The Trouble with Bedtime: Working Mom Woes

While I love most things about having two jobs, the time I dislike being a double-time working mom most is at bedtime. Throughout the day I push, push, push to get everything done. And now that the day is winding down I want more than anything to just relax and enjoy myself. Unfortunately I can't sit down and finish up a quick job just yet because my children won't fall asleep.

Every parent has bedtime woes with kids, but as a mom who works in the evenings (Yes, I was doing mornings, but I keep switching between morning and evening schedules), I can't seem to be soothing and patient while my kids take their time falling asleep. I love to watch them sleep, of course, and I love the quiet time together with my little ones – it’s about the only time they are still - but in the background I can hear those precious minutes ticking away between their bedtime and mine.

So far tonight I've scouted for monsters. I've read plenty of stories. I've sang, I've fussed and now I'm running out of patience. I’ve been sitting here for almost forty-five minutes and finally I’ve broken down and started emailing myself this post through my phone just to feel productive. This is a great idea, by the way, grammar and spelling of my thumb typing notwithstanding. Maybe I’ll at least get some ideas sketched out while I wait for the little one to fall asleep and the house to become still enough for real creative work.

Like so many things about raising children, this ever-lengthening bedtime drama is going to be a temporary problem since my kids won't need me to feel their wiggly tooth for the fourth time or check all of the closets for monsters once they reach a certain age, but in the meantime I'm allowing myself a good gripe.

I wish this big boy of mine would just fall asleep! He just peeked over to see what I was doing while I was trying to patiently wait for him to close his eyes. Grrrrrrr! For the record, I learned long ago that I can’t just sit or lie down peacefully beside him – I fall asleep before he does, hence the phone’s heavy use.

Surely I'm not the only parent who loses billable hours to upset tummies, loose teeth and fidgeting kindergarteners. Help me out here!

Sent from my iPhone

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Rebecca is a full-time everything. She teaches English and reading to her much loved, if challenging, high school students during the day and is a freelance education writer in the evenings. With almost ten years in the classroom and advanced degrees in business and information science, Rebecca specializes in materials that inform, educate and entertain. Rebecca indulges herself by pretending to have spare time and writing about the ups and downs of being a freelancing mama whenever she gets a chance.

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5 thoughts on “The Trouble with Bedtime: Working Mom Woes”

  1. Well, you already know it, but things are SO much easier as they get older. I have an 11YO girl and a 7YO boy who fall asleep with a pajamas-toothbrush-cuddle routine that takes 10 minutes at the most : ) SO HANG IN THERE!

  2. Oh, Rebecca, I understand completely, as do many writer moms and dads out there. But as Allena pointed out, it does get better. In the meantime, maybe you could start your bedtime routine a little earlier. You’ve probably already tried this, but it’s just a thought.

    Good luck!

  3. I have a 4 y/o and almost 2 y/o and unfortunately, I feel as if I’m in a rut of un-productivity. Their bed time varies though they’re always up bright and early, and so consequently, I stay up super late some nights trying to get done the things I wanted to get done, or else I say forget it and go right to bed. It’s exhausting and frustrating, and I’m trying to stay positive in that it /will/ get better. But in the meantime, I think it’s best to be very flexible and patient. Best regards for you and your little bundle of love!

  4. Parenting is the hardest job we’ll ever have to do. Even though my youngest is 12 now, I can still relate to that feeling of frustration. And even though my kids are just about grown, I’m heavily involved with my grandchildren. My husband suffers from multiple major illnesses, so sometimes I have to set aside my own goals to function as a caregiver. Personally I work when I can – 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there. I watch for opportunities and seize them when they appear. And I don’t sleep much. Since bedtime is becoming a bit stressful for you, maybe it’s time to go back to working in the morning? Good luck.

  5. It’s always so nice to know I’m not the only one with these little issues. I’ve noticed that working mornings means my boys get up earlier than they would otherwise – around 5:30 in the morning, which cuts into that work time and also makes my days more brutal with tired little ones in the evening. The summer months should be easier since I just wear them out during the day and they pass right out at bedtime! I might try mornings again this summer once they are so tired they sleep past six or I might stick with evenings for another year or so until they are a bit older and more self sufficient.


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