Finding and enforcing a child's sleep routine can be somewhat challenging, especially when you're new to this whole parenting thing. So, once you discover what works you'll do damn near anything and everything necessary to protect it. We all know sleep is important, but what about all the fun things that happen after your kid goes to bed? I'm more than convinced there are some strange things every mom does when her kid is asleep (because I've definitely done my share of post-baby sleep things) so, come one, don't deny the truth, dear reader.
When my daughter was little, she absolutely adored being swaddled, slept through the night fairly early on, and gave little pushback. It was glorious. The downside to her early-to-bed schedule, however, is the unrelenting fact that achieving a solid 8-10 hours of sleep so easily, means she's the world's earliest riser. Eh, I'm OK with the trade-off. For now. My five-year-old son is a different story, however. As a baby, his sleep patterns were atrocious thanks to his severe acid reflux. We tried swaddling, wedges, slanting the mattress, special formulas — everything — but he, and I, really struggled to get some sleep, let alone quiet time after hours. Once his digestive system matured and he began sleeping through the night, that's when the real fun began.
When my kids go to bed, I'll admit, there's some weird stuff that goes down. The counting of minutes until their heads hit the pillow so I can "do my thing" is a daily ritual. So, with that being said and because we could all use a healthy dose of weird every now and then, here's some strange things I'm convinced every mom does when her kid is asleep (that you definitely shouldn't be ashamed of).
She Watches Mindless TV For Hours On End
I don't know about you but my days are filled with Spongebob Squarepants, TMNT, Henry Danger, and all things Nickelodeon. I don't mind it but at the end of the day, give me some drama-filled reality TV to wash it all down, please. It's all about balance, right?
She Gives Your Pet Some Much Needed TLC
We have three cats who compete with the kids for our attention throughout the day. I do my best to "share the wealth," but I can tell my furry friends often feel slighted.
When the kids go to bed, it's my chance to redeem myself in their little cat eyes. And yes, I'm a cat-woman cliche and totally OK with it.
She Stares At Absolutely Nothing
If you've ever had one of those days where all you could do was get through it, you'll feel me on this one.
Sometimes I just want the kids to go to bed so I can sit in peace at stare at the wall and let my brain drift off into freakin' outer space. This is usually when I realize all my future potential, calculate how to solve the world's energy crisis, and have a sudden understanding of that movie ending I didn't previously get. Stare time is nothing short of important time.
She Cleans All The Messes
I don't have much of a shut-off when it comes to chores and tasks but that's mostly due to my anxiety and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). I'm absolutely a Type-A so if there are things left undone when the kids go to bed well, sigh, I will do them.
The worst part is, I'll probably enjoy it.
She Catches Up On Work
I work from home which basically means I work all day, every day. It's hard to have scheduling boundaries if you're a writer because you tend to love the job and writing has no timeframe. If you leave home to work or are a stay-at-home mom, it's hard not to check on related things when the house is finally quiet. After all, most mothers are instilled with this do-it-all, unrealistic and unhealthy superwoman mentality.
When my kids go to sleep, I sometimes catch up on all the things I missed through the day (which, at times, is probably everything). But really, if you don't check your work email when you get those few minutes alone, it's totally cool to just, you know, stare.
She Stretches Or Does Yoga
Because I'm a long-distance runner, I have this ridiculously intricate stretching sequence I do every single night. It can take me anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to finish, but I can't do it when the kids are awake because, you know, kids.
I need to focus on breathing and, let's be real, there's no real breathing when you have children.
She Eats All The Things
OK listen, I'm not perfect but I do try to instill a healthy lifestyle here in my castle. Well, at least when everyone is awake. When the kids go to bed, I may or may not eat all the snacks and things I've hidden and/or preached they could only have a couple times a week.
Sometimes parenting is hard and sometimes I want all the brownies. Sue me.
She Chats With Friends
I'm notoriously known for avoiding talking on the phone like it's the damn plague. I've always been this way and probably always will. This doesn't mean I'm not social, though.
All that post-baby sleep quiet time gives me the chance to text everyone I've ever met. Thank you, technology, for letting me be me without sacrificing friendships.
She Corrects Her Kid's Homework
I want my daughter to do well in her 4th grade class, but she really struggles with math homework and, arguably, so do I.
However, I'll stay up late researching how to solve the problems and maybe, possibly, correct some things and plan a speech for the morning to talk her through it. It doesn't mean she'll get it (and I sure as hell still don't) or that she isn't learning. I just have to. It's my thing so leave it.
(FYI: elementary school is hard.)
She Prepares For The Next Day's Chaos
No matter how much you've done in a day, it never really feels "finished." Instead, it usually feels like all I do is prepare for what's to come with meals, to-do lists, and laundry. P
resent tense gets lost in translation so give yourself a little break every now and then. A parent's job is never done. If your kids are in bed, don't squander what little time you have to yourself at the end of every day. You deserve to get weird so, you know, get after it, mama. Saddle up and pour yourself a cold one because tomorrow, you'll get to do it all over again.