Bouncing Into Bedtime: Implementing a Bedtime Routine

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We all know that our children are the best, most wonderful, most well-behaved kids on the planet. When you become a parent, your children are immediately better than everyone else’s, it’s just a fact of life. However, there is one universal truth that every parent must come to terms with: bedtime will be, at one point or another, the bane of your existence.

Single parents have it hard. Married parents have it hard. Moms and dads and grandparents raising grandchildren and foster parents fostering ALL have it hard. You know why? Because bedtime can be one of the most stressful times of the day.

For me personally, I like to reserve the hour or so before I go to bed “me-time.” I like to read, watch all the good murder documentaries, repin outfits on Pinterest that I can’t afford, and generally zone out. That can be quite impossible, though, when you have one child who is dying of thirst, another of starvation, and another that may be, possibly, coming down with a rare case of spontaneous plague, because they vaguely feel that the left side of their right elbow hurts.

Sound familiar?

My friend, you are not alone. While we all struggle with bedtime from time to time, I’ve found that there are some preventative measures you can take to make bedtime a breeze, and maybe even get a little time to yourself while your little gremlins become sleeping angels.

#1 EASE INTO IT

I don’t think I can stress this enough. A slow transition can work wonders in your routine. Instead of going straight from wrestling with dad to bedtime, plan some time to let your kids wind down. Maybe let them take a time out for a minute or two to get a drink from their favorite cup. We love these spill-proof cups from Amazon.

Make sure to only fill them halfway, though, or they’ll end up needing a potty time 15 minutes after they’ve laid down. You can also let them wind down with a short movie or story, which has the added bonus of getting a few cuddles in.

Another thing my kids like to do is help me around the house. I like to lay out the boys’ clothes the night before, and I’ve found that if they get to help pick out their own clothes, they’re a little more enthused about going to bed so that they can wake up “sooner” and wear what they picked. It’s a genius strategy, I’m telling ya.

#2 SET A BEDTIME, AND STICK WITH IT!

I’ve never been very good about keeping routines but having children helped me to change that. Kids like to know what to expect. If their daily activities like mealtimes, naptimes, bedtimes, etc. are constantly in flux, they’re going to be confused, which tends to result in an abundance of arguments, possible meltdowns, and other unpleasantness that can be avoided. My children have to be up and out the door with me by 7:30 a.m., so they have lights-out at 8:30 p.m. This way, they get plenty of sleep, even if they don’t fall asleep right away, I still have time to get things ready for the next day, and our morning escapades become a lot smoother as a result. Naturally, it’s impossible to make this work every single day, but I do try to stick to it as much as possible. And, to go along with this…

#3 REMIND THEM THAT BEDTIME IS ON ITS WAY

My 7-year-old loves playing on his Xbox in the evening, but has a tendency to zone everything else out while he’s playing it. I remind him about around 8:00 that he has 30 minutes left, and I make sure he’s heard me. I give him another reminder 15 minutes and 5 minutes before it’s time to shut it down. Likewise, when my younger kids are playing and running around like hooligans, I let them know that they have 15 minutes until it’s time for bed, and again when they have 5 minutes left. I’ve found that this keeps the arguments such as “What?! I just started this game! No fair!” and the “Noooooo’s” as they run into the other room, at a minimum. They’ve known it’s coming, and if an argument does ensue, I am happy to remind them of this. Also, WE DO NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS! Simply being consistent and doing what you said you were going to do can work miracles.

#4 HAVE YOUR CHILDREN CLEAN UP

If you’ve found yourself wandering around the house picking up random toys and messes, muttering to yourself about how you’re not going to do this anymore, while continuing to doing it anyway, I have a solution: have your kids do it. It seems like a no-brainer, I know, but if you’re anything like me, sometimes it seems easier to do it yourself rather then hounding your kids who aren’t listening anyway. If you think your nerves can handle a few more minutes, have the mess-makers clean up their messes. This ensures that your house is relatively tidy every night, and has the added bonus of teaching your kids responsibility for themselves. I sincerely believe that our job as parents is to teach our children how not to need us. Having them clean up after themselves is a great step in the right direction.

#5 Pajamas

When they’re little, even the most mundane things can seem fun to the little guys and girls. My kids love the soft character pajamas like these

so I’ve stocked up on them. When it’s time to put pj’s on, they don’t mind as much, because they’re excited to put them on. It makes bedtime a little more bearable for the would-be night owls.

