Last night I went to bed feeling as if the evening had been a success. I felt that the evening had been fun yet productive for everyone. I'm still happy about it this morning. There are nights when I feel more like a drill sergeant or prison warden than a mother. We walk in the door and it's immediately dinnerhomeworkshowerbed. Sometimes there is much aggravation and stress getting to the bed part. I bark orders and do not allow deviation from the schedule that I have laid in my mind. It's not fun. It's not fun for the kids or myself. We all know it. We all want there to be time for an extra song in the kitchen, and extra snack before bed, or a bedtime story that's longer than six pages. But some nights (if I'm honest, most nights) it's just not possible for a variety of reasons. Our schedule of the day restricts us, or the next day's schedule that is looming is already preventing us from having any fun a full 24 hours before hand. It makes me sad and it makes me feel guilty so much of the time. The school year is rough for all of us. We manage. And I don't think my kids will end up permanently scarred. It's just not a way of life that I enjoy.
But last night . . . last night we hit our sweet spot. Last night was almost like a Friday evening in July. Last night I went to bed smiling and I was proud of the work that I did as a mother yesterday. Oh trust me, there was still dinnerhomeworkshowerbed to be had. But the evening starts were aligned just right and we got through it with fun, laughter and a few extras. The kids played outside for a long stretch of time with little intervention from any adult. They still ate dinner, only last night they were able to take a plate on the back deck. A luxury we haven't seen for moths and months and months. And miracle of miracles when they came back in, they were still interested in homework and showers! Noah and I hunkered down in my room to finish some gluing and pasting, completely his homework for the week on a Tuesday night! Madeline jumped in the shower and only had to be reminded to actually end said shower 3 or 4 times - a possible record. And then, the extras just kept falling in our laps.
While Noah ate a bedtime snack, I was able to braid Madeline's hair. She wanted to have wavy hair today, so she went to bed with wet 6 or 7 braids. She was beyond excited. She read some to herself, while I read a book to know about the discovery of a velociraptor. Hey - I said we had a nice night, I didn't say anything was exciting. The kids went to bed happy. They did not go to bed with me saying, "hurry up it's late," in their ears. I didn't close their doors with a sigh of relief or guilt. We snuggled and kissed and laughed and had a great evening. I'll take it. I'll think about it and it will make me smile today.