BurlingtonVT Moms Blog is partnering with Phoenix Physical Therapy to bring you our latest series titled “50 Shades of Sleep”, about…you guessed it….sleep. Like an elusive treasure, we find ourselves obsessing about sleep not only for ourselves but for our children as well. Although we may not consciously recognize it we are constantly making decisions surrounding the subject of sleep. Is it OK to co-sleep? Can babies really be trained to sleep? What are night terrors? When do you move your child from your bed to the bassinet or to his own crib or into his own bed? Does the thought of SIDS scare everyone? Is it normal for kids to wet the bed and up to what age? And does it all change when they get older? Our goal through this series is to invite you into an open conversation about all things sleep, and to acknowledge that no matter your struggles or choices, you are never alone.
Older Kids Mean Different Bedtime Challenges
Since we started a family 13 years ago, the stages of our lives have changed tremendously. I remember the countless sleepless nights and wonder how I survived on such little rest!
Now that our boys are older, sleep difficulties are long gone. Yes, moms, it’s true! They eventually sleep! The bedtime routine changes we face now offer an entirely new challenge. Our adult time is gone!
Until last year, the boys went to bed at 8 pm, allowing my husband and I to spend a good couple of hours alone. Now our boys aged 10 and 9 are going to bed at 8:30 pm and our 13 year old son at 9 pm. My husband has an early wake up call of 5 am which means he’s out cold by 9:30 pm. Do you see the problem here? We get maybe 30 minutes of alone time at night…and that half hour is never uninterrupted.
We often long for the days the kids went to bed at 7:30 and 8 pm. Sure, the kids got up in the middle of the night, but from 8-10 pm we lived like rock stars! If living like rock stars means watching tv that isn’t cartoons while eating ice cream and not having to share bites with anyone, that is.
It seems that no matter the age of our children, bedtime routines – whether you are getting sleep because of them or not – is the biggest cause of stress in our lives. I think the real challenge through the years has been showing grace instead of being unnerved. It is easy to resent your kids for ruining your nights. It is easy to be grumpy and harsh when you are so very tired and also when you haven’t seen your husband’s face without a kid in the line of sight in a week.
The hard work of sleep struggles is finding a way to find rest with where you are in your stage of parenting. With every stage comes it’s own challenge. The upside to my current challenge is that I get the ice cream and remote all to myself from 9:30 pm until I pass out covered in melted Ben and Jerry’s while endless episodes of House Hunters play in the background. I guess it’s not a bad stage after all.