We are in a new stage of parenting, beyond baby and toddlerhood and now into the realms of children who are less needy in some ways but who can be just as demanding. It’s a bit of a new venture for both of us, and we are mostly learning from our mistakes as we go.
Before you read any further, please remember that tongue in cheek and sarcasm are what keep me sane, along with coffee and gin, as I parent, so do know that I adore my kids, and love spending time with them but this little diatribe is me expressing my frustration and also hoping other parents out there can relate and maybe give some advice.
Toddlers are, I promise much easier than tweenagers. I hear all of you with toddlers going through all that entails looking at me aghast, because, of course toddlerdom, whilst it’s fun, can also be hard work and you wonder if you will ever regain sleep, sanity, and any kind of life that doesn’t involve soft play, mindless CBeebies and potty training. It does get better (they do eventually sleep and learn to pee in the toilet and kids TV sort of improves and you no longer have to go to soft plays) but it also comes with challenges of it’s own, as they get older.
We currently have a bedtime issues.
My kids are no longer tired and ready to go to bed at 7pm. Evenings, are frankly, a drag. I swear I get less time to myself or with the husband than I did when they still napped in the day and went to bed at a humane hour.
They both seem to have cottoned on to the idea that there exciting things happening in the evenings and they are older so they don’t want to sleep as early as they did. Bedtime for my small son is still challenging (that’s another ranty post for another day) but our real problem is our tween.
She doesn’t want to go to bed early any more and because I am a reasonable (well, she doesn’t think so, that’s also another rant for another day) person, I don’t expect her to go to bed at 7pm, like she did when she was 5. However, we are finding evenings hard to manage because rather selfishly, the husband and I want adult time (no, not THAT kind of adult time, this is a family blog) to ourselves.
So how do we manage this? Is it reasonable to expect adult time, and not to have my kids up in the evenings with us? They do need sleep and need to go to bed and we enforce that, but clearly they aren’t going to bed at 7pm any more…
Is it reasonable to expect my tween aged almost 11, to take herself to her room and entertain herself quietly, then get into bed, read and go to sleep. Is it unreasonable of me to feel slightly resentful that she seems to think it’s ok to float around the house until after 8:30pm, and clearly thinks she missing something exciting. She pulls a good guilt trip of “but I just love being with you and dad”, which is all very lovely and I know I should appreciate this, because pretty soon we are going to the THE LAST people she wants to spend time with, but frankly I am over it. I want to have a bath in peace, enjoy a glass of wine, talk to the husband about things that I don’t wish to discuss in front of the the children and be able to shout at stupid politicians on the news without any tween company. She has my attention from when she is picked up from school, until bedtime, and the husband is very good at coming home from work and focusing on family when he walks in the door, so it’s not like we aren’t spending time with our kids.
Seriously, I just want my kids to go to bed.
If you are at this weird stage or passed it, how do you handle it? Do send your kids to their rooms at a certain time and do they understand and are not offended by the concept that their parents love them but just want to not have them around for a bit?
Or am I a horrible parent?
Answers on a postcard please??
Me, when my kids won’t go to bed…