The Bedtime Struggle is Real


November 30, 2015 by Katia

If you are anything like me and almost forty, then you might recall that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer and one of his girlfriends are locked up in her apartment (and you probably can’t remember why) and within several hours they go through the full gamut of emotions and experiences that a couple in a relationship would typically encounter. From tenderness to nagging, accusing, fighting, drama and reconciliation.

Welcome to bedtime.

If your children have entered toddlership then you’ve been initiated into the Five More Minutes Club. Ways to tell you’re a member? You’re familiar with the literary masterpiece Go the Eff to Sleep and are inevitably reminded of it at least once a day.

I have nothing against my children. They’ve provided me with some of my life’s highlights. The things that they do to my heart are magical.


They’ve also provided me with 2-3 hour long bedtimes and opportunities to question my sanity. And theirs.

bedtime tears

During bedtime I’ve heard things like:

I AM sleeping! (– 3 Year Old)


But I don’t know HOW to sleep! (– 6 Year Old)

I’ve succumbed to the dictatorship of madness that only a toddler can enforce and lay in my child’s toddler bed dressed in winter accessories and on another occasion accepted his “request”to wear his Paw Patrol costume (Chase IS on the case).

For a period of about a year I’ve had to lie down on a blanket on the floor in my toddler’s room with the lights fully on and pretend that I was sleeping. I thought it was a good pitch and on occasion I got him to join me. Other times I’d have the blanket covering me and my make-shift stuffy pillow furiously removed by my toddler.

It is very clear that my children view sleep as The Enemy and in my attempt to get them to love thy, I’ve had to function as a hypnotist, mediator, white noise machine, sleep bully, sleep coach, sleep apostle and Tree #2 just to get my kids to surrender.

Sometimes I walk out of their rooms two and a half hours later defeated. Not because they hadn’t fallen asleep but because of what it took. The tears and frustration, sometimes on both sides. Some days I float out of their rooms gently brushing the time spent off my shoulder and giving it a tiny virtual pat.

When I was in highschool I studied philosophy. I still remember the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus’s famous saying: No man ever steps in the same river twice. In the current phase of my life this saying perfectly captures and describes the parenting experience. When I open the door and enter My Child For the Evening’s room, I never know what river I’ll be stepping into.



This post was a Netflix Stream Team post on the topic “Five More Minutes”. Is bedtime a struggle for you? Do you let your kids watch TV in the evening and if so which shows?


11 thoughts on “The Bedtime Struggle is Real

  1. bisimodupe1975 says:

    I can identify with the bedtime struggle. My son sleeps as soon as his head touches the pillow but my daughter…that’s a long story. She expects me to lie beside her until she dozes off and i am expected to check on her before going off to bed myself. Plus i get a lot of question about what “sleep is suppose to be about”. Great post!

  2. I totally hear you on that one. For two years I lay down on the floor with my son in his room..All it did was make him talk more and me getting crankier. I evenutally made my escape by telling him i’ll leave the room for a couple of mins and so on. I then sat on the stairs for around 4 months. Finally it did work. But now I have a new battle of fighing with them to get their teeth brushed. I bribe them, I’m nice to them..I shout at them…nothing works at all. Ive spent a fortune on novelty toothbrushes etc…they just refuse 🙂

    • Katia says:

      Painfully, achefully familiar. I’m glad you were able to escape! I think struggles will always be replaced by newer ones but your current one sounds a bit more palatable… 🙂

  3. Sleep and children has been and still is – the bane of my life – none of my four liked sleeping much – I related to all you said – still struggle with 10 years old daughter now – inasmuch – she just doesn’t switch off – I obviously don’t have to lay beside her anymore but do fret about her sleep pattern – jeez I wish I could be sent to bed at 8.00 every night 😁

  4. Lindsay says:

    My child is also a sleep-fighter. If only she appreciated it as much as I do!

  5. The Waiting says:

    Reading this post as I lie next to my toddler’s bed. Not even kidding. She should’ve been asleep an hour and a half ago. She’s…not. Oh, and Chase is starring back at me.

  6. Last night I had a 10 year old and an 8 year old (birthday girl today 😃) in my bed – plus 2 Jack Russell’s – no room for Jeff 😁

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Scary Mommy
The Epistolarians


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