I don’t mess around with nap time.
Most people think I’m a little too strict. Or maybe a lot too strict. We adhere to our nap schedules on birthdays and Christmas. Even at Disneyland. When the sky is falling and the locusts are invading, we will adhere to nap time.
I freakin’ love nap time.
I didn’t always know I’d be so strict about nap time but my first born does not handle change well and is best when he has a routine. The kid slept like clockwork. So when just 15 months later, his little sister came along, I kept her on a similar path and now at ages 4 and 2.5 they are synchronized. Once baby number 3 came into the picture, I have never been more happy that I enforce a nap time.
A couple months ago, my 4 year old started fighting naps. So many sources were saying “he’s at the age, it’s time to drop naps” but I just couldn’t give it up! So, I made strict quiet time rules. You don’t have to nap. You have to stay in your bed. You can read or do a work book. The end. He usually falls asleep. I also allow my kids to listen to audio books. But everyone stays in their bed.
I fully believe that my children are happier, better behaved and more self-regulated when they are on a consistent schedule. We eat at the same times. We sleep at the same times. Sure, we might go late by 30 minutes or so on occasion but my kids know when nap time is, and they very rarely argue with me. Those are really great benefits to nap time. But do you know what else is really great about nap time?
Moms need nap time too.
When I had two kids under 2 (like way under 2!) I found out that with multiple children nap time goes quickly (even when it’s 3 hours!). Just when you think you have enough time to put away all the laundry AND rest, you get those towels put away and BAM! Kid awake. So I made a rule for myself. I don’t do chores during nap time. I read. I watch TV. I shower. I blog. I eat. I rest. Sometimes I craft or do a project I want to do, but nap time is MY time. It’s how I don’t burn out. It’s how I can be excited when my kids wake up and not exhausted.
So when do I do chores? When my kids are awake! They help or “help” but they don’t think a magic fairy comes in and does the chores. But that’s a post for another time. The point of this post is my rest (my sanity, my mood, my body) is more important than the chores. Dishes, laundry, cleaning toilets can all be done with awake kids or by someone else (cue world’s best husband!). Rest cannot. And a tired, worn thin, cranky mama is good for no one! Remember “If Mama Ain’t Happy… Ain’t Nobody Happy!”
All this isn’t to say it’s easy. I have to fight for my nap time schedules. I have to fight against errands. Against well-meaning grandparents. Against really fun social events that are always scheduled right in the middle of naps. Against two year olds. Against crying babies. I have to fight for my nap schedule. But it’s worth every bump and bruise I get along the way. I work very hard to keep us all on nap schedules.
I sometimes let nap time rules slide and I usually regret it. But I never regret a long quiet rest time in the middle of an otherwise crazy day!