Bedtime Is the Most Dreaded Part of My Day {And Not for the Reason You Think}


Bedtime kiss.It’s 6:30 p.m., my daughter has wrapped up nursing, and we are walking into her bedroom. She ensures all her “friends” are close by and gives me one last kiss and cuddle. I close her door and lock the safety gate. Bedtime. Calm, quiet solitude. 

The most dreaded part of my day is bedtime. And not for the reasons that you’d think.

It’s because this is the time when my mind runs wild in a million different directions. I am forced to be present with myself, and I find reflection, at times to be a challenge. 

Was I a good enough mom today? 

Did she drink enough water? 

Did I cuddle her enough? 

Did she get enough of my attention today? 

The. List. Is. Endless. 

To distract myself, I jump into the household chores I didn’t have time for during the day because I was engaged with my daughter. Playing, modeling, teaching, loving; this list is also endless. I often forget this during these quiet moments. 

I wash dishes, fold laundry, clean the kitchen, and prepare for tomorrow. I “busy” myself to avoid the emotional downfall that may follow. A thought pops up; let me set it aside. I’ll put it into my imaginary “container,” secure the lid and come back to it later (maybe). 

The vacuum whirls and whistles. The washing machine screams for me. Back to distracting. Finally, it’s time to unwind. I jump in the shower, prepare some tea, and scroll on my phone a bit. I text a friend, FaceTime, check e-mails and finish work notes. I PROCRASTINATE. I IGNORE. 

My daughter cries out, so I check the monitor. She’s still sleeping; maybe it’s a dream? It’s my time now. I find a safe space and reluctantly open my “container.” I pull out those thoughts from earlier, address some emotions and worries, and leave some behind (work stuff, climate change, inequality, the state of the world). I breathe, and some nights, I cry.

I remind myself that this motherhood thing was never meant to be easy. But, damn, it is beautiful. I reassure myself. I AM ENOUGH. I feel empowered. Even if for the moment. 

My container returns to its “shelf” in the back of my mind. Until I need to call on it again for safekeeping or reflection. I pull out my gratitude journal and give my “Thanks” for the day. 

It’s finally off to bed for me. Still healing, but grateful. Still learning, but thankful.

Thankful for bedtime. Oh, the dreaded bedtime.


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