You never truly appreciate the importance of nap time until it becomes the only break you get all day. I’ve mentioned this before, but Pre-Charlie Brittaney was totally clueless when it came to babies. Post-Charlie Brittaney definitely isn’t a baby whisperer either, but I now at least understand how crucial sleep is for our little ones.
For the first few months of Charlie’s life he was a horrible napper. He’s always been a good overnight sleeper, but man did that kid suffer some serious FOMO during the day. This lead to an overtired, cranky baby and a stressed out, cranky mama.
I’ve been a Type A, schedule loving, routine dependent person my whole life, so it comes as no surprise that I love following a schedule with Charlie. It’s how I’m able to function. Babies and toddlers can be so unpredictable, but I love that a schedule gives me a guide for how to plan my day and that (most days) I can count on a solid nap.
I totally understand that not everyone is like this. Not all parents stress about schedules or nap times or routines and that is awesome. I often wish I could be a bit more “go with the flow” but, for me, “going with the flow” usually just leaves me stressed.
At 19 months old, Charlie is down to one nap a day from noon until around 2:00pm. This is my sacred mama time. I eat, I work out, I shower, I do chores, I read, I lay on the couch and do nothing at all. I do me. I NEED this time every day.
When James is away for work, nap time becomes even more important for my sanity. It becomes a nonnegotiable.
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that on certain occasions or when traveling I have to be flexible with schedules and naps. And I’m fine with that. Truly. I just know that, for me, I’m at my best when I get a break and some “me time” during the day, and in order to achieve that, we need nap time.
One thing I’ve finally learned and accepted as a parent is that it’s okay to say, “No”. It took me a while to figure this out. I was so worried about offending a friend or worried about Charlie being an overtired mess or worried about rushing home in order to get back by nap time. If I decided to skip nap and go to some outing, I was usually too concerned about Charlie’s impending “no nap meltdown” to actually enjoy myself. Or Charlie would have a meltdown and then no fun would be had by anyone.
But, one day it just clicked. I can say, “No.” Do I feel a bit lame explaining to a friend that I can’t do something because it’s nap time? Honestly, yes. But, all my mom friends totally get it, even if they aren’t as big on schedules as I am. My non-mom friends may not have a firsthand understanding, but they know me well enough to know that I wouldn’t turn down an invite unless I had a good reason. And for me, nap time is a very good reason.So, allllll of this to say that if you invite me and Charlie to lunch, or to a story time, or to a play group, or to any activity that falls during nap time, please don’t be offended, but we won’t be making it. It’s not you, it’s nap time.