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Bedtime is a Choice

choice mindset negative thoughts parenting Sep 18, 2021
Koala Mom carries her baby by Holger Detje of Pixabay
Did you know that putting your kids to bed is a choice?
 
I told my mom a few weeks back that I was getting some coaching about my feelings of frustration with bedtime routines for my 2 boys (sorry kids!). It seemed like it took so much nagging to get teeth brushed, bodies bathed, naked bodies into underwear AND jammies, stories, etc. I was frustrated, annoyed, irritated, and my coach showed me that my thoughts were always something like “I want to be doing something else,” or “this is taking too long.” Thoughts that kept me from being present. I’m working on it.
 
But when I shared this with my mom, she told me that a relative of mine (who will never read this, and if you do, please know that I am grateful to you for teaching me something) and her husband do not put their kids to bed. Huh?!? My relative, who is my same age, has kids the same age as my kids, 6 and 9, lives in a nice house, fully employed, etc. And for several years, she and her husband will tell the kids to go downstairs and do their nighttime jobs and go to bed. They don’t brush teeth with them, they don’t read stories with them, don’t kiss them good night in their beds, etc. I could not believe this. Turns out, putting your kids to bed is a choice.
 
Now I still have many thoughts about this, both personally and professionally, but for now, my intention is show how I learned that this thing, that I thought I “had to do,” is, optional. It's a choice. I don’t have to put my kids to bed. I think it’s important to put them to bed. I think it’s important to make sure that they have brushed their teeth, washed up, and that we have some cuddles and story time before bed. But it’s my thought, not a fact. I’ll repeat, it’s not a fact that I “have to” put my kids to bed. It’s my thought, and it’s frankly a thought that I choose to keep thinking.
 
What is something in your life that you believe you “have” to do? Is it pumping? Being on call? Showing up for rounds? When you find yourself believing that there is something that you “have to” do, dig in a bit. What is the reason you must do it? What consequence is there to not doing it?
 
Do you like your reason?
 
Lemme show you how this works for me with the bedtime routine:
 
Me: “I have to help make sure my kids brush teeth, bathe, get jammies on, and then we have to read stories”
 
What is the reason you must do it?
 
Me: Well, they have to have clean teeth to prevent cavities. I like them to bathe daily because they get sweaty and literally dirty during the day. I like them to sleep in jammies. I want to read stories with them because they love it, and sometimes I get to read really funny or interesting stories.
What are the consequences of not doing it?
 
Me: Cavities, dirty sweaty bodies in the morning, they’d probably sleep naked, and I would miss out on the time with them.
 
Do you like your reasons?
 
Me: Yes, yes, yes, and yes.
 
Ok then, my new thought can be “I think it’s important that I am present with my children for our bedtime routine.” It's a choice that I choose to continue to make. And the feeling is contentment.

Hi There!

I'm Megan. I'm a Physician and a Life Coach and a Mom. I created this blog to help other Physicians and Physician-Moms learn more about why they feel exhausted, burned-out and overwhelmed, and how to start to make changes. I hope that you enjoy what you read, and that it helps you along your journey. And hey, if you want to talk about coaching with me, I'm here for that too! I offer a free 1:1 call to see if we are a good fit. Click the button below to register today.

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