My favourite time of day isn't when the kids head off to school, or when they are fast asleep in dream land. These days I find myself waiting for the kids to go to bed. Not because they are frustrating me and I want time to myself; not because of the never ending fighting between them. I long for bedtime for that special connection that happens.
Bedtime used to be full of battles, and while I wanted that time after they were asleep to just be ME and not MOM, I didn't look forward to the fights, demands, tears and delays. It was stressful and would drag out for what felt like hours (sometimes it was hours) and just completely wore me down. Sometimes it was easier to not fight with them and just let them fall asleep on the floor, or the couch in the family room and carry them to bed after they were asleep. Then one day, things started to change.
I can't pinpoint exactly when it happened - I think it might have been around the same time my mindset shifted from "they need to be asleep so I can relax and chat with my husband" to "the more pre-occupied I am, the longer this takes....I need to just be with them right now". Bedtime became a time for snuggles that they won't give me during the day. It became time for talks that they were too busy for after school, a time to fill me on what happened while they were away from me. I could count on a replay of their day, who they played with, who they were fighting with, who was really nice to them and who they were upset with. Bedtime was a chance at a real connection with my kids. We have had some funny conversations at bedtime. We have had some emotional conversations at bedtime (talking about my father, death and other things that can make us sad). We have had some serious talks at bedtime.
Putting the kids to bed has become one of my favourite times of day - it gives me that chance to just BE with them. I always let them lead the conversations - and those are conversations we wouldn't have had if it weren't for our nightly snuggles. It's a chance to connect as mother and child.