What Our Bedtime Routine Was {Really} Missing

What Our Bedtime Routine Was {Really} Missing

Amanda Martinsen


For my oldest daughter, bedtime has always been a battle.

It’s an ever present opportunity for her to showcase that strong-willed personality she’s been gifted. Bless it. You name the trick and my husband and I have probably tried it. It’s just always been her thing and it has proven to be a “growth opportunity” for us as parents.

One recent evening it was my turn on the bedtime battlefield. After reading several books and telling a few of my best stories, I could tell that we were nowhere near the bedtime finish line because my daughter was excitedly talking and chatting away.

I let out an inner sigh as I knew this meant that the sink full of dirty dishes would have to be put on hold, along with our leftover dinner that had probably been sitting out for far too long by this point.

As I started preparing a new to do list in my head, I heard brief snippets of what my daughter was babbling so excitedly about…




“And they put nails in his hands mama.”

“Not just his hands. His feet too.”

“And his head. They put something on his head that hurt him.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. In her own way she was telling me what she had learned about Jesus that day. Oh, the precious things she had learned about Him. She was so excited to share with me what she had learned. I was awestruck by her enthusiasm and her ability to recount details about Jesus’ death.

The door was left wide open for a conversation about Jesus’ love. And so we talked a bit, snuggled some more and shortly after, she drifted off to sleep. As I turned on my daughter’s nightlight and took one more glance at her before shutting the door, I realized that our bedtime routine had been missing something really important.


Oh I may have physically been in the room with my daughter but my mind was somewhere else entirely. I was mentally working on my to-do lists and worried about a sink full of dirty dishes. I wasn’t really taking the time to listen to what she was trying to tell me.

I felt terrible and it made me think of all the times that I had missed out on opportunities like this before. I thought about the many times she asked me to read one more book, hear another story, or tell me something exciting that had happened during her day, only for me to hurry through it and move on to the next task.

This happens to us, doesn’t it mama’s? We don’t mean to do it. We aren’t trying to shut out our kids. We are just trying to take care of our households. Manage schedules, get lunches packed for the next day, do homework checks, the list goes on.

It’s hard, especially in the busier seasons of life. By the end of the night, you’re spent. Maybe you have put in a full day at the office and your day was jam packed with meetings or you have been with your kids since 6am and you need some time to yourself. Maybe you can’t fathom staying awake for thirty more minutes yourself because the baby didn’t sleep well the night before. I’m totally there with you.

But mama’s, sometimes we can get so preoccupied with our routines and schedules and the dishes that are sitting in the sink, that we miss those moments when we can really listen and connect with our kids.

That night I recognized that our bedtime routine was missing something essential. It wasn’t brushing teeth or picking out comfy pajamas. It was missing a mama who needed to be more present with her daughter. To not miss out on the sweet moments where it’s just the two of us. Talking about Jesus. Imagining and dreaming together. Stealing a few more kisses from her forehead. Just being with one another.

I have a sneaky suspicion that when I look back on this season of motherhood, I won’t remember what state my kitchen was in. What I will remember are the moments when one more book was all she needed to feel comforted. When one more kiss meant the world to her little three year old heart. When really listening to her meant being able to share things with her about God’s love and caring for others.

I pray that today we will be able to fight against the worldly pressures of having to do it all, and be able to soak in these precious moments with our children, making bedtime something to remember.

How about you? Is your bedtime routine missing you mama?

What are some special moments you have shared with your kids at bedtime?


108 (3)Amanda lives in North Carolina with her husband Brian and their two little girls. She is a women’s ministry leader and one of her greatest passions is helping equip a new generation of strong leaders for God’s Kingdom. She is a contributing writer for More to Be and when she’s not doing the juggling act between wife, mama, and ministry leader, she writes on her blog, Give Her Grace, where she encourages mothers and women to pursue God boldly in the season they are in. Check her out at:




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2 comments on “What Our Bedtime Routine Was {Really} Missing

  1. Jennifer Boroughs says:

    Thank you, Amanda, for a sweet, precious reminder – my next bedtime tale may be for a grandchild one day, but I am going to try very hard to remember this truth! God’s continued blessings on you and your dear family 🙂
    Jennifer Boroughs

  2. Michelle Foelber says:

    Needed to hear that…my four boys are 6 and under and sometimes when 8 hits my brain shuts down! But, I need to be more present in those last minutes of the day and look forward to tonight already!!

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