Finally, after all is said and done, some really good cuddles and bedtime kisses can be just what they needed to help them call it a day and snuggle into their beds.

What do you think? Did any of these tips work for you? I’d love to hear 🙂

How To Bloom In The Rain

It’s raining, it’s pouring. Everyone else is snoring, and I’m over here loosing my damn mind.

At least, that’s how it feels a lot (most) of the time in life.

If it’s not one thing, it’s the other. Everything will be going along just fine, thank you very much, and them wham! Out of the blue, another pesky problem comes along.

Sometimes the problems are minor, like your child forgot to wear socks on the one day you decide to go to the indoor play place, where conveniently, they need socks (yes, I’m speaking from experience), or it could be something major, like when you decide that it’s finally time to leave your cheating husband, and you have no idea what you’re going to do with three small children, a car on its last leg, and no job (also speaking from experience).

Can I let you in on a little secret, though?

It happens to everyone. Every. Single. Person. On. This. Planet.

Sure, maybe those exact scenarios aren’t replayed over and over, but the idea is the same. I don’t think I’m a particularly self-centered person, but I have to continually remind myself when it’s raining in my life that I’m not alone. I’m not special. I’m not the only one who’s going through it.

I used to fall apart. I would feel as though the pain would never end; the tears would never dry; the sun would never shine again. I kid you not, I have sat on my bathroom floor with a tub of ice cream and a garnish of tears à la Brittany on top, thinking that I would never get through my current predicament. The older I get, though, the more I realize that I don’t have to fall apart; I’m allowed to bloom, even when it’s raining. In fact, I’ve found that the more it rains, the more I grow.

Yes, I still become the stereotypical crazy-loosing it-and needs whiskey-and a vacation-mom from time to time, and I still cry it out sometimes, but those episodes are becoming fewer and far between these days.

I realize that we can’t let go of it all (if we could, I’d be letting go of student debt and bad life decisions), but we can let go of a whole heck of a lot. In truth, I think the reason we have so much rain is because we’re giving our cares and emotions to people/things/situations that don’t deserve them.

If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson. The basic premise revolves around how much of ourselves we give that’s unnecessary, but one of the biggest lessons I learned from this book was that it’s okay to let go of the stress and all of the would-be, should-be scenarios that we make up in our head, and just go with the flow. If you’d like to order it, you can get it on Amazon, here

(and as an Amazon Associate I earn from any qualifying purchases).

If we start to let our situations determine our mindset and emotions, we quickly become bogged down by the tide that seems to be rapidly rising and ready to capsize our boat. It’s okay to let go. It’s okay to NOT react to every situation we find ourselves in. It’s okay to let it be (please re-read that, and sing it like the Beatles). You are a singularly bad-ass person, and nothing can change that unless you let it.

What I want you to take away from this is that you’re not alone. I’m in the thick of it, just like you, your boss, your friends, and your annoyingly nosy neighbor.

Relax.

Stop giving the rain all of your energy, and start giving it to the things that actually matter. I promise you, you’ll start to bloom, too.

That Time I Dyed My Eyebrows

Is anyone as obsessed with their eyebrows as I am? I’m not sure that’s even possible. I’ll be the first one to admit that I criticize mine on the regular. I can’t help it. They just HAVE to be perfect. And if they’re not, I simply refuse to leave the house.

I’m not really sure when this obsession started, but let me tell ya: the struggle is real. I’ve used all kinds of products to shape and fill in my eyebrows; wax, powders, pencils, you name it, I’ve probably used it. My favorite is a good, thin eyebrow pencil. However, the problem with this is the time it takes to make them beautiful, and I’m also a chronic snoozer of the alarm. I like to play a game in the morning where I give myself almost no time to get ready, and still try to make it to work on time. This leaves precious little time for things like eyebrows.

So when I saw a pin on Pinterest about a girl using men’s mustache dye to tint her eyebrows, I was intrigued. As always, I had to do my research. Apparently, it’s become “a thing.” I knew I had to try it.

I ran to CVS (okay, I drove, but whatever) and picked up a box of Just For Men, in the shade “Very Rich Brown.” I considered the “Blackest Black,” but the other was available for 25% off, and I can’t resist a good deal. I also invested $2.00 into E.L.F.’s eyebrow stencils and a cheap bottle of wine, then headed home.

