When Lilly was about 6 months old or so, she used to laugh herself to sleep. She would lie in her crib in deliousness and tiredness and just giggle herself to sleep. It was the funniest cutest thing ever - it was just so bizarre but adorable. We had an infant video monitor and would watch her from our bedroom as she performed her nightly routine for about 10 minutes. We'd even show people when they came over because it was so great.
She outgrew that a few months later. And we've gone through all kinds of "going to sleep" routines - there were times when she hated falling asleep, loved falling asleep, needed us in there to sing to her. Luckily she's always been good at staying asleep - although at times like when she was sick she would cough all night long and we'd be up doing nebulizer treatments for days on end. But for the most part we've gotten a solid 10-12 hours of sleep from that girl since she was 2 weeks old, with either no wake-ups or maybe one wake up around midnight just to call us in and let her know we still exist.
Since she got her "big girl bed" when she turned 3, she insists on having us in there with her as she falls asleep, and while I know in theory that's "bad" I wouldn't trade that time with her for anything. She is so sweet, we talk about her day, I sing to her and often times she sings right along with me. We cuddle, we hold hands, and she falls asleep so sweetly.
Yet the nighttime routine had become challenging. She's been happy to actually go to bed, but it takes a little while to get her to all asleep. And Jon works late hours so often times it's been me putting Lulu to sleep. And so many nights I skipped through our routine quickly, trying to get her to fall asleep fast, not treasuring the moments like I should. Because I had work to do. My hours at work were long, and often times I was getting her to sleep fast so that I could work late into the night. And if not that, I was struggling to do things around the house late at night - laundry, dishes, organizing our lives. Life had become chaotic. I remember nights, saying to Lilly "Please go to sleep, mommy has to work." It became a stressful situation for us.
And the last time I cried while saying that to Lilly, in October. The next day I turned in my notice to work for leaving my job. The next month of working while finishing up my job was still stressful - still long hours, still exhaustion, but a little bit of silver lining, of freedom.
Lately Lilly loves me putting her to sleep. Loves it. Before, Lilly might sometimes choose me, sometimes Jon, to put her to sleep, if we were both around. And I'm sure the pendulum will swing back again to Jon at some point. But we have the best time, and I can understad why she loves her mommy time.
Jon said to me a couple weeks ago after I put her to bed: "Why are you guys laughing so much when you put Lilly to sleep?!"
Lilly and I are hilarious. We tell funny stories. We tell jokes. We are silly. We sing songs. We talk about our day. And we laugh so hard, sometimes Lilly literally is laughing as she drifts off to sleep.
It's moments like this that make me realize the actual quality of our lives have improved since I've taken my break from working. That it's not me doing "nothing" or being lazy by not having a job - that it's the fact that the laundry and food shopping are done during the day, the cleaning is taken care of, that nights are spent with me and Lilly (and sometimes Jon!) enjoying our family life.
Sure, I miss working - the satisfaction it gives me, the income. And sometimes I hate that I'm scrubbing floors instead of having a cleaning person do it once a month; or cleaning the kitchen after making a "real" dinner every night instead of it being perfectly spotless because we always used to eat out. But raising a happy secure little girl who is thrilled to laugh herself to sleep with her mommy is totally worth it.