As a family, we tend to vary between 2 extremes- out and about til all hours, or homebody hermits all day long. Both my husband and I tend to be all-or-nothing personalities, so, the whole grey area thing doesn't happen much in our world.
In the summer especially- when it stays light until late, and there are just so many things to DO in 12 short weeks- we tend to push the limits of how much our girls can keep up. I have always kind of loved the fact that we didn't adhere to a strict schedule of turning into pumpkins at 7:30pm to get our kids in bed by 8 no matter the circumstances. If we were out at a party and everyone was having fun, we wouldn't keep an eye on the clock. Rather, once we started to see signs of melting, we would exchange a (usually mutual) "roll 'em up" glance and promptly load the crew in the car (or, hit the Uber button- depends on the party).
The pros of this are two-fold- firstly, Brian and I get to enjoy ourselves in a setting with our kids. Secondly, our girls are able to rally and savor the socializing with new friends. Most of our friends out here have older kids than ours- so it is cool to watch them all play together. Plus, while I certainly am not always (or even perhaps often) that cool, laid back mom- in these moments, I sort of am. And that feels pretty damn good.
The cons? Well, take Saturday night for example. Our neighbors (and closest family friends) had a party. It began at 5, and while most of the other parents with little ones cleared out by 8, we stayed until about 10. The kids were having fun, the parents were having fun, and it was cozy and great. Until we had to extract. And I watched both girls unravel into epic meltdowns that basically slapped me in the face with a "WHAT KIND OF MOTHER ARE YOU?" message.
So now, mid-way through a holiday week where we have a continuous calendar of parties and opportunities to take the girls along for the fun- I find myself wondering if it is time to start swaying in the other direction- being the "grown up" in the room and keeping to a routine so they are in bed at a set time no matter what, get a healthy night of sleep, and have the highest chance of waking up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to enjoy the next day of summer fun?
Am I raising girls who are adaptable, or am I making them anxious and over-tired in the name of being able to enjoy summer on my own terms? Most likely there is some grey area in between, but as I said before, grey areas don't come naturally to me, so, there's that...
Do you embrace the idea of "go with the flow" family nights out, or are you more comfortable keeping to a kid-friendly routine when it comes to bedtime consistency? I would love to know and discuss- so comments encouraged!