Bedtime has been difficult around here lately. Taylor and I will go through our normal bedtime routine - bath, stories, songs, prayer, kisses goodnight, and then I wait.... Wait for her to get out of bed 3-4 times before truly going to sleep. To prevent her from getting out of bed, I was camping out next to her bedroom door and sternly telling her to “lay down” every time she tried to get out of bed, but that got old. I took some friends’ advice by putting her straight back into bed, laying her down, telling her “good night”, and then leaving the room – over and over again until I outlasted her and she falls asleep, but is this really normal?!
Tonight, was especially difficult, as she just cried and cried for me and was only content when I held her while she laid on my shoulder. I’d get her to sleep and then she’d wake up even more tired and upset when I transferred her into bed. It's a really tough predicament that I'm in, because I'm all for teaching her good bedtime habits and enforcing sleep, but it's hard to know if she's just truly needing some mommy time and cuddles or just working me. See, when I get her home after a few days with her Dad, I wonder if she's just wanting to be close to me. Has she gotten out of our routine that quickly? She could just totally be playing me too and knows that I'm a sucker for the mommy cries, so who knows.
I just love her so much, and I want to do what's right. If having her cry it out and being strict with bedtime is it, then fine, but the questions and concerns about what the problem really could be consumes my mind. What IF she really just needs to cuddle with me? What IF she's thrown off from being with mom, then dad, and back again? What IF it's my fault and I'm really condoning bad sleep habits? What IF something is bothering her that she can't communicate to me yet? What IF it’s her teeth? It's just heart wrenching to see your child throwing a fit and crying for you, especially when I haven't seen her in a few days. What IF she just missed me? I know I missed her, so the cuddles are more than welcome. On the other hand, what IF I'm giving her too much bedtime leeway? Ahhh… the mommy guilt!
I NEED my time in the evenings to work, sleep, clean, relax. I rely on this time! I have no problem whatsoever, putting everything on hold while I rock her to sleep, but she never required that time before, so I am wondering changed? Did I do something to change this pattern? She was a perfect little sleeper up until about 20 months old. She slept soundly for 10-12 hours a night and napped for 2 hours each afternoon. Maybe she is just changing some and learning where she can push her limits with me?
I don’t want to make excuses, but it is hard not having a spouse there to help me enforce the bedtime habits. When she’s getting up in the middle of the night, it’s just so easy to pull her up into my bed and let us both get the most sleep possible. Sometimes I will take her back into her room and she goes back to sleep there, but if I am honest, I don’t do that a 100 percent of the time. I just don’t know what’s right here – let her have some extra mommy time and sleep with me OR do I fully commit to always putting her back in her bed?
Once bedtime is behind us, then comes the middle of the night challenge. Most nights around 1 ,2 , 3, or 4am, she wonders into my room looking to spend the rest of the night in bed with me.
I’m sure I’ll get lots of varying opinions here. This is why it’s such a difficult topic. I realize that some couples have a difference of opinion within their own households on bedtimes and sleep, so I suppose having a spouse isn’t always easier in this case. She’s sound asleep now, but in my bed. I fear trying to transfer her into her bed will wake her, so I will probably just leave her. Now I am exhausted, so the housework and emails will wait…