do."
-Harold B. Lee
Speaking from experience, I know that bedtime will not get better for me without some divine intervention. I'm too tired/ornery/insert-negative-adjective-here at the end of the day. But I can ask for help. And I know when I do, it will get better.