For me, one of the biggest adjustments in becoming a mother was dealing with the lack of sleep. As mommies, a major obstacle to overcome is to get our children to develop good sleep habits. There are many articles and books out there explaining the importance of creating a bedtime routine as early as possible with our babies. Research tells us that a consistent routine calms them and prepares them for sleep.
Being a working mommy of three children, my main goal, when I get home, is to make dinner, get the homework done, feed them, and get them into the bath as quickly as possible. This is no easy feat! But somehow, I manage to follow a quick and simple bedtime routine, and on most nights, they are sound asleep by 7:30 p.m.
But what about me!? Like most mommies, my to-do list never ends, and I’m always looking for something quick and easy! There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished. I have even found that when I try to go to bed early, I just can’t relax. That got me thinking…Mommy just might need a bedtime routine too!
Here are a few tricks I’ve tried:
Set a regular bedtime! I’ve started to go to bed every night at 10:00 p.m…no matter what! I found that when I tried to get to bed earlier, I felt guilty that there was more work to do. If I attempted to stay up later, I’d be too exhausted to successfully complete even the simplest of tasks. Now I’ve gotten used to the idea that I HAVE to go to bed. It took a few weeks for my body (and my mind) to adjust, but it has helped me to unwind and prepare myself for sleep.
Prepare everything for the next day! Mornings in my house are insane! My alarm – my 7-year-old – gets me out of bed at the same time every day (even on the weekends). I have exactly an hour to get myself ready, check my email, eat a quick breakfast, and zoom out the door to start my long commute to work. If everything is not set up the night before, it can easily be forgotten! Right after the kids are asleep I prepare lunches, I pick out our outfits for the next day and jot down a quick note for my husband or the babysitter. I also set things up in the same spot, so when I’m literally running out of the door, I can’t miss the things I need to take with me.
Pick only one household chore to complete! It took a while, but after having twins, I realized that it’s ok to have a messy house…. as long as it’s clean! When I get home from work, I can retrace my kid’s after-school adventures by the trail of toys, clothes, and snacks left throughout the house. My whole night could be spent cleaning, but I’ve found that picking one chore a night helps me maintain things a bit better.
Sit down and just breathe! Allow yourself some time to relax. A few times a week, I try to sit with my husband and catch up on all the shows on our DVR. It’s even better when we can sit and talk without phones, iPads, and computers in hand! I sometimes have to force myself to ignore my email and social media! I also read every night – sometimes only for 5 minutes – before I start to doze off. This helps me take my mind off things, and I think it signals my body that it’s time to sleep.
Following the same bedtime routine has helped me feel a little bit more organized and in control. I still haven’t mastered the best habits that allow me to feel well-rested, but I’m a few steps closer.