“Screw this”: I took a night off from the bedtime routine and it was perfect

Posted in Family.

The other night I needed to do all the evening routine ‘things’.

I needed to bath my two boys, feed them dinner, do homework with my eldest, read books to them and make sure they were in bed on time.

You know, a typical night. Same old, same old.

But then I stepped outside and thought, “Screw it”. We were going to take a night off from the same old, same old.

Here’s what happened and why I think we all need to do this from time to time.

A lovely evening

When I walked out on my front porch and looked up at the dusk sky, I stopped and breathed.

How often do we busy mums do that?

Just pause and have a moment.

So I took a few minutes to admire Mother Nature’s artistry and the sky she was painting a pretty pink hue. I felt the cool air after a hot day wash over my face and realised it was just too nice an evening to not enjoy it.

Then, I remembered we were having leftover spaghetti bake for dinner and I had a bright idea. One that was going to completely mess with our evening routine, mind you.

But whatevs!

Woman sitting near trampoline watching as her kids run around the back yard.

Picnic at the park

I scooped up those glorious leftovers (not glorious because I am great cook but glorious because I had a night off from cooking) and packed them in three lunchboxes. One for me and one each for the kids.

Then I chucked their bikes in the back of the car and declared we were having a picnic dinner at the park next to the beach, the one with the bike track.

“Really?!” my eldest asked surprised, grabbing his helmet and dashing for the car.

“Yay” squealed my littlest as he also scampered into his car seat.

By the time we got to the park it was 6.15pm.

A time when I would normally be nagging them to eat their dinners and watching the clock for my husband to come home and relieve me of the pain that is getting food into their bellies.

Instead, as I watched the boys do laps of the bike path, a cool sea breeze on my face, I unwound.

“This is living, ” I smiled to myself as the boys took turns in abandoning their bikes for a bite or two of dinner before hopping back on for another lap.

When we returned home it was past their bedtime. Their dad was eating the last slice of bake I’d left in the fridge for him. He was also enjoying the peace of drinking a glass of wine when no one is home.

What happens when we ditch routine

We all felt pretty great.

The boys were happy after having a surprise bike ride and I felt relaxed from ditching what I had to do in place of what we felt like doing.

What’s more, a childhood memory was made. And it wasn’t one of those memory-making experiences that we plan for as mums – things like Christmas and family holidays – but a simple one. The one where we took our dinner to the park for no reason other than it was a nice night.

They didn’t get a bath that night. Homework wasn’t done and we took a night off from the readers.

Their dad dressed them in their PJs and put them to bed, enjoying some nice time with them on his own. There were giggles and laughs, but eventually the silence of sleep won – albeit later than normal.

I grabbed the block of chocolate I’d been hiding from the boys and switched on Netflix.

Because sometimes we all need to say, “Screw it”.


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