“We didn’t realise we were making memories we just knew we were having fun”
It’s 10 o’clock at night and I’ve just tucked my 20-month-old daughter in to her bed three hours later than usual.
It wasn’t because of a toddler tantrum, she isn’t particularly unwell (apart from the odd sniffle/cough) and she didn’t nap so late in the afternoon that it pushed bedtime back.
No, she’s gone to bed late because I decided to take her to my family’s house for fireworks and fun.
So, does that make me a bad mum in your book?
How about the fact that this is the third night in a row that she’s gone to bed later than usual?
Yesterday she stayed up to celebrate her Aunty’s birthday at the pub and at 8 o’clock when she should have been dreaming about dinosaurs and dragons she was stuffing homemade chocolate cake in to her mouth and having cuddles with her family.
The day before that she was running down Blackpool’s central pier and gazing in wonder at the glow of the illuminations.
We all know that routine and predictability is important for our children and whilst even I’ll admit that three nights in a row is pushing it (it’s just the way it’s fallen this week and to be honest, I’m loving the extra hour or so in bed the next day!) on the whole, is the odd night breaking the usual bedtime routine really all that bad?
Well whilst she might be losing some (literal) sleep over it we haven’t been.
We want to raise her with a wealth of experiences and memories behind her. They say you only regret the things you don’t do and that’s a mantra that I’m trying to live by.
These moments are ones that she might remember some day.
These are new experiences for her that make her (and us) happy.
I grew up spending most weekend evenings at the pub with my Grandma, Grandad, Mum and Dad. They’d ask what I wanted to drink and I’d jokingly say ‘gin and tonic please!’ to be like my Grandma or Mum. I couldn’t reach the bar so had to be lifted up to say hello to the owners and I remember my Dad and Grandad playing games with the beer mats, falling asleep on my Mum’s knee and watching the houses/city lights in the dark as we drove home after a night of giggling, listening to the grown-ups talk and convincing my Grandma to let me have some 20 pence pieces for the sweetie machines.
My parents later divorced. My (bloody amazing) Grandma isn’t with us anymore (she was so youthful, so stylish and I loved her beyond words) and I don’t see as much as my Dad or Grandad as I wish I did. They were the golden days, those memories will always stick in my mind and I look back on them fondly.
If my parents had decided to batten down the hatches at 7 o’clock every night because Princess Lucy needed her beauty sleep they would never have happened.
“Memories are timeless treasures of the heart”
Do you not think that it’s unrealistic to always have our children at home and tucked up in bed at the same time every night without fail?
Should our children not be involved in family gatherings and feel special because they’ve been allowed to stay up past their bedtime?
Should they not be there in the evenings on holiday running around the dancefloor hyped up on fruit shoots?
Everybody knows that, for the most part, where we go she goes (excluding drunken nights out and festivals because we do have some decency!)
I don’t understand why some people think that we should exclude Lily from certain things or let her miss out on these experiences (celebrations, special events etc.) just because, heaven forbid, bedtime is looming.
As long as she’s happy to stay up (which she nearly always is, what kid wouldn’t be?) then what’s the issue?
We’ve not had any difficulty getting her to sleep when we get home so far (because it’s not like it’s every night of the week is it?) she can catch up on her sleep earlier in the afternoon or the next day and I feel like it’s our duty to let her get involved, take her to things that she’s bound to enjoy and generally make the most of time together as a family.
Some people say that when you have children life is all about them going forwards and others say that when you have children they should fit in with your existing life but I think both ‘ideals’ are too extreme with us happily finding a middle ground that suits all of us.
Your life will never be the same again when you have children (in a good way!) and, of course, they will be your main focus because you will undoubtedly be obsessed with this tiny life that you created together but you can’t sit in every night because something’s been planned during ‘unsociable baby hours’.
I think you just have to roll with it, let your kids show you whether they’re happy to stay up and enjoy these sorts of experiences, forgo routine for the sake of memories every now and then.
Because (and really think about it) what else is more precious than making memories?
JOIN THE CONVERSATION — Do you let your little one stay up every now and then? Do you think it’s OK to let your kids stay up with the grown-ups for the sake of making memories and a more well-rounded childhood?