I've been keeping a gratitude journal. I write down one moment each day about each child for which I am grateful. It's helping me retrain my brain to focus on the good moments rather than the struggles of parenting, because throughout the day I am watching for what I will write down and remembering all the positive moments while choosing just one.
I've noticed a pattern in my journal. Many of the best moments happen during bedtime. Laying in bed with Josh (9y) telling him stories about when Papa and I were dating. Hearing Bug (3y) giggle while we read stories. It really is one of my favorite times. The distractions are gone. There is nowhere to be, nothing to get ready for. We're just relaxing and enjoying each other's company.
Let me back up a second. It is one of my favorite times, when I surrender myself to a two hour+ ritual of reading stories, snuggling, laughing, and being completely present with my kids. Unfortunately the reality of our situation is that I play a single parent role Monday-Friday while Papa works out of town. I have a house to keep up, 3 dogs to care for, financial responsibilities, part time work out of the house 2-3 times a week to prepare for, and myself to keep sane in addition to my parental responsibilities.
Sometimes bedtime is my least favorite time of the night. Sometimes it is a fight. But I started looking at it from the boys' perspective yesterday. They are not under the stresses of managing a household, and rightfully so. In their world, it matters much less whether the lunches get packed or the dogs get brushed or the dishes get washed. What matters is that Mom isn't in the bedroom laughing, snuggling, reading to, connecting, and making memories with them.
Isn't that something worth fighting for?
I don't have the answers for how to have those extra hours in the evening. I'm sure it would look different for every family. I'm still working on finding what will work for ours. My hope is that next time your kids are fighting with you at bedtime you'll remember this post and be a little more patient, a little more kind, a little more compassionate and remember they're fighting for the things that really matter.