Last night, I was sick and yucky feeling. My mother urged me to get the kids to bed by 8:00, 8:30 the latest and for me to get to bed by 10. After all, sick bodies benefit from sleep and we’ve all been suffering from colds for days now. Well, I didn’t listen to my mother. I intended to listen to my mother, I really did, but I just didn’t feel like fighting what felt like some sort of natural flow. I could’ve come home and started cooking dinner right away, served it, hustled the kids into a bath, beat MutantEldest with a stick to finish his homework as fast as possible, and stuffed everyone into bed for some peace and quiet at last. But, to put it simply- I didn’t want to.
Instead I got home and sat on the couch crocheting while MutantDaughter and MutantBaby watched Nickelodeon and MutantEldest worked on homework. When I was satisfied with my crochet progress and starting to get a bit hungry, I got up and started on dinner. We munched through dinner (which turned out really yummy) and ice cream and got everyone into the tub. I let them play a bit while I did some more crochet and then washed them up. Meanwhile, a friend came over with some cold medicine for the kids (hooray reinforcements) . I gave them their medicine, got MutantEldest in bed for his 15 minute reading time and let the other two play with my friend to blow some steam. Finally I read them a bed time story, tucked everyone into bed, snuggled with each kid for a bit, and watched the Jets lose beautifully to the Ravens (thank you Baltimore!). I went to bed around 11. I’m pretty sure the kids were in bed just before 9 but I’m not 100% on that one.
Yesterday was the kind of day where I was simply struck by the most vicious passive aggressor in my home—the clock. And with modern devices, they’re everywhere! The flying minutes mock you from your stove, microwave, coffee maker, laptop, cell phone, alarm clock, etc. Everywhere you turn, time check! And it’s stressful. And not fun. And restrictive. So I let it go yesterday. I’ve actually been reducing my clocks for a while now. There’s only one clock in my kitchen as I let the microwave and coffee maker go unprogrammed. In my bedroom my alarm clock finally died and I replaced it with my cell phone. Really, those are the only two clocks I can think of in my house not counting my laptop. But the harder thing to let go of is the act of checking the time. A quick glance here and there can really get the heart racing you know? And not in a really good exciting kind of way but more in an “oh poopy” kind of way.
I honestly encourage you to eliminate clock stalking in your life as much as possible. Even with my children, I find things are more peaceful when you just let them flow than when you try and force them into working. Bedtime can be such a headache in my house and maybe it was more due to cold medicine than a laid back style, but things went really smoothly last night and they were all asleep quite quickly which is usually not the story by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not advocating letting everything go to heck and letting everyone do what they’d like when they’d like. But I am suggesting breathing a little room into your schedule and giving yourself larger windows to work with than precise benchmarks. I know what doctors say about how much sleep children need, but just because I have them in bed at 8 versus 9 doesn’t mean they’re getting an extra hour of sleep. In most cases, I’m even concerned it’s backwards since the stress of rushing to bed on time causes them to be pretty worked up and takes some time to come down from. It’s not surprising to walk past my kids’ rooms at almost 11 at night and find them awake which was something I didn’t have to deal with last night happily enough!