As I write this, I wonder if we will ever have a time when we are not talking about sleep, or how to make it happen. We are very grateful for the sleep we are now getting, and that our boy is sleeping through the night (please read our other posts on sleep if you need to catch up on where we have been, and what we have dealt with) but as with most parenting, life has it’s ups and downs, and we still have struggles we manage.
It’s hard, trying to explain to parents and other people in our life who don’t “get” what we are dealing with. I am pretty sure we are often seen as over protective, anally retentive helicopter parents, who aren’t prepared to relax, over certain things we do as a family.
You see, we don’t like to mess around with bedtime.
I shared this post recently on our Facebook page
We work on a tight routine. We don’t like to deviate from it.
Our small boy doesn’t cope with change in routine. The odd night here and there may or may not upset his balance, but if we do break out from normal and what he is used to, it wreaks havoc. Bedtime, frankly, goes to hell and we don’t need that. He doesn’t sleep in, so a late night really messes up our routine. He gets horribly overtired and then his sensory issues flare and we deal with a cycle of meltdowns, anxiety and stress for him and us.
So when we are invited to late night events and to bring our children, we generally decline them. We don’t go to events that end later in the evening, we don’t drag our kids to dinner parties and let them stay up. We don’t do sleepovers. We don’t go out as much as other parents becuase we only have a handful of trusted babysitters who our boy will settle calmly and sensibly for bed for (or we have to make sure he’s asleep before we go out, which can be incredibly stressful and puts a lot of pressure on us)
We get comments a lot, saying things like:
“Oh, one night won’t hurt, it’ll be fun” “all the other kids will be there”, “it’s just one night”, “it might make him sleep in tomorrow”, “it can’t be that bad” and so on…
What we say in reply is “we prefer not to deal with the side effects of late nights and bedtime routine disrupted, yes, we like going out and being sociable, but the price we have to pay for that is not worth it”.
He’s only 7. It’s not the end of the world, that we curtail our social life to suit the needs of our child. One day, he will cope better or be old enough that we can relax a bit. One day he may sleep in, or bedtime won’t be so bad if we mess up his routine. We are too tired to try and make more effort, simply put. I get tired of trying to justify why we parent the way we do, and trying to explain to well meaning people who think they are being helpful, trying to persuade us to break from our routine or think we are being over protective.
For now, we stick to our routine. It doesn’t work for others, but at this point in parenting, we don’t actually care what bothers others, if they aren’t living in our home, helping us walk our life through.
We don’t mess with bedtime. Please stop asking us to!