Any parent of an infant or small child is probably thinking about bedtime at least 16 hours a day. From the moment a child is born, their sleep habits and sleep schedule become the most important thing in the world to the parents. Is the baby asleep? How long will the baby sleep? How can I make it sleep? Why won’t it sleep? Getting children to sleep is a huge industry, too. The guy who self-published a book about how to use hypnotism to put a baby to sleep sold millions of copies in the first days. (It didn’t work on mine, and the story is awful.) A doll that purportedly helps babies sleep sold out instantly and started selling for more than $300 on eBay, because parents are desperate. Basically, it’s generally safe to assume that parents are doing their absolute best when it comes to sleep, so everybody else needs to back the hell off with the bedtime-shaming.
A woman on Mumsnet has had it with her sister-in-law and mother-in-law shaming her over her child’s relatively late bedtime, and she took to the Internet complain about her sister-in-law, who she thinks puts her kids to bed too early.
Everybody’s bedtime is too late or too early.
The Mumsnet user going by RogerThatOver has three children under five who go to bed at 9 p.m. and get up around 8 a.m. That sounds pretty darn idyllic to me. But her sister-in-law also has three children under five, and those kids go to sleep every day at 6 p.m. That means the kids have to be in the house and done with all outside activities by 4 p.m. It also means the kids get up at 5 a.m., which sounds like a Boschian hellscape to me. But it seems to work for that other family.
RogerThatOver says the sister- and mother-in-law give her grief about how her children must be “chronically overtired” because they go to bed at 9.
The kids all sleep the same number of hours, one set just starts at six and the other starts at nine. And that’s totally fine. I wouldn’t want to deal with the 6-5 a.m. routine, but that’s why my kid doesn’t sleep those hours. Maybe those kids always wake up at 5 a.m. no matter what, so going to bed at 6 is the only way they get enough sleep. Maybe sister-in-law enjoys the hours between their 6 p.m. bedtime and her own bedtime. (The post-bedtime hours are so great. I always push them too long and wind up getting six or seven hours of sleep and regretting it in the morning.)
The amount of sleep a kid gets is what matters, not when those hours happen. Some kids sleep at 6. Some sleep at 11 p.m. There are benefits and drawbacks to every schedule, and it’s just about what works for your family and what you can make happen.
Have you ever been bedtime-shamed? Let us know in the comments so we can be furious on your behalf.
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