When they’re small you wish for a lay in, they hit their teens and you feel like the world has stopped because they don’t want to get up.
When my children were small I was like most parents up early. Looking back my children were fairly easy in the sense that they slept and had regular bedtimes. I adored this. I could get up early in the morning and get on with my day with them then come 7 – all tucked up in bed with a story and my evening was pretty much my own. Well after I’d hovered the downstairs and loaded the dishwasher. My life had a brilliant routine. The more children the more challenging the routine but still a routine was there, I was very much in control of the situation. Tired at times at being on a hamster wheel all day but ~I felt that sense of getting things done. Without that routine I doubt very much I’d have had the time to study or do my various working pursuits.
It was like building up from the base. Sort out a decent sleep routine if you can and you’re less tired and more productive. The children were up early but I’d do things in that time to prepare the evening meal so that when I slumped later on in the day it would be fairly easy to cook the evening meal and sit down with the children to help with homework and read their books.
I was struck down with a disability and depression so my routine really felt like sludge but somehow we managed to stick at it. So now I’m out of the other side this teenage years of raising children should feel easy. But it doesn’t and I’ll tell you why…
Firstly my teenagers do not naturally want to go to bed early. Therefore my evenings are no longer a complete switch off. I can’t just hover up, load the dishwasher and sit down to time alone. Now there is often one who wants to sit with me and when you’ve been to work during the day and they’ve been to school you want to spend that time. The telly will be on with whatever THEY want to watch. Anybody who knows me knows that though I love a film and don’t mind the tv, I like to switch it off sometimes. I like the peace. Therefore if I’m honest I miss my evenings.
No longer a peaceful evening. I’m outnumbered and if one isn’t down for a drink then the other wants something to eat – teenagers eat constantly, they are forever hungry. Not like when they were toddlers and would happily have their glass of milk and a piece of toast as supper before retreating to a long slumber – I know I was lucky, I’ve heard the many horror stories of children not sleeping. How you parents do it while they’re young I’ll never know.
Toddlers are helpful. I found with my children that they liked doing chores and putting toys away after a play time was all part of their game. It was easy to encourage. Teenagers need more management. You often find yourself sounding like a Sergeant Major just to get anything done. They still need the element of a Manager to tell them to help around the house. Sometimes you let it go because let us face it, life’s too short and sometimes you just don’t need the headache and life’s about balance, it’s good to cut slack and be fair. But other times you know that you’ve got a responsibility as a parent to encourage their independence.
Toddlers may have tantrums but at least you know where you stand with them. They’re not happy then they’re not happy end of. My teenage boys have reached that stage of a grunt. It doesn’t matter if they’re happy or sad, they just grunt. I’m starting to try and decipher what sort of grunt means what.
Then of course there is the matter of sleep again. They don’t want to sleep at night but… They don’t want to get up in the morning either. At times be thankful for those toddlers for keeping you motivated, up and dressed. Once you’ve got a teenager, their hormones are balancing and they’re continuing to grow they begin to sleep like bears. They do not want to get up in the morning and actually it’s a proven fact that this is the norm. It’s part of their chemistry while their bodies adjust. In the holidays or at weekends if they need that sleep then I personally just can’t wake them.
This morning I was up and awake, they didn’t want to get up until lunch time!!! The problem I’m finding is no longer tiredness from the wheel but sheer frustration from where is the get up and go. I feel like I’ve got more than my teenagers. But like I say, teenagers are like bears. So you’re starting your day far too late. I don’t work on Thursdays it’s probably a good job as it dawned on me that if they’ve done it today then they must have done it on Mon, Tues and Wed and unfortunately I can’t be in two places, I’m grateful that I can at least keep some sort of eye on them to keep them on the right path. As I’m on my way to half a days work they are only just stirring. I clearly did my motherly nag when they did eventually wake up and I will be glad for Monday so they get back into their school routine.
It looks as though really I need to work on my routine in the holidays and on the days that I’m not in work. Enjoy some time alone in the morning rather than in the evening. Even though it’s tempting to enjoy those once sought after lay ins. Toddlers V Teenagers, just as you get used to one way of doing things, those teenagers will turn the whole game round… Time to adjust the pattern. Solutions to the problem not problems to the solution.