In Dread of Bedtime: Going Solo

I am a fairly spoiled stay at home mom in terms of the help I get from my working husband. My husband as a university professor has a fairly light schedule of hours that he must be physically “at work.” This means most days in the summer and on his long Christmas break, I have him at home. He works those days in his study, and then comes up for lunch and is done for the day by five o’clock. This does not mean he has to commute at five, he is upstairs from his study and talking to me and changing diapers. During the semester, he goes to campus 3-4 days of the week, and works at home at least two afternoons. This means that once I get the kids settled in nap/quiet time, I can escape for an hour to my haven of the treadmill in M’s study in the middle of the afternoon. Then, I get to take a shower. I also do this on the weekend afternoons. It is wonderful.

M at work upstairs in the afternoon.

Then there is bedtime. After dinner (which I cook), M does the dishes, and then we put the kids to bed. We do this together. On bath night I take care of the two older one’s while M does the youngest, and on non-bath nights I dress the one year old and he encourages the older two. We do our family prayers together, while I nurse my still nursing 22 month old. (I asked her last night, “Are you going to nurse until you are two?” Her response, “Yah!”) Then I put the “baby” to bed, and M tucks the girls in and reads them a chapter of our current bedtime story. It is nice, and it is a great routine.

Tonight it is not going to be that way. Tonight, M has a Dinner and Talk he is going to, and I have had a slowly growing dread of the post nap time. I think I am going to have to pull the Skype card while I make our heart, butterfly, and flower shaped mac and cheese and fish sticks. For the record, I never cook like that. When M is home, I like to cook like this (steak is like a once every two months things):

Steak and Bearnaise sauce, grilled veggies, baked red potato wedges. (Well, M does the grilling)

If we get the food eaten by 6pm, I should be able to clean the whole kitchen before bedtime. Then I can manage the PJs and teeth brushing. I can manage the prayers and nursing. I can manage putting F down while the other two bounce around wait quietly in their beds. I can even read them a story.

But what I dread is the after story, after tucked in, waiting for them to actually sleep. I can count on them coming out of their beds at least three or four times for “one last” prayer, hug, drink, potty, etc.

But maybe tonight will be different. Maybe tonight, they will remember that I have been “meaning what I say” for a few weeks now, and listen to me. So, I will face it courageously, and pray for patience (and obedience). Also, to the Archangels…who should intercede for us extra on Michaelmas.