Sometimes Getting My Kids To Bed Is My Only Chance To Feel Like A Father

This is me in bed with my 3 year old, Aspen. Most of the day she runs at about 800 MPH, so each night I plop down next to her in bed, sometimes for 20 minutes, sometimes for an hour. It’s the only way I can get her to calm down.

I make sure she has all three PJ Masks stuffed animals. I make sure she has her Peppa Pig. We listen to classical covers of contemporary songs. Sometimes she won’t lay down, and so I have to lay my arm across her, and she says, “I stuck, Daddy. I stuck.” Then she settles down. Sometimes she covers her eyes and counts to ten, in a horrible attempt to trick me into playing hide and seek. And when I don’t run and hide, she talks to me in her serious voice, which is actually about 5 octaves lower and sounds like she’s possessed. “Go hide, daddy,” she says in a deep growl. “Go hide.”

In moments like this I wonder if she is Pennywise the clown.

I actually get all three of our kids to bed each night. Naturally the three year old is the hardest.

It would be a lie for me to say that I look forward to getting my children to bed. Most nights, I hate it. From dinner, to bath time, to PJ’s, to bed, is a battle royale.

But here’s the thing. I work all day. I usually leave before the kids are up. Sometimes I’m home after they are asleep. I hate when that happens.

Eventually Aspen goes to sleep. She always does. I kiss her softly, so I don’t wake her. Then I crawl out of bed to get the older kids to bed.

Most days, getting my kids to bed is the only chance I have to spend time with them. So I get my kids to bed, while Mel takes a break. I fight the bedtime battle, not because I love it, but because sometimes, some days, it’s the only chance I have to feel like a father.

I think any working parent can relate to this feeling.

It isn’t glamorous, and it isn’t always fun, but it’s needed. And there is something very satisfying in seeing all my children down for the night.

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