It was fairly easy to get started; in fact, I didn’t even read the directions that came in the box (I wouldn’t recommend doing that, however). It came with a small plastic tray, two tubes of dye and developer, and a handy brush that doubles as a nice little color mixer. I squeezed out a small, equal amount from both tubes into the plastic tray, and mixed it up using the handle. My next hurdle was getting the shape of eyebrow that I wanted.

As I said before, I’m pretty particular about the brows, and I refused to have this turn into a horror story about how I ended up with eyebrows from hell. Unfortunately, the eyebrow stencils were a huge flop. I picked a shape that was pretty similar to the shape I have now, and began using a brush to spread the goop on, but when I thought I was finished and removed the stencil, I was… shocked. Awed. Horrified. It looked like a giant black caterpillar had taken up residence on my face. I decided to wipe it all off and start from scratch.

I used some handy coconut oil to make sure I got it all off, and waited for my skin and hair to dry before starting again. This time, I used the brush just like I would to fill them in normally, and it turned out much cleaner. I then proceeded to do the other eyebrow, and downed some wine while I waited my 5 minutes for the color to develop. Once my time was up, I used a handy dandy hand towel and warm water to wipe off the excess goop, and used a spoolie to brush my eyebrow hair until it was dry.

Et, voila! Honestly, I’m impressed. It’s now going on the third day since I did this little experiment, and I haven’t filled in my brows once. It’s a miracle. They look great. Admittedly, I would probably do a little touch up with my eyebrow pencil if I were going out to dinner, or something fancy, but for my day to day work, daycare, school, and errand runs, I’m 100% fine with leaving them alone.

So in my opinion, run, don’t walk, to your nearest drug store and get to tinting!

A Step-by-Step Guide to Surviving Sick Children

Children are just walking, talking cesspools of germs.

There, I said it.

They’re cute, they’re funny, they’re sweet, and they’re overflowing with germs.

All three of my kids have been sick this week, and the weather has been horrible, so they’ve been stuck at home for most of the week as well. How’s a single mom supposed to survive that? In this post, I’ll give you a step by step guide to keeping your sanity during these trying times.

Number one. Invest in some good ol’ Lysol disinfecting spray. Spray that shiz like confetti. Apply liberally to all germ-infested toys, furniture, and toddlers.

Number two. Make sure your internet is working. Netflix can keep those cute little gremlins occupied for a while. It’s not going to hurt them.

Number three. Pull out your comfiest pair of pajama pants, the biggest, softest hoodie you can find, the ugliest pair of fuzzy slippers you own, and rock it. Selfies and Instagram can wait for a few days. No one is going to judge you during these trying times.

Number four. I live in a small town, but I still like to keep it classy, so I hit up our local CVS (obviously, if you’re better than me, Walmart is fine, too) for a couple bottles of my favorite wine, and apologize to no one for the hot mess that I am. You, too, can be cool like me.

And finally, number five. When you’re all settled in with your wine, comfy clothes, and Netflix, get as many cuddles from the offspring as you can. They’re only little for such a small amount of time, and cuddles cure everything.

The Part Where I Introduce Myself

Hello, my name is Brittany, and I’m a coffee addict.

That’s what I would say if this were a support group (it basically is).

I’m a single mom to three boys, a 7-year-old, a 4-year-old, and a 3-year-old, so believe me when I say that I keep busy. I also work full time as the administrator of my town’s police department, which has taught me that one can find humor just about anywhere if you look hard enough. It’s also taught me that I have a lot to say; however, I usually work alone, so someone needs to be around to listen. That’s where you come in.

I love to write, but until recently, I didn’t think I had anything to say. Then I realized that all of my adventures (mostly misadventures) could actually be fun to read about, and who knows? Someone out there may be thinking of trying the same thing I did last week, and without my blogging about it, would never know that it’s a horrible, terrible idea. Until, of course, they try it, and then wonder why someone hadn’t warned them what a disaster it was going to be. That’s where I come in.

I have every intention of posting about all of my random DIY, at home tricks that should probably be left to a professional that I’ll try anyway, funny parenting stories, single mom sagas, and probably a few introspective ideas thrown in, just to spice it up.

Go grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy 🙂