When I was pregnant with my first child I read Living & Loving from cover to cover every week, and I learnt so much that I probably would have never known, like that my granny was right when she told me that breastfeeding while crying would give my baby tummy-ache. I bet you’re rolling your eyes thinking that’s superstitious nonsense but did you know that when you cry, certain hormones found in your milk can upset baby’s tummy? Uh huh, granny knew. I read the books (hey, James Dobson) and the magazines but the most important piece of parenting advice came from my late mother.
My son was about 4 and had started pre-school. His morning grumpiness made me grumpy too because everything from getting him bathed and dressed, to getting his breakfast off the plate and into his tummy took twice as long since he needed to be cajoled (and threatened) into cooperating. It often ended in tears.
This went on for a couple of days with my mother saying nothing until one morning she said to me, “A grumpy child is a tired child, he needs to wake up later or go to bed earlier.” She went on to say “Tears in the morning are a sign of poor parenting,” and I’ve never forgotten that.
Because of that solid advice my son’s bedtime was 6pm until the end of Grade 1. That’s right, 6pm. And never again was he grumpy in the morning. In fact, our mornings became so easy that we had time and energy for a game of hide-and-seek every single morning.
Working mothers, especially single working mothers, go through the most each day and if there’s one thing that will make life a little less difficult, it’s easy mornings. By the time a working mother sits at her desk she’s already put in a full day’s work because getting kids ready for school is a whole job on it’s own. If the kids you’re getting ready are grumpy and uncooperative that makes it a hard day’s work before your actual workday even begins.
Give your kids a bedtime that works for them. For both my children a story was a good enough incentive, and even though I hate reading out loud I willingly paid that price for peaceful mornings. That, and making sure they’d had enough to eat (can’t sleep when you’re hungry) combined with a consistent wind-down routine made bedtime easy and wake-up time a joy.
If there’s anything I tell mothers it’s to start their days off with smiles and laughter, and nothing will guarantee that like everyone getting enough sleep, even if it means a 6pm bedtime for your little one.
Bonus: the earlier your child sleeps the more time there is for you to get WHATEVER done, right? Sex, working on your goals, an episode or two of Netflix without sacrificing beauty sleep…it’s a win-win.
Can’t imagine getting your kids to sleep while it’s light outside?
The nice thing about life is that there’s always a choice. You can carry on with your struggle parenting, or you can stop trying to be your children’s friend and parent them. Enforce a bedtime that allows them to wake up easily and happily…or don’t.
Whatever you choose, know that tears in the morning are a sign of poor parenting, and that’s just facts