Bedtime doesn’t happen as early as it should in our house. Well, the kids usually come down looking for a glass of water or to say they can’t sleep, but actually they’re not so bad when the initial “OK time for bed” announcement is made – they’re usually fairly acquiescent heading up the stairs.
It’s the grown-ups who are causing all the problems. The grown-ups who should know better. The grown-ups who are perfectly aware of how tough it is to get through a day on insufficient sleep. But who are not grown up enough to just go to bed on time.
Take last night: the credits rolled on the film we were watching; the perfect cue to turn off the TV. My husband suggested as much: “we should go to bed”. “Yep” I replied. At which point he picked up his iPad, I re-opened my lap top, and instead of hitting the TV off button, we switched over to Top Gun (but it’s Top Gun!)
At 1am, after many more “we should really go to bed” mutterings from both of us, we finally did. And then the baby woke at 4.
Tough day. Lesson learned. I’m definitely having an early night tonight.
But of course I won’t.
The thing is, if I struggle through a challenging day, by the time the kids are in bed and I collapse on the couch, the last thing I want to do is go to bed. Now I want some hard-won me-time. And me-time is all the more attractive after a tiring day – time to flake out on the couch with my husband; checking Twitter to see what everyone is watching on TV; putting on a film or another episode of Breaking Bad; opening a bottle of wine.
When the time comes to go to bed – I mean the first of the many times that we say “we should really go to bed”, there’s always one more flick through the channels, one more browse through Twitter, one more conversation in a Facebook group.
And it’s not really about TV or social media addictions – it’s about not wanting it to end. The me-time, the precious me-time.
Once I go to sleep, it’s over. The next event will be either an alarm clock ringing or a child jumping on my head. At bed-time, it’s at least 21 hours until the next bit of me-time. So prolonging it just that bit longer at night is irresistible.
I’d love to have the willpower to go to bed early – I envy those who do. Or perhaps it’s not about willpower – perhaps each of us is either an early-bird or a night-owl? Perhaps where I see getting up and heading up the stairs as a chore, others see it as a blissful end to a busy day?
Either way, I’m determined to change this bad habit – I’ve included it in my new year’s resolutions. We’ll see … I complained recently to my sister that the kids don’t want to go to sleep at night and then don’t want to get up for school in the morning, and wondered aloud why they can’t see how irrational that is. “We were the same as kids” she replied, “and we still haven’t learned how irrational it is”. Can’t argue with that.