Why Our Toddler Sleeps at 10pm
It is okay to make "unpopular" choices if those choices work for your family
As a first time mum, I did what every new mother did: I read. I scoured the internet for parenting advice, I signed up with various parenting sites, the whole nine yards.
And no matter how much I read, nothing prepared me for when my first daughter came along. Nothing like the real deal anyways and hands-on practice. I tried to follow what I read, and I listened to everyone’s input. Meeting up with groups of mothers almost felt like report card submission day.
“oh, my son self settles”
“my daughter sleeps through the night”
“my kids are in bed by 7.30pm”
When my first daughter was younger it was easy because at that time I was still staying with my in laws. We were in between rentals and my husband had to sort that out before I could fly back to KL with baby in tow. It was after we settled back in KL, that we really had to find a routine for ourselves.
Between KL’s work life and it’s endless traffic jams, 8.30pm worked fine for us with our first child. I was a stay at home mum and husband worked. Most of our close friends stayed in the same vicinity and we all had kids about the same age, so socialising was not a problem.
Things are different now. We’ve moved and we have a second daughter who just turn two. My eldest is now six, and both of us are working. I work from home, but my husband still has to physically be in the office. Because we work varying hours, the 8.30pm routine cannot work this time around. We aim for 9.30pm every night. But to cook and have dinner together, run errands, and actually spend time together, realistically both kids are in bed closer to 10pm.
Do I envy other people with kids whose bed time is earlier? Most certainly! Just think about how much I could actually get done! No interruptions, just peace and quiet. My laundry would be done, I wouldn’t feel so drained everyday juggling mothering and working. I might even have time to sneak a cuddle and a movie with dearest husband.
Quality Family Time
But if my kids were to go to bed earlier, how much quality time would be spend together as a family? How much socialising can we do if we’re rushing off to put our kids to bed on time? We didn’t think the “ideal” sleep routine would work for us.
For me, it’s more important to have dinner together as a family and get to spend a few hours together in the evening as a couple – parenting our kids. We sit down to dinner together, we clean up together, run errands together, and even watch TV together. This is important to me even if it makes my daytime schedule a little more hectic.
My laundry may grow from a hill to a mountain and the dishes might sit in the sink a little longer than I’d like. But the kids are happy and they get to spend more time with us. I can’t see why that can’t be beneficial for them.
I completely understand that what works for us, may not work for everyone. And I’m not here to chastise parents on how much time they should spend with their children. That is not my intent.
We Are Happy
At the end of the day, I’m fine with making unpopular choices, and I encourage you do too – especially if that is what works for your family.
I’ve been criticised for co-sleeping, for babywearing (even down to my choice to baby wrap), for teaching my daughters to baby sign(citing that this would deter them from talking earlier), oh the list is endless. But my point is, these choices, unpopular or not, are without a doubt, the right ones for us.
People are always going to have opinions about how to raise your kids and some will go as far as to question your parenting methods. Try not to let them get to you. Find a rhythm that works for your family and everything would just fall into place.
So go ahead and make choices that would make people look sideways at each other. Just carry on and keep your head high, because you’re doing what’s right for your family.