“I hate bedtime!”

Eileen Hopkins (Gramma Jamma)
Grandma’s Point of View

My favorite time of year – the golden days of autumn when the leaves turn the country side into a riot of gold and red and the school bell evokes joy and excitement in every Mom’s heart. Every September for over a decade, I welcomed the clang of the bell – that harbinger of schedule and order for my four-daughter household. By every October, I was mired in homework checks, clothing wars and bedtime clamor and that joy had somehow transformed into frustration and a lot of deep breaths.

All moms with school-age children know exactly what I am talking about! Back then, only the sound of dishes being washed cleared the older ones out of the kitchen and into their rooms. With my junior high daughter’s first reports finally edited, #2 daughter’s science fair project finally planned and the Grade One-er’s spelling words reviewed and signed off, I only had to chase the toddler into bed with Baby Brenda finally rescued from the dark cold closet floor and tucked in beside this busy little munchkin and silence would reign again.

I can still go there in my mind – that quiet time between bedtimes and Mom’s sleep time when even the clank of pots and silverware in the sink sang a tune of harmony. As the kitchen clock quietly ticked away the minutes, a curtain seemed to rise and the remaining clutter took centre stage. Now clutter versus clamor might make an interesting debate at some stage in one’s life, but, as a Mom of four, clutter seemed to be more manageable after 10 PM than the 6 to 9 PM clamor about lost library books, borrowed sweaters and mysterious disappearances of the fuchsia pencil crayon needed to finish a project. With just me and soap suds softly swooshing down the drain, my eyes were finally able to focus on the lost sweater hanging just barely visible behind the loveseat and the line of peanut butter running along the edge of the kitchen table. And so Part 2 of the Mom-in-charge’s day began.

With some undefined Mom-manufactured, pre-midnight energy, I swooped through the living room clutching and grabbing clothing, school books, a misplaced backpack and the forbidden peanut butter sandwich stashed behind the framed picture of angelic cherubs taken last Christmas. Heading down the hall for a much needed shower, my enhanced night vision kicked in and I noticed every piece of lint and crumb beckoning me for a last minute vacuuming. Discarding that thought as being excessive and noisy, I turned to enter the bathroom and it happened. Out of the corner of my eye, there it was – a perfect white triangle of cloth, peaking out of the partially closed door on the hall linen closet. What to do – ignore it? Just shove the door closed, super mom! You don’t – too late – I opened the door to tuck the corner of that innocent piece of cloth gently into place and the jumble of sheets and towels and tablecloths hit the “crazed Mom nerve” we all have. You know – that nerve that is somehow tucked away in some secret place in our Mom-brain from 7 AM to 9 PM that starts to unravel the closer it is to sleep time and – BAM – a linen closet or Tupperware drawer or, horror of horrors, the entry way closet triggers IT and you explode.

Energy surged through my body as towels and sheets hit the floor. Sorting, folding and stacking I entered a frenzied state that no one but me ever witnessed (unless Santa Claus came early!). An hour later, I stepped back and admired the towels perfectly folded into three and stacked by colour and size with the folded edges facing out. The sheets were more of a challenge but I finally wrestled the fitted sheets into the right sized rectangle and stacked the matching flat sheet and pillow cases on top. One top shelf was quickly filled with the special occasion table cloths lovingly folded and arranged with the Christmas one on top. I chose to ignore the mismatched napkins stashed into the slightly warped grass basket from Ikea deciding that Ikea was closed for the night anyway and from my 5 ft 1 inch height, it looked fine. Satisfaction filled my soul as waves of love, harmony and peace slid down my shoulders, rippling over my back and then silently wafting sweetly along the hallway.

I decided that it was too late for a shower and headed for bed. My sweet three year old was snuggled deep into my pillow with Baby Brenda lovingly clutched to her little heart. A perfect ending to my Mom day – I lifted her gently and she snuggled into my arms. Knowing the cherubic resemblance would disappear in an instant if I woke her up, I leaned on all my fifteen years of mothering experience and expertly tucked her into bed.

Sliding into my own pre-warmed bed, I closed my eyes with a sigh of accomplishment. Just six hours and a new day would begin but, for now, my linen closet was a vision, my darlings were in dreamland, and I was joining the countless other Moms on my journey into……”Mom, I have to go pee!”

So, now, when I actually do manage to get one of my very grown up daughters on the phone, in between all of their “heavenly chorus” episodes and I hear them say “I hate bedtime”, I nod my head sagely at my end of the phone, cluck sympathetically into the phone and smile, just a little, because, I remember!

This blog posting is not a form of psychological counselling, advice, therapy, or assessment and should not be used as such by any individual. This blog posting is provided only as an article intended to encourage thought and discourse. For specific psychology related services, please contact an appropriate healthcare provider.