Parenting column

Leitrim Mammy Diaries: Kids bed time Vs Parent bed time

Fiona Heavey


Fiona Heavey


Leitrim Mammy Diaries: Kids bed time Vs Parent bed time

Let me just rest my eyes ... forget about kids bedtime, what is the right time for parents to hit the hay and catch up on some beauty sleep?

The bed-time battle, the fight against the clock and the nightly bed hopping duel is an ever changing game in our house, and these bright nights don't help.

Sleep is King, it rules above all else and is held in the highest esteem, respect and honour. The amount of sleep we all have at night dictates our mood and the level of effort we put into our day, how much junk food we consume and how much TV is watched.

I understand how sleep deprivation is used as a torture method and if one family member goes under the weather and requires middle of the night attention; then we all feel the brunt of it the next day.

There is about a half hour difference between when I wrestle the toddler into his PJs and place him in the cot, tip toeing my way out the door with everything crossed that he will play fair; to when I eventually get away from the million questions of my sleepy four and a half year old.

On a good week night I hope to descend the stairs at 9pm and pray to all the Gods that I won’t hear my darlings until morning. I know many families boot the kids to bed at 7pm, while others stay up much later, but for now this time frame works for us. But what is the average bed-time for parents?

Last week I was shocked after I called two friends on separate nights and the question of adult bed-time came up. I told them I would call for a real, uninterrupted chat after I put the kids to bed, otherwise I miss chunks of important conversation answering questions and demands from my kids.

On the first night, the questions had got deep during the tucking in of the eldest darling - she dumps her daily build up of life questions on me just as I lean in for the final kiss goodnight and with the guilt of a working mammy hanging over me I usually stay and enjoy a little one to one with her. So it was 9.20pm when I came back downstairs and lifted the phone, I called my friend, she answered but she wasn’t happy she had been asleep. The call didn’t last long, she had to be up at 6am for her daily commute.

The next night I escaped the 101 questions, thanks to a stint at the playground that had them both zonked. At 9pm I called my friend in London, she was in bed about to go to sleep, she has a six-year-old who starts the day at 6.30am so when she puts her to bed at 8pm, she actually follows suit.
I have other friends who stay up all night watching TV shows and enjoying alone time or couple time away from their adorable noisy monsters.

When I successfully get the children to bed, my next job begins: cooking, cleaning, organising, dealing with laundry, etc. I work five days a week, the precious few hours between getting in the door and putting the children to bed is made up of an evening meal and some playing (otherwise known as breaking up fights). I don’t want to be washing dishes in the little time I actually see my children. I also don’t want to spend my longed for weekends cleaning and so I must do the chores after watershed.

My new year’s resolution this year was to try and get to bed by 11pm … it rarely happens. Throw into the mix some bed hopping with the children, wake up calls for water, toilet, and sniffles; some days I get more steps on my Fitbit at night than during the day!

Sometimes the bed-time battle is with the children (especially when it is still bright out) and other times the fight against the clock is with myself - either way I’m always tired and hungry! What time do you go to bed at?

Also read: All good things must come to an end, even naps