Mum in a bad mood at bedtime(17 Posts)
I am a mother of three (aged 8, 6 and 3). Generally I am a pretty chilled out person. I've been a stay at home mum for the past 5 years, and in general really enjoyed it.
But.... these days, it gets to the end of the day and I'm knackered. I try to keep in a good mood, but for the past few months, at bedtime, I find myself screaming and shouting at the kids. I'm so desperate to get them to bed so that I can have a bit of time to myself and sort the house out. But whatever I do, I can't seem to do this before 8.30. I know this might not seem so bad to some people, but I really want some time to myself.
My DH works long hours, is a great dad, but is generally not back home from work till 8-9pm, or later. I don't have family nearby to help.
I know that perhaps I should start getting them upstairs to bed earlier (maybe 6pm or so). But whatever plan I put into place just falls apart - mainly because I am tired and I don't have the energy to keep them moving on. Every night I am knackered, disappointed with myself, feel like a failure, and don't feel like talking to my husband when he gets back home.
Any advice gratefully received.
Are you me?? Can you afford a student once or twice a week to help with the evening routine?
I have one who comes twice a week and she helps with whatever needs to be done (picking up from playdates, feeding, bathing, laundry (a lot!), dishwasher, reading books, playing games, homework)...and then once they are all in bed we sometimes go out for a drink and a chat. It works a treat for us. She comes for 2 or 3 hours each time and stay a bit longer if we go out.
This and also, before losing it and with my best smile, explaining firmly to all 3 children that Mummy is alone so everyone needs to help and do their best and whoever misbehave will spend time alone in my bedroom with just a book.
Just to be sure you understand really well: when I say put on your pyjama, you have to put your pyjama on straight away. If you do this then you can all have a star on your chart before going to bed. If you dont, then it is my bedroom and that is really boring.
....i am not sure it is the best technique but it works for us! Good luck x
Could you write a routine and stick to it. So 3 year old to bed first then older two. You need to accept it will be done by, say, 8pm. Also try and imagine how you'd like them to remember bedtime. Shouting etc as you know doesn't make a difference - I try and keep that in my head when putting my two to bed!
I could've written your post. I was just thinking about this tonight. By 6pm, I'm so drained that I lose all momentum, so everything takes aaaaages.
I was thinking earlier that I need to plan a schedule for bedtime and STICK TO IT. For my sake as well as theirs. Mine are very different ages though (11 and 6) which is a pain.
So, for example:
Dinner at 6pm.
Bath for DS2 at 6:45pm; for DS1 at 7pm.
DS2 in bed with a story at 7:15pm, then he can read till 7:45pm.
DS1 can come downstairs after his bath and stay up till 8:30, then in bed/read till 9pm. All this for school nights. Weekends can be a bit later.
But ugh... I'm crap at routines...
Mine are 11, 8 and 3. DH is regularly home post bedtime. The Eldest has Autism so need lots of help with things.
My routine is upstairs at 6pm. Everyone in PJ's. They all have their own rooms now so I go round getting everyone changed (well eldest and youngest), read to youngest whilst
shouting gently reminding others to wash/ do teeth (help DS1 do his teeth) then the elder two get to play together/ quietly till 7pm, whilst youngest has teeth done and settles with another story or three. 7pm eldest two sent to toilet then in own beds reading/ tv till 7.30 and lights out.
Messing around looses five minutes off lights out time. Repeatedly coming downstairs after lights out looses minutes of next night lights out time.
If they really can't settle then sometimes I allow extra quiet TV time (its all prerecorded documentaries and things that they watch not live TV). DS1 has sleep issues - he's not one to mess around so he doesn't tend to play me up on this.
You need a routine. Do one child at a time. All upstairs at the same time, but tell the oldest 2 they can stay up later to read as long as they stay quietly on their beds, (or your bed if they share). Then put the little one down with stories etc. Next the middle one and last the oldest.
Keep to your routine, despite their best efforts to sabotage, so they learn it too, and don't insist on them doing everything themselves. If mine aren't complying I just do the thing for them (teeth, undressing, plonking them on the loo etc) less words, more actions. Bedtime with 3 on your own isn't the time to be teaching this stuff if it all ends up with frayed tempers. cut yourself some slack and get the routine sorted first.
I used stories as a kind of reward to. If they were very quick getting in bed, they could have an extra story etc. They always got at least 1 story each.
If you struggle to get them up the stairs, try "last one up the stairs is a wonky banana (or something)" this still works with mine at 11 & 9!
Another thing that works on holiday, or when family are staying over, so the routine all goes out of the window, is playing a song/video on the ipad to get ready to. If they're ready by the end of the song, I'll play it again. I usually pick something like manamana (the muppets), popcorn, or 'they call me doctor worm'(they might be giants). Something that's a bit funny so it's a treat.
Talk to DH, book a course for January. He's has to be home by 6 at least one evening a week or work from home to achieve it.
Get. A. Life. it sort of helps.
Mine are also 8, 6 and 3. On a good night, they have eaten by 5.30, 20 mins or so of telly whilst I clear away and run bath/lay out pj's and get rooms ready. Throw all three in bath, wash hairs etc then eldest out, towelling robe on and sent into bedroom to put on pj's. next child the same, I then take 3 year old onto my bed to get dry/dressed. Then the older ones join us for story, youngest into bed, then older two have either another story or are allowed 10 mins reading in bed. This leads to all kids in bed by about 7, lights off by half past.
This doesn't always happen, but at least if they're in bed by an earlier time they are still settled by about 8, even if they come down a couple of times.
Maybe you could try bringing everything forward by half an hour?
