If it ain’t broke…

14 Oct

It is hard navigating your way through parenthood. The do’s and don’ts, the shoulds, coulds and woulds.  But in the end all you can do is your best. All you can do is what works for your family, not what works for your neighbors, friends, family, complete strangers. This is probably one of the most important things parents (especially young parents) need to learn and always keep in mind. I know I struggle daily trying to remember this. But I also have to remember “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. 

See in our family things are working pretty well and running pretty smoothly.  We are still trying to get our bearings with this new routine, but that will only solidify how things are working around here. And I know that this will only be “for now”. Until Max gets a little bit older and his needs change and the same goes for Rory. 

I’ve been worrying about bedtimes for starters. We don’t really have “bedtimes”. We all go to bed when we are tired. Bill kind of has a bed time, but sometimes we get involved in more important family things and that goes out the window. All of us seem to be more night owls and take awhile to wind down. So instead of turning bed time into a power-struggle, we just let the kids stay up until we see they are tired. Max, when he gets tired, does a 180, and goes from being a “caged lion” running around, into a run-down, cuddly kid. Rory, she gets ornery. I try and catch them before they get that far, but when we let them get tried, and actually tired, they fall asleep easier with less fuss. Also, we have a little bed set up next to our bed, and it was meant for Max to sleep in, but sometimes Rory and Max sleep in it, sometime I do alone, sometimes I do with Rory or with Max and once Bill did alone. haha. We don’t care where the kids sleep, as long as they get enough of it. And that works for us. We aren’t worried they will be sleeping with us until they go to college, because we know they won’t. 

The other night, Bill had read the kids a story, put Max in his Spider-man bed, tucked him in and was playing Max some sweet 1950’s rock (Max loves it). I went in for my hug, kiss and to ask him what he wanted to do the next day as usual. As I was about to leave, Max asked if he could come cuddle. And I thought about just saying, “No you’re a big boy, so you should sleep in your own bed”. In fact I was thinking about what other families do and how they have their kids in their own beds and have bed times and all of that stuff, and I was really thinking about saying “You’re almost 5 and 5 year olds sleep in their own beds” but then I stopped and thought “wow, he’s almost 5. No, he can’t be 5, he’s going to be 5?!” And in that sec (or 2) I remembered the times I wanted to cuddle but he was too busy playing, reading, coloring, out riding his bike with friends and thought, how many more nights is he GOING to want to cuddle? I thought this might be the last night he asks, and I won’t know it until it is too late. I missed too many times for kisses, hugs and cuddles because I’ve been too concerned with what other’s may think or because as a young  mother my priorities at the time weren’t what they should have been. But I’m older, and wiser and have a much better head on my shoulders, so I will not let these opportunities slip away. So needless to say, Max got to cuddle with us. And it turned out to be a pretty awesome night. As Max was laying in bed with Bill, Rory and I were laying on the bed on the floor and Rory goes, “guess what? CHICKEN BUTT!” And we all laugh. And in the dark we all started telling jokes and laughing and having a wonderful moment. It was spontaneous  and fun and perfect. It wasn’t planned or scripted, and certainly wouldn’t have happened if the kids hadn’t been there. And that is when I realized I don’t care what other families do. We do what works for us. 

So I guess my post is about learning when to fix something and when not to. Bed times in our family, unlike some, aren’t stressful or a power struggle (usually of course there are some times when they are because we have kids) so we don’t need to fix it. Our kids get at least 10 if not 12 hours of sleep in the night, so they certainly aren’t lacking in sleep. We are however working on a routine, to fix transitions, to fix the tantrums and back-talking. Which has really helped, we still have work to do, but in the short time we have been working on it, it has helped.  We will probably have to “fix” bed times next year when Max starts kindergarten, but that can wait til then. 

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