by ANA BALICH
1. Give them a five-minute warning so that they can mentally prepare.
2. Once the five minutes are up, let them know it’s time to head to their rooms.
3. Surprise! That didn’t work. Issue one more five-minute warning.
4. Let them know that you really mean it this time. They don’t care. But you knew that. Ok, physically guide them to their rooms now.
5. Help them pick out pajamas.
6. No, not those — how dare you!? Dig the dino ones out of the hamper.
7. Help them brush their teeth. How does toothpaste get everywhere? WHO RAISED THESE KIDS?
8. Step outside of the bathroom and take a deep breath.
9. How did it get so late? Skip the books tonight.
10. Oh, they’re whining that you tried to skip the books.
11. Pick a short one. Skip pages.
12. Oh, they have it memorized. Just read the whole darn thing.
13. Sing them a song.
14. No, not that one, they hate that one now. Keep up. Aww, everyone is having a nice time singing songs now.
15. She screams because his arm touched her leg. He yells because her leg touched his arm. Everyone is crying.
16. Die a little inside.
17. Separate them.
18. Give them each a kiss.
19. Not like that. Five kisses with two hugs. His hug was longer. Go back and give her a longer hug. He wants the last hug. Do a group hug and make sure everyone releases at the same time.
20. Leave the room and head to —
21. Hear a crash.
22. Die inside a little more.
23. Go back into the room.
24. Put away the toys they took out.
25. Leave the room. Sigh.
26. Hear the door open as she asks for water.
27. Now he wants water.
28. Give everyone water.
29. Put them back in bed.
30. They have to pee now. You should have seen that coming. You are now dead inside.
31. Take them to the bathroom to pee. They’re fighting over who gets to do it first. They knock over a toothbrush and it falls into the toilet.
32. Screaming internally, fish it out.
33. Put them back in bed.
34. Threaten everything they love so they stay put.
35. Go to your bed. FINALLY.
36. Scroll through their pictures on your phone because you already miss them.
37. Oh, crap. The baby is crying.
Ana Balich is a freelance writer, content creator, and social media marketer. She lives in Chicago with her husband and three young kids. You can find her on Instagram , Twitter , or eating Cheetos in her pantry.
PHOTO CREDITS: Getty Images.