I have always been a night owl, as long as I can remember I have gone to bed late and woken up early. I think it is due in part to the many late nights at the theater. Even as a younger kid rehearsals ran late, 30 minute drive home, followed by a 1-2 hour wind down time before anyone would actually get into bed. This continued well into college when I would leave the theater at 11 pm and head to a restaurant to meet other stage managers and unwind from work. No longer a stage manager I often find myself up late, just because.
When I became a mom for the first time I figured my life would change to early bedtimes, but that didn’t happen. For all my trying my new baby girl did not go to sleep until 10:30 at night. I tried everything under the sun to make sure she had an 8:30 bedtime, shorter naps, longer naps, waking early, dropping a nap, you name it I tried it. Finally I realized I was causing more chaos then needed and I just put her to sleep when she seemed tired. Between 10 and 10:30 every night she would be ready for bed and fall asleep quickly. When she started to walk around 9 months she would bring me her pajamas when she was ready to sleep, and when she was around 18 months she would come get me and tell me she was sleepy tired and ready for bed.
Since then I have had two more children, an early to bed and another night owl. My middle daughter always wanted to be in bed by 8:30, and my youngest likes to go down around 9:30. Needless to say bedtimes here vary, even last night as I walked to my room at 11:30 I peeked into the girls room where my oldest (4) and middle (2) sleep. While my toddler was fast asleep my oldest was just laying on the bed quietly talking to herself. She had been laying there for well over an hour, while the toddler had been asleep for nearly two.
“Need anything hun?”
“No mama, just waiting to fall asleep.”
15 minutes later she was peacefully asleep and slept the whole night. I often ask my mom if I’m just doing it wrong, I’m certain that someone out there thinks I’m the worst mother ever since my kid wasn’t asleep as the clock was nearing midnight. My mom just sighs and says I was always the same way, long before the long nights of theater I wasn’t going to bed either. I would just lay their staring at the ceiling for hours, not tired, not upset, just resting until my body was ready for sleep. She always says that I can’t MAKE my child go to sleep, and if she is in bed and working on falling asleep that’s what matters.
Are your kids night owls?