Even though you had planned to leave work at 5:00 on the dot, your client meeting ran much later than you expected. So when you finally make it through the front door, your kids are already snoozing in bed. While that would normally be a reason to celebrate, you feel conflicted that your work demands are impacting those precious moments with your kids, especially the bath/book/bedtime routine. Here’s how to handle missing bedtime when you work late.
Stick To A Schedule
If you thought that you could stretch out your kiddo’s bedtime until you make it home, think again. Whether it’s your spouse, a sitter, or even a grandparent, your caregiver needs to carry out the set bedtime routine regardless of what time you walk through the door. Even though you might miss that last goodnight kiss, you need to stress the importance of getting your kids to sleep on time so they’re not cranky and sleep-deprived the next day. The kids will soon learn it’s all right if Grandma tucks them in at night once in a while.
Jump Right In
Sure, the kids might be wearing their jammies when you come home, but that shouldn’t stop you from diving into the bedtime routine. Drop your stuff by the door, and head straight to their bedrooms for some last-minute laughs and snuggles before lights out. You can savor the last moments of their bedtime routine by reading a book or brushing out the tangles in your sweet daughter’s hair. Point is, it doesn’t matter if you’ve missed most of bedtime — if you have enough energy after working a long day, enjoy a few quick cuddles before tucking them in.
Don’t Lose It If You Miss Lights-Out
Try as you might, sometimes you just can’t get home before the kids are in bed. Since you don’t want to wake them up —and possibly have to start the bedtime routine all over again— sometimes a late arrival may just mean a soft kiss on a sleeping child’s forehead. Instead of being frustrated, figure out a way that you might be able to get home earlier. You might schedule a meeting with your boss to see about getting a flexible work schedule or even working remotely a couple of days a week to start. That way, your children can learn how everyone (including them) needs to be flexible in order to make a family work together.
Missing bedtime isn’t something that most parents want, but it happens. If you find that it’s happening frequently, see if you can adjust your work schedule so that you can cuddle with your kiddos under the covers every night.