Will bedtime ever be the same again?

Do you remember those first euphoric days of the summer holidays? The ones we celebrated a temporary cull of all bedtime routines, dreamt of late night barbecues under the stars and imagined the children happily playing until they let you carry them sleepily up to bed without protest?

It seemed back then that the summer would last FOREVER. September, a whole two months away, was such an empty threat and as I packed away my laptop for the summer break, I vowed to change gear a little for the benefit of the whole family.

It partly went to plan. We certainly have had our fair share of grubby, exhausted, late bedtimes. We have (wrongly) believed the kids would ‘fall asleep on the way home in the car’, and we have seen bedtime before 8.30 as an early night.

There have of course been beautiful memories created. The shift in pace has been a welcome rest from the usual military approach to ‘the process’ that is getting the kids to bed, in an attempt to claw back a little wind down time for us in the evening (to sit in silence on our laptops / scrolling our phones watching trash TV). We have actually enjoyed our evenings as a family and had some brilliant times together and with friends, free from the ties of routine.

We have however paid a price. Over the course of the six weeks the girls have gradually become visibly broken by their new found freedom. The days of blaming bad behaviour on the classic ‘She’s tired’ have made a comeback, and our children’s actions and attitudes have descended into chaos, leaving us dumbfounded, exasperated and clueless as to how to handle them.

The tantrums we have observed from our two year old have been like nothing I have ever witnessed. Seriously. And she’s learning an attitude like a teenager from her five year old sister that has at points broken me as a parent. And yet, these episodes are so sporadic, so ‘Jekyll and Hyde’, you wouldn’t believe they were the same sweet and loving sisters we look at with such pride and admiration most of the time. I’ve been referring back to my ‘managing child behaviour’ notes in my brain several times per day lately. Keep calm Mum, keep calm.

Towards the end of July, the Mouse was seeing the demise of naptime. With mixed emotions we were actively encouraging her to stay awake all afternoon, knowing it would bring about a smoother bedtime and better night. And yet, here we are six weeks on having regressed to walking her round the block at lunchtime, knowing she’ll never make it to the end of the long summer day of activities unless she gets a little forty winks.

Bedtime has gone to complete pot. Even late bedtimes don’t equate to the crash out you’d expect, and any attempt of an early night is pied right in our face. Long after the calling downstairs has stopped, and we think the battles over, comes the pitter patter of little feet down the stairs… “I’m not tired Mummy”…

On the plus side we have been getting almighty lay in’s (by our standards) to sometimes SEVEN THIRTY. But, given we are going to be needing to wake the girls up come Monday morning, it’s all gone a bit off-grid.

And so, much like that feeling at the end of Summer when you’re ready for Winter, and vice versa, I’m kind of looking forward to that comfort and familiarity of dark cosy evenings, children tired after a week at school, and TV nights curled up next to the hubby, laptop on knees, fire on, blissfully content.

Summer of 2017 you have been epic, but your session is up and it’s time to come in. I’ll miss your hazy days of mayhem, but I won’t miss the emotional mess you have left my family in. #True.

Until next July, of course.

But until then… GO TO SLEEP!


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22 thoughts on “Will bedtime ever be the same again?

  1. Nicole Reply

    Sigh, that’s always the case, isn’t it? Sometimes going off routine is so relaxing (and fun) for everyone, but if we don’t watch out, every aspect of discipline and normality gets flung out of the window. And then it’s double the work!!! Here’s to early bedtimes and quiet evenings…

  2. pamsbakeandbabyblog Reply

    Crikey i could hve written this! Toddler boy refuses to nap now and its killing me as hes so blooy grumpy! We too are having the almighty lie ins until 7am sometimes 7.15 but its a struggle to get them up and anywhere now! You have my sympathies! Great post #coolmumclub

  3. beautybabyandme Reply

    Ha ha I bet so many parents can completely relate to this! I hope the girls settle down into a lovely Autumn routine soon for you xx #coolmumclub

  4. Donna Reply

    I’m so lucky with bedtimes, both of mine just fall straight back into routines without a fuss! #coolmumclub

  5. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    So I didn’t even move bedtime over the summer hols because I was afraid of this so our bedtimes are the same because they never changed! Hope everything settles down for you….those tantrums…GULP! #coolmumclub xoxo

  6. Lisa Reply

    I actually got to a point where I created a step by step procedure to follow so that my kids will keep on their bedtime routine. I’m glad we all still can manage with everything. Lol

  7. The Improving Mum Reply

    Oh I don’t look forward to this. My son is only 1, but any change of routine can cause a huge upset at bedtime. Currently trying to negotiate whether to go down from 2 naps a day to 1, but that seems nothing compared with trying to start the routines all over again. Good luck to you and I hope you’re enjoying lazy quiet evenings again soon!