Do they watch TV? DS goes into his bedroom for 20/30 mins before bed to watch a dvd for a while in this time I tidy up the dinner dishes/mess and get a bit of quiet. I swore DS would never have a tv in his room but GP bought it last xmas and it works to keep him busy and chill him out while I get some bits done. Once ive had a bit of quiet I move on with the actual bedtime routine teeth story etc.
I'm not sure that the evening routine is actually the issue reading your post back.
Yes it could start earlier, yada yada; but it actually just sounds like you are knackered and ground down by the sheer relentlessness and mind numbing tedium of it all. When did you actually last take a day off? A proper one where you didn't have to produce a single meal, stick a load of laundry on and do anything other than suit yourself?
What are your options to create such a day? Could anyone come and take the kids for a weekend so you and DH could go and stay overnight somewhere?
Wow, I didn't expect to get this many replies - thanks to everyone!
I'm going to try a very simple routine and stick to it - namely - everyone up by 6! I know this won't work several days in the week mainly because my elder 2 do clubs and football etc, but at least it might work for my youngest.
My main worry is that I am always shouting at my eldest, and we used to get on so well. He does a lot of after school stuff (as does his brother), and I think it's important that he does that, but I don't want to end up feeling resentful and knackered.
As a couple of posts suggested, I am going to stagger the bedtimes, and hopefully make my eldest feel more important and valued....
But more importantly, I am going to try to get more of a life outside of the kids. Hire a babysitter once in a while. I went away for the weekend last weekend with a couple of friends for the first time in years and it was fantastic - I came back in such a good mood on Sunday night. The contrast with my mood on monday night was too much to bear - that was when I wrote the post.
I look jealously sometimes at people with able grandparents who live close by, but I know that having family close by and involved can also come with its own problems, so maybe the answer is to splash out on a regular babysitter.
Has anyone used a babysitter during the day? My partner and me are always knackered in the evening - if we go out we have a couple of drinks and we're finished!
I haven't but I work full time and have a nanny so it's not really relevant. I did interview a nanny once who finished working for one family at 6, and then popped around the corner to work from 6.30-8 just to help out with dinner/bedtimes for a family of 4. What a relentless day for her but clearly people do, do it.
Dont have any family nearby so any sort of evening out together requires a babysitter or we go out separately.
Out of interest did you come back to a weekends worth of laundry etc on Sunday night or was the house as it would be if you had been there. If you started the week with a backlog of weekend stuff to catch up on, it's not a big surprise that you were knackered and grumpy?
I know someone who works a 4 day week but has a 5 day a week nanny. Friday's are spent running around like a loon so there are no chores or shopping to do on the weekend. She often takes a few hours to go to the gym, get her hair done or whatever. It sounds lovely
I see no reason not to hire someone to come in on a weekend afternoon to take your kids off to the park for a few hours etc. so you can both have some time off. I try to spend the money on a cleaner as I am out at work all day but the end result is that I'm either at work or with my kids. There is no "me" time until 9pm for the most part. They are little though so we're not really at the stage where they will entertain themselves with some lego or a film for a few hours.
It's outside my experience but what do other parents do with 8yr olds in the evenings to stagger bedtimes? I'd be inclined to allow reading or quiet play until 7.30/8 depending on start times in the morning but that's it. Tricky if they are sharing with a younger sibling and general telly watching is mostly inappropriate at that time. It's a good time to play with something really fiddly that needs to be kept out of the way of a 3yo but it's the last thing you will want to clear up every night.
I get make sure mine is ready for bed earlier than 'lights out time'. Also my DC have about an hour 'quiet time' in their room before 'lights out'. If my DC does not get this for some reason will miss it, likes to read and wind down. What this does mean is that the DC are not running about the house right up until bed, time you can relax and by the time you do get to say goodnight they are more chilled out.
This was me a few days ago. I had to change a few things around. I work a few hours less...Do a lot of slow cooker meals which seems to make evenings better.
I also get my 7 year old to help with a few jobs that are actually helpful, like take recycling out, Make his own bed.. Sort out socks and pants laundry. Make sure they all take plates in the kitchen,( obviously 3 year old might need someone else to do it, the little things that cut out minutes do really help.
I totally relate to you - my shouting time does tend to be the morning because I feel under loads of pressure with the school day looming and by the evening I let things go more easily! But I hate it and know it is a bad routine and experience for everyone with me being so grumpy.
Time to yourself - eg exercise and relaxation time - is key IMO.
I understand you need time to yourself and it is the problem with having babies/toddlers and older "pre-teens", who need to stay up later and do activities, get homework done plus discuss their emotional issues often later in the evening! My age gaps are bigger so I feel it probably more strongly. And I had got into the habit of putting my baby to bed just after six to get some peace, which contributed to her waking earlier and this became a vicious circle - so I have had to delay her bedtime, which knocks onto everything else!
I think the activities are a massive issue - I tend to agree to activities on the basis we can "fit it in" without really thinking about the actual impact of driving around at tea time / bed time! I am going to make a massive effort to think about the actual logistics before agreeing to anything in future years as it does make me feel exhausted sometimes. I am trying to think in advance of when in the after-school period I will have time to get dinner ready, sit and read with DC etc.
My three year old uses a nursery for the free hours rather than going to a nursery school/ school. This means i drop her off at 9.15 and pick up at 2.45 monday and wednesday and she does a slightly shorter day Friday. This suits me because rather than have about an hour five days a week i get enough time to actually get some things done. On the days she's home shes also happy to do things. With my elder two they both did half days which i found a big tie. They were too tired in the afternoon to do much and mornings post drop off were very short before i was walking back.
I don't know if this is an option you had thought about or consider could work for you. No babysitter cost either.
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