Pop quiz! What is something that's the best and the worst, happens daily, and often involves ceremoniously turning the lights out? Nope, it’s nothing sexy. I’m actually talking about toddler bedtime. Thankfully, my partner is frequently around to step up and I now have a handy-dandy (yes, I said handy-dandy) list of things that grown-ass men can do during bedtime.
If you’re currently in the throes of bedtime and don’t have time for the full list, here’s the gist of it: Grown-ass men help out. They are part of the routine. They are hands-on. They don't buy into gender stereotypes that insist the majority of parenting responsibilities automatically fall to the woman or "mom." It sounds simple, sure, but as parents know, any task involving small children are rarely (if ever) as easy as they initially seem.
I mean, bedtime can be the best because my kid is looking super cute and snuggly in his pajamas, we are done with all meals of the day (so the messes are kept to a relative minimum), and I know I’m mere moments away from glorious free time. It can also be the worst because it’s freaking hard to wrangle a toddler and get him or her to settle down long enough to actually sleep. So, here’s how bedtime can (and hopefully, does) play out when a grown-ass man is involved:
If Your Kid Is Young Enough, They Prep The Bottle Or Help You Find The Nursing Pillow
If only we were all capable of having a custom beverage provided to us at bedtime, right? I mean, I suppose it's possible, if you live close enough to a 24-hour Starbucks, but this is better and doesn't involve seeing the spelling of your name butchered completely (and, often, hilariously).
They Help With The Bath
It's a good thing, too, because sometimes it really does take four adult arms to manage one wet and squirmy child. Trust me, all small kids should just live under those "slippery when wet" tent signs.
They Lay Out The Pajamas. Or, Even Better, They Put The Kid In Their Pajamas.
Anyone who's ever accidentally zipped a baby leg knows that it can be nice to have a break from dressing a little one. Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything.
They Read A Book Or Two Or Ten
By "read," I mean "do voices for every different animal in the enchanted forest or wherever this glorious book that we've all collectively read a thousadn times is set."
They Sing A Lullaby
Typically, the lullaby comes after the books, so it's OK if it's toned down a bit. Like, we don't need to go crazy with dramatic dance interpretations or anything. Some gentle hand motions and exaggerated facial expressions are really all that are necessary.
They Lay The Kid Down
Confession: I'm known to drag this part out sometimes because snuggles, but if my partner is willing and able, he can always have a turn, too.
They Enforce The Rules Mom Has Set, Or Set Their Own Rules
This means that he doesn't swoop in to fly the kid on his or her feet just as they're about to be laid down. Unless, of course, he's prepared to take over after that.
They Help With The Brushing Of The Teeth
Sometimes, this is some casual bathroom wrestling. Sometimes, this is modeling toothbrush technique, complete with kiddie toothpaste. Either way, it's dental care for all involved.
They Stay Present And Involved
I mean, bedtime in our house can take a while, so both my partner and I have room in the routine to dip in and out, or check phones, or stare at the wall. However, these are the exceptions, not the norm. Most of the time, we both try to stay engaged.
What's cuter than a grown-ass man cuddling with a baby? Very few things, my friends. Very few.