The Case of the 8 O’clocks: Five Ways to Make the Anger Disappear

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Well, it’s that time again. 8:00 pm. The dreaded BEDTIME. The time where mommy becomes a raging monster. Words like brush your teeth come out of my mouth like a million times with each utterance louder and angrier than the last. Your patience is razor-thin and everything your kids do makes you crazy. I look at the clock. Yep! You guessed it. It’s 8:00 PM. The magic time where nice mommy needs a break and your kids’ bedtime is the only thing standing between you and your “me time.”

It’s so close…the end is near. It’s almost time when I can take a break, watch my show and unwind from a long day of parenting hard. It’s a special time where I can sit, and no one needs me. I can eat and drink something and I don’t have to share it with anyone. No one is calling my name and I am not needed for the first time all day long. It’s heaven, and it is so close. Any time after 8 pm is my time and I cherish it so much that it makes me angry when it doesn’t happen right away. How can I, as a grown woman, transition better at night so I don’t feel so bad for being a crazy yelling mom that my kiddos so often see at the end of the night? What can I do to tuck them in peacefully and not have any mom guilt? I just want to be the sweet loving tuck-in and have sweet dreams mom not the GO TO BED mom!

I have thought long and hard about this because many mornings I wake up full of shame that I was once again mean before my kiddos went to bed. I want to wake up and feel good that I was a magical mom. So, what can I do?

  1. Stop setting your daily “Mom” expectations too high for yourself. Set realistic mommy goals for yourself. You are giving your kids everything you have and leaving nothing for you or your husband. You are empty and that can make the 8 o’clock monster come out in full rage. Cut yourself some slack. Your house does not need to be perfect. You don’t need to cook gourmet meals and for God’s sake let the laundry pile up once in a while. It’s OK! Take a much-needed mom break and breathe in the middle of the day. I have found that the dishes and laundry will always be there- but their childhood will not. SO, let it go. Have some fun and relax. Be silly and laugh. I have a full-time job so my time in the home is limited. When I get home, I am tired. I need to feed my kids and enjoy them a little. So why do I choose to do all the chores first? It’s time to stop.
  1. Go for a walk. Get some fresh air daily. This will help clear your mind. Oxygen helps our brain restore and renew.
  2. Take a nap. Yes! Take one. Don’t feel guilty doing it and schedule it so no one interrupts you. Yes, it will be hard but if you set the expectation weekly or daily then your family can respect your needs and grow to respect that time.
  1. Take a bath. I know you may not be a “bath person” but taking one could be exactly what you are missing to help melt all the daily frustration away. I know not all of us are bath people but grab your favorite Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt and enjoy a good soak. It does wonders for your mental health and the Epsom salt really does a body good.
  1. Get a sitter for yourself. Or a mom’s day out. Heck, trade times with someone so it doesn’t cost you any money. But do it! Even if it’s just for one hour, this much-needed time will allow you to sit, shop, or just drink a hot cup of coffee in peace. It will make the 8 o’clock bedtime a much more enjoyable process.
  1. Lastly, take a deep breath and enjoy the nighttime process. Read a book, snuggle, tell them fun stories about your childhood and make it fun for you too.

I write this because I too become a monster at bedtime, and I have wanted to change for the betterment of my children’s sweet dreams. I want the last thing my kids think and feel at night is how much they are loved; how important they are and how they matter in this big world. They are only little once. The time goes so fast. So, breathe, smile, and go tuck in some kiddos.

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