Madeleine West is an actress, former Neighbours star, chef Shannon Bennett’s wife, a very busy mum and author of Six Under Eight…yes that’s SIX kids! And why am I talking about her? Well, she recently received a lot of backlash for one of her parenting tips which was to put the kids to bed in their clothes for the next day if they have a very busy day ahead…and I just went WHAT IS ALL THIS NONSENSE?
Madeleine’s book on being a mum to six
I really had trouble understanding why everyone was getting so upset about this tip because…I DO IT TOO. EVERY SINGLE DAY. And goodness, I only have two kids, one who isn’t even running around yet. There are worse things in the world than kids who have worn their day clothes to sleep, people! Just be glad the toddlers have clothes on at all.
I used to dress Miss A in pyjamas at night but somewhere between 18 months and 2 years she started really hating changing clothes in the morning. After one too many battles trying to wrangle her out of her pyjamas into something socially acceptable to step out of the house in, I just thought stuff this. I started putting her in the next day’s clothes after her bath in the evenings and we were all happier for it. She absolutely loved not having to change out of her clothes in the morning, and I didn’t have to fight her tooth and nail.
It’s not like she is “missing out” by not wearing pyjamas. She is happy and comfortable sleeping in her regular clothes. As she has become older, she has started noticing that other people wear pyjamas to sleep and I always make sure to ask her if she wants them (this is more from a social aspect) and she usually says no. The very few times she has asked to do so was only to match her sister.
Newsflash: pyjamas don’t make your quality of life! When I first became a mum I often just wore to bed clothes that were acceptable to go out in the next day so I didn’t need to change. And once I had to leave the house at 5am for work in winter and I actually wore my workpants to sleep. I don’t think it’s teaching laziness…to me it’s about efficiency! It’s not like there is a social rule that states you have to wear pyjamas to sleep! Some people wear nothing to sleep! It’s no one’s business.
Madeleine had to respond to all the hoohah by clarifying she doesn’t put her kids to bed in full school uniforms and that she’s obviously putting on “clean clothes, on clean little bodies, and into a clean bed”. She also obviously changes them if they’ve dirtied themselves overnight.
I am glad that although she made sure to clarify herself, she said she didn’t need to apologise for this though. She sure doesn’t! With six kids she should be given a medal just for getting them all out of the door in the morning! Bonus points for them being clean and fed with homemade lunchboxes in hand.
Seriously, if you have a toddler who hates getting changed, I really recommend forgetting pyjamas and putting them in regular clothes to bed. Is it a bad habit? No. Does it make you a bad parent because you “gave in” and didn’t crack the whip and force them to wear pyjamas? No. You have to pick your battles (and toddlers will give you plenty of things to battle over) and be strict with the things that do matter and forget the things which really don’t affect any of your lives at the end of the day.
Like I said before, as long as my kids are actually wearing clothes out of the house, that is enough for me. Just pick your boundaries and stick to it (and if you decide you actually want to be strict about your kids wearing pyjamas, there’s no need to criticise those who choose not to). Not wearing pyjamas at night as kids won’t make them become serial killers, I promise you. And you will be much saner for it too.