Any minute now, the phone is going to ring and the person on the other end of the line is going to tell me that I may have been mis-sold PPI – Perfect Parenting Information.
It’s an unwritten rule in my circles that lunch is at 12pm, tea is 5pm and bedtime is at 7pm. Toddlers sleep from 1-3pm. A micro scooter is the obligatory outdoors accessory and Lego is the go-to birthday party present of choice.
All this information was passed onto me from parents with children a year or two older and so far, has stood me in good stead. So, when it came time for my son to start school, I listened intently and took notes on what to expect.
Last summer, I was regaled with numerous stories of reception aged children being so exhausted after a full day at school that they were falling asleep into their fish fingers by 6pm.
My personal experience thus far, has been quite the opposite.
My little angel was used to spending a full-day in nursery while I worked a full-time job. This 9am-3.30pm malarkey is a mere walk in the park compared to the hours he was pulling on his previous shift; so he is understandably full of beans when I take him home in the middle of the afternoon.
Seeing his little face light up when he finds my face amongst the sea of parents waiting to collect their children reassures me that my decision to step off the hamster wheel was the right one.
However, after 3-hours of puzzles, stories, a bit of telly, dinner and then bath, teeth cleaning, wee depositing, pyjama dressing, more story reading and tucking in… you would think that snuggling up under a duvet is all he can think about.
It is certainly all I can think about.
But, he then wants to play in his room until he “feels more tired, Mummy”.
Sometimes tiredness has not revealed itself until 9.30pm, after I have been up & down the stairs to respond to various requests for water/toys/biscuits/poos/cuddles/lights on or off, for over 2 hours.
By which time, I am way too tired to contemplate dinner, although my waistline would beg to differ, so head off to bed myself with only Netflix to keep me company.
Last week, we retired his cot-bed to the loft *weeps* and took delivery of a shiny new single bed, with extra leg room and super soft bedding.
He still wanted to play in his room until he “felt more tired”.
We turn his lamp off, he turns it back on. I put him back into his bed, he climbs back out. I tell him to go to sleep, he laughs in my face. LAUGHS IN MY ACTUAL FACE.
I would laugh too, but it is way past my bedtime and I get cranky if I’m not drooling into the sofa by the first beat of the Eastenders Doof Doof.
So, the last few nights, I have started the routine 30-minutes later. We have pushed dinner back to 5.30pm, so he has more time to wind down and play when he comes home from school. The bath, teeth cleaning, wee depositing, pyjama dressing, more story reading and tucking in routine has not commenced until 6.30pm and I have called lights out by 7.45pm. Both times there has been little fuss and when I have gone back to check on him around 8pm, he has been fast asleep.
30-minutes was all he needed.
The moral of this story is that Perfect Parenting Information is not suitable for everyone.
*Whispers* some even argue that perfect does not actually exist.
There is no right way or wrong way. You do what works for you.
Children will move to the beat of their own drum, and so should we.
Stop trying to be perfect and accept that you might just have to settle for AWESOME instead.
Nominations for the MAD Blog Awards are now open. If you like this post, please consider nominating Grenglish for Best Blog for Family Fun, Most Entertaining Blog *coughs*, or Best Schooldays Blog here.