One night after the kids had gone to bed, my three-year old son wandered into the living room where I was sitting, drinking tea and chatting with my Mum who was visiting from England.
"I don't want to go to bed, Mummy." He said, testing the waters.
Cute though he was in his stripy pajamas, I took him back to his room and tucked him into bed. He got up a few more times, and each time, I took him straight back. There's no messing with the bed time routine around here, because, well, we all know how sacred that quiet evening time is.
"You're more strict with your kids than we were with you and your brother." My Mum observed.
"I probably would have just let you stay up for a bit."
Thinking back to my own childhood, I realized it was true - it did seem like my parents were more laid-back than we are now.
"It's the bed time routine. It's set in stone." I joked. Only I wasn't joking.
We started this bed time routine when our first son was two months old, under the advice of the Baby Whisperer, since she seemed to know what she was talking about. It's one of many parenting books I read when we started our family, trying to figure out the right things to do.
My parents' generation didn't have access to the same abundance of information we're privileged with now. And I can't help but wonder if this all knowledge that's right there at our fingertips - the stuff that should make us feel better about our choices as parents - is instead making us more uptight.
It started when I was about six months pregnant with my first son: I had just left my job, and suddenly had all this time on my hands. As I began preparing for my baby, I came across mountains of information I didn't know about. There were books on natural birthing, books on breastfeeding, sleep training, nutrition, potty training, parenting boys, parenting kids with ADD. There were online forums for parents to discuss their issues. There were a thousand baby products that I might or might not need but which all looked very convincing.
I panicked. There was so much I didn't know and only a few months to learn it all. I started reading everything I could get my hands on. I bought books and magazines and read anything I could find online. I took a baby class (*cough* useless *cough*). The more information I found, the more overwhelmed and unprepared I felt.
By the time my son was born, I thought everyone including the mailman knew more about babies than me.
I was partially informed, but mostly terrified. And the excess of information was not helping.
It wasn't until my second pregnancy that I realized I'd spent too much time worrying about whether I was doing what the books said I should be doing, and not enough time trusting my own instincts.
These days, everything we want or need to know is seconds away. We can brush up on anything from the minute we decide to get pregnant to the time our kids leave for university and everything in between. And all without even taking a step outside our homes.
Our parents' generation didn't have the same sources of knowledge we have now. For one, they didn't have the Internet (imagine - the horror!), and they didn't have the enormous variety of books we have now. There's hardly a parenting topic left unpublished these days.
They didn't have baby monitors, diaper genies, Bumbos, organic swaddling blankets or strollers with more technology than a Ferrari.
And somehow, we survived!
Also, have you noticed how, when you ask your parents what they used for car seats, they never give you a straight answer?
Sometimes I wonder whether my parents' generation was simply better off without this wealth of information.
Maybe not, but still, it's a thought.
Don't get me wrong - I'm grateful for all the useful things I can find on my book shelves and computer. I'm glad I can find a nutritious family-friendly recipe in three minutes, chat with friends on Facebook and Twitter, look up what constitutes a dangerously high fever at 3 am., or buy the latest organic baby shampoo from Europe from my sofa.
But, sometimes I wish I could switch it the hell off and instead just listen to what my head is telling me.
Sometimes I wonder if all this readily-available information is turning us into a generation of control-freak parents, obsessed with always knowing everything there is to know about everything. Or is it just me? Maybe this is just the raving of a very tired woman with too many books on her shelves and too many bookmarks on her browser.
What do you think?