As a busy mom of three little ones I always eagerly anticipated the precious time when my kids went down for that well needed nap. “THEY NEED A NAP!” I would scream from across our mommy and me class or lunch with a moms group when I needed validation for my kids breaking while all others were smiling and eating bites of a bagel or grilled cheese. It was a time that made my day as a mommy so much more productive, and why was I the only one frantic it was not getting done?
We all know that as moms we need to the time to recharge, reconnect and regroup and so do our babies.But what about our toddlers?
There is always so much a mom can get done in that two-hour span or more of a child’s daytime sleep. A whole days work in 120 minutes, especially when babies are out of bouncies and enter the new phase of crawling around into everything. We need to get them in the crib after our mornings of fun!
Maybe it was because I had two babies at once, but I was always one for schedules! Naps were the most important part of my day and well being. I still like to think they are, but now that my twins are five years old and are non-stop during the day with school and after-school activities and I struggle with my third, my toddler, and her nap schedule.
If we are on-the-go and she misses her nap, I continuously fear the worst. Will she break? What will happen? And am I a bad mom if she comes to tennis and gymnastics and does not sleep but instead forgoes her nap for coloring and sticker games while her siblings sport their talents? Will she survive and get into college if the schedule is broken? I think she will be okay, but my mind always wanders, fearing the worst.
Until my twins were three, I tried to be as regimented as possible. Naps were never not in question and both were scheduled daily. Naps were the most important part of my sanity and existance. But as I notice myself becoming more and more relaxed with my third child and her life “on-the-go,” when the tired tantrums begin I feel awful that I have not been giving her the nap time she deserves. As a mom, I know she deserves her time, but does she require it?
I always have read about naps, especially as a twin mommy, different opinions on time of day and if too much sleep during the day then not a good nights sleep at night. I needed to know it all.
After a recent study of experts interviewed by TODAY.com, I gained some new comfort in my new routine of letting the naps go – if need be. “Daytime sleep is not a response to poor night sleep, but rather precedes poor night sleep” says Karen Thorpe, a professor in development science at Queensland University of Technology in Australia.
After scouring medical literature for studies on napping, Thorpe and her colleagues winnowed a vast list of articles that explored the impact of napping on sleep and other outcomes, such as health and sociability, according to the report published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.
Basically, it all comes down to this – our own family and children and their individual needs. Que Sera Sera and whatever will be will be.
If your toddler is fine after a long day doing errands or a trip to the zoo and can keep on going , let it RIDE. Enjoy their smiles and giggle and cuddles, and time together and know at some point they will break and fall asleep, and you will be more productive tomorrow if not today. There will always be a nap and if not when you anticipated your freedom for a few short minutes, we are all still great mommies and our kids will survive!