05/20/2013 06:35 pm ET Updated Jul 20, 2013

The Hell That Is My Kids' Bedtime Ritual

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Written by Allana Harkin for

Every evening around 7:15pm my children look at me with sad disappointed eyes. Eyes which say: "How could you?" "Why do you hate us?" and "I'll never be happy again."

And all I did was say, "It's time to get ready for bed." To which my 3-year-old now yells, "OH COME ON!"

Related: The 7 habits of highly annoying toddlers

I wish I was exaggerating. According to my children, their bedtime ritual goes something like this:

1. Mommy takes us to the bathtub where she only allows us 40 toys each to play with. She then pours a burning acid-like substance over our heads which she claims is "tear free." Both of us like to yell while this happens, even though only one of us is actually getting our hair washed.

2. She then dries us off with only "partially" warm towels, unlike Grandma's house where she microwaves the towel so it's just perfect.

3. Mommy then slathers grease all over us, which I then try and wipe off on the wall when she's not looking.

4. We each take a turn to use the sink to brush our teeth, but my sister is only 3 so Mommy brushes her teeth and shows her how to do it. The whole time C screams that she can "DO IT HERSELF," even though that means she just uses the toothbrush as a microphone.

5. Mommy helps us with our pajamas which are also only partially warm. I really would prefer them microwaved. She often talks about dressing dingos and pinning down monkeys as she's helping us.

6. Choosing a book is pretty straightforward as my little sister repeats "I want the Princess one." about 86 times. Mommy then pulls out some books while C yells, "NO, NOT THAT PRINCESS. THE OTHER PRINCESS."

7. After book we pick all the stuffies we want to sleep with. If we forget one it's no problem as we just yell to Mommy after she's left to locate the one abandoned somewhere in the house. Mommy says it's really helpful when we say we don't know where we left it. I think Mommy likes looking for stuff as it's mostly what she does.

8. Mommy loves to kiss and hug so we make sure she gets about 60 before she leaves our bedroom. We yell "JUST ONE MORE" a whole bunch of times until we're pretty sure she's not coming back.

9. Going to bed is really a lot of work for us.

You can only imagine my version is slightly different. And let it be known that when I was a similar age to my children there was NO WAY in hell my parents would have warmed up my bath towels. But now, they offer a full spa service for my children during sleepovers -- including yes, microwaving their towels. When questioned my parents only defense is that "they've always been like this!" I think they forgot the time when I actually slept on the staircase in the late '70s.

Bedtime sucks. And please don't tell me that there are "fun games" to encourage my children to want to go to bed. They are far too wise to fall for any trick I have up my sleeve.

My husband (who equally helps in the bedtime routine) thinks I'm a bit of a pushover. Especially on those nights when all is done and everyone is tucked in that my 3-year-old turns to me and whispers "You want to snuggle?" Which she knows I do. Because I'm also wise enough to know that one day she won't ask me to do that anymore and I will miss it so very much.

But seriously, how could anyone ever compete with microwaved towels?* UGH.

*I actually don't own a microwave anyway.

For Allana Harkin's guide to parent shaming, visit Babble!

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