  8. anywaytostayathome Reply

    You were brave. Very brave. Holidays or no holidays I was still religious about bedtime, I am not a strong enough woman for the fallout #coolmumclub

  9. Mum in Brum Reply

    Ha this is literally us all over right now! I’ve let the nap times pass, allowing a couple of sofa hours instead, and bedtime has become later and later…Now that Taylor’s gone back to preschool this week she is literally insane when she finishes at 2.50 – but refuses to nap. The fallout is an afternoon of crazy tantrums and a ridiculously long process trying to get her into bed. We do have a lie in until after 7am – but then I’m running late for school! #parentingproblems xx #coolmumclub

  10. mebeingmummy Reply

    Tired toddlers are petrifying. Anything can set them off and at any time. I have had the odd late night with mine but mostly stuck with routine as they aren;t old enough to handle too many late nights yet. And I haven;t the stamina for the side effects either! #coolmumclub

  11. mamagrace Reply

    They’ll get back into a routine. We’re on holiday and her routine has been dropped, though I’ve tried to plan the commutes around her nap times and she’s had some sleep. As soon as we’re back I can settle her back into it. #coolmumclub

  12. tinmccarthy Reply

    I would sell my soul for an easy evening and a full night of sleep at this point. #coolmumsclub

  13. popcornforlunch Reply

    You read my mind completely with this – everything you’ve said applies to us. We had a chaotic, routine-free summer and it was great a the start but it had disastrous consequences in the end in terms of behaviour and bedtimes! I actually feel so much better having read this – I was blaming myself constantly – one minute I thought we’d been too busy over the summer, the next I thought we’d not done enough “exciting” things etc etc! I am incredibly glad it wasn’t just us. It’s true what they say that kids really do need a routine – ours have been back at school for a week now and I must admit the ship has been steadied. Everything feels calmer, more disciplined and more “normal.”
    Absolutely fantastic post, brilliantly written x

  14. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... Reply

    We had a great summer but also paid the price: Zach will no longer sleep through the night, nor nap in his cot. We are all exhausted 🙁 I’m hoping we can get back into the routine now school is back! #coolmumclub

  15. wendy Reply

    Sounds like our house. Leo’s 4 purine has gone completely out the window this summer but it has been worth every late night for all the wonderful memories.xx #coolmumclub

  16. Muffintopmummyblog Reply

    Haha my daughter is only 9 months but she seems to have decided sleep is for the weak, despite being an excellent sleeper up until now. I was thinking that when she was older, I’d get a bit of respite…. but having read this, I now know that I am sadly mistaken! I hope it all goes back to routine soon for you #coolmumclub

  17. Aleena Brown Reply

    I feel like it makes me a total stick in the mud, but I literally never deviate from the standard bedtime routine unless I really have to. Even through the summer… I just can’t bear it, and the chaos it causes turns me into a monster. No one needs monster-mum in their lives haha!

  18. Aleena Brown Reply

    oops #coolmumclub

  19. Mrs Mummy Harris Reply

    Ben is sometimes skipping his afternoon naps (like today) so I feel your pain of trying to get a tired little one to last till nighttime! #coolmumclub

  20. Cheryl @ Tea or Wine Reply

    Oh yes! I hear you! My kids only had to stay up an hour or so later than usual and we’d all be paying for it the next day! Here’s to getting back into the routine….. #CoolMumClub

  21. So Happy In Town (@SoHappyInTown) Reply

    I adore the summer holidays, always have done, always will. I love the late nights and late mornings in pjs with no time constraints and homework to worry about. But it does put us all into shock when term starts again. Back to the same old routine here but we kind of needed it. #coolmumclub

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