I'm a creature of habit, and there's nowhere it's more apparent than in my nighttime routine. When we're at home, most evenings look the same: we get home from work, hang out with Sloan, give her dinner, followed by a bath, then put her to bed after reading some books and singing her lullabies. It was really important to us to form a consistent regimen for her since kids thrive in stability, but what I hadn't anticipated was how much it would impact my own life, long after putting her to bed. Here are the ten staples that make my nights at home feel special, night after night:
Pajamas: Right after I put Sloan to sleep, I go into our room to change into my pajamas, even though it's hours before my bedtime. It helps create a separation between the parts of my day where I've been "on," both at work and as a parent, and transition to the relaxing part of my evening. I usually wear some sort of coordinating set, either a sweatsuit by The Great (top here, bottom here, on sale!), which is a major investment but so worth it, or a super soft set from Eberjey in a light fabric. I also love this matching set from NYTT, which is a great, affordable alternative to The Great (top here, bottom here).
Slippers and boy shorts: And since I hate walking around barefoot, especially when it's still cool out, I almost exclusively wear my slip-on Ugg slippers that I love. I've also written about my favorite boy shorts for sleeping before, but they really are the best. They're the striped versions from the GAP and are slippery soft and never bunch or pinch on the sides (especially if you order up a size).
Terry cloth headband: I then put back my hair with a terry cloth headband and do my nighttime skin routine. I used to wait until I was about to go to bed, but found that I either a. ended up skipping it when I was too tired or b. resented having to do it when I was sleepy. You can see my whole nighttime routine here, which is pretty consistent, even though the products I use change since I'm always trying out new things. But the process is usually the same: I wash my face with a foaming cleanser and exfoliate a few times a week with this mask. I start with a serum, add a moisturizer, and finish with eye cream.
Heated mattress pad: The next thing I do is head back into our bedroom to get it prepped for when we go to sleep. I close all the curtains, open up the windows (we like lots of cool, fresh air when we sleep), put on the bathroom fan (it's the ideal amount of white noise), and the last thing I do is easily my favorite: I turn on our heated mattress pad. I've written about it before, but it deserves further mentioning based on just how incredible it is. It's a heated pad that goes on top of your mattress and underneath your fitted sheets, and you can adjust just how hot it gets for your side of the bed. Since our bedroom is always very chilly, by the time we come back in a few hours later, I like my side of the bed to be what G calls "devil's temperature" (High) whereas he prefers his to be just slightly warmed (4). It might sound like an unnecessary indulgence, but it is, hands down, my favorite thing about our bedtime routine. You know that feeling when you get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom only to slide back into perfectly warmed sheets? It's like that, but better. We always turn them off as soon as we get in, just so we never get too hot in the middle of the night.
Electric Kettle and Peppermint Tea: Then I head out to have dinner with G. Most nights we eat in front of the TV, which I know isn't exactly ideal, but since we spend so much time together (a perk of working with my spouse), it's nice to just unplug and watch a movie or a show. After we've finished eating, we heat up our electric kettle (it's the one we use as part of our rather extensive coffee routine in the morning) and make tea. My mom turned me on to Twining's Peppermint Tea, and it's truly the best—it's the closest-tasting thing to using actual mint leaves and is both soothing and refreshing. Sometimes I'll add some of my Laird unsweetened Coconut creamer, to make it a bit more indulgent, which I have with a little ramekin of dark chocolate chips (Ghiradelli's 60% variety). I'm just not someone who can completely cut out sweets altogether, but since having actual candy bars is far too tempting, this is a good compromise.
Beats Headphones: On nights when G and I do our separate things, I'll either read in bed (I swear by my iPad and have since even convinced Leslie that e-books are the way to go) or listen to a podcast in the bath. I wear my Beats headphones so that my phone isn't too close to the edge of the bath and I don't have to worry about it falling in. They're what I wear on my walks when listening to music or when I'm doing chores around the house while simultaneously talking on the phone. While G swears by his Air Pods, I'd lose those things immediately and love the wrap-around-the-back-of-your-neck feature of these, plus they're super comfortable. I usually listen to true crime related podcasts in the morning (Crime Junkie, My Favorite Murder, Up and Vanished, CaseFile are a few go-to's) and then something lighter in the evenings (like Howard Stern interviews or Armchair Expert). My dad and I also both instituted a new tradition where we both do the New York Times' daily mini crossword puzzle each night and text each other how long it took us. Though my goal isn't to do them in a certain amount of time, it's kind of fascinating to see which ones take either of us considerably longer, and it's turned into a friendly competition, of sorts.
Electric Toothbrush and Lanolips Ointment: The last thing I do before bed is brush my teeth with my electric toothbrush. I still use the Sonicare I was given as part of a sponsorship years ago, and I love it so much that I recently got one for G as well. I apply Lanolips' 101 Ointment to my lips (I used to have chronically chapped lips and putting this on overnight has changed everything). I then either listen to a 5 or 10-minute meditation on Headspace based on whatever it is I need help with (typically it's anxiety) or read a few minutes before turning out the lights and going to bed by 10 PM.