The Bedtime Follies: A Four-Part Comedy

Bedtime is a blast for many of us moms.

Dinner has been eaten (sometimes), baths have been drained and we’re in the home stretch, we tell ourselves.

We’ve had an exhausting day and all we want to do is kiss our little darlings goodnight before hitting the hay ourselves, or perhaps have some “me” time. Except our children often have other ideas. What is that expression about “the best laid plans?”

If you’re like me, you have little patience. After all, patience is supposedly a virtue and virtuousness and exhaustion do not always go hand in hand, I’m sorry to say. By the end of the day, mommy wants sleep – for herself. Having to deal with a four-part comedy is not what the doctor ordered. I use the term “comedy” loosely as the situation is truly funny – if you are not part of it, as I am. If you are the resident mom, it’s not funny at all. As a matter of fact, it’s a nightmare. Except you’re awake to experience it. Not fun.

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I call these precious childhood moments “The Bedtime Follies.” These four-part (daily) comedies go something like this:

Act I
The whining begins. Pre-bath, the complaints (often in an unintelligible toddler language) rise to a fever pitch as nerves are frayed and baths are filled. Avoidance is exerted by those who will fight the horror of personal hygiene. Bribery, negotiation and threats do not work, and the protagonist (mom) is reduced to action via brute force (okay, not “brute” exactly, but physical delivery of said children into said tub – often against their wishes).
Act II

Once immersed, there seems to be a direct correlation between the amount of water that touches the skin and the volume of screaming. Let’s not mention toys that are going astray, water that is soaking the bathroom floor and general mayhem. Soap is a foreign and scary object and, according to the kids, should be treated as such. Soap touching this skin is akin to Superman touching Kryptonite. Except the stakes are apparently higher, if you ask any toddler.

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You’ve managed to get them bathed and clothed in their PJs but you’re not out of the woods yet. The highlight of The Follies is about to begin. People need to go to the bathroom. Repeatedly. People want drinks of juice and water. People want milk. Monsters need to be coaxed from under the bed. This goes on for an indeterminate period of time until mom or dad reaches their limit and shouting commences. Mom and dad are the ones shouting the loudest. 

After much time passing and the inevitability of exhaustion (for all) sleep overtakes all parties and the curtain closes on yet another day – or night of fun and games. 


Like any good play, there is a chance to confer with one’s date (spouse) post-production over a glass of wine (or two) and to discuss the effect of the previous events on one’s psyche. Was it evocative? Was it intense? Did it bring out emotions in you that you didn’t know were possible? If you are the parent of young children, then the answer is “yes” to all three questions.

Do you experience The Bedtime Follies in your home? How do you cope with them? Please provide your tips in the comments below!

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