For 7 1/2 years, I was exclusively in charge of bedtime. Bedtime at our house is a relative term. It describes the time we go to bed, rather than describing a certain time of the day. There is no set bedtime at our house. When little people start to get tired, we start getting ready for bed. We generally brush teeth, get the last drinks for the day, nurse, snuggle, and read chapter books. For the past 7 1/2 years, I’ve been the one to help get the last drinks, help with any toothbrushing, nurse and snuggle, and read the books.
I can’t say that I’ve really ever resented the fact that my husband hasn’t been involved with bedtime. I’m certain there was a time or two when I was drained and wished he would take over. However, I honestly just accepted it. My husband doesn’t nurse the kids, and his needs haven’t seemed in line with ours. While he likes to relax while watching the television, the kids and I need quiet and prefer to enjoy a good book. Bedtime by myself was easier.
In the past month, something changed. My husband suggested changing something about bedtime, and I think I went off on him. I told him he couldn’t have any say in our bedtime routine because he wasn’t involved with it. I pointed out that in 7 1/2 years, he had never been in charge of helping the kids at bedtime and if he wanted to watch television, he was welcome to go downstairs and stay out of bedtime.
That night, he picked up a book and began reading at bedtime. He has read every night since then. Sometimes we trade off after chapters. It’s nice to have a partner at bedtime while the kids are still young. The kids get to listen to another voice reading besides my own. They get to see their loving, involved father at bedtime. When my hands are full nursing a baby and toddler, we still get to listen to someone reading. Best of all, my husband seems more peaceful at bedtime now. He has gone from groaning at hearing us read at bedtime, to looking forward to reading for an hour or more with us each evening. Where I think he used to feel left out of part of our lives, he is now joining in.