My grandmother, the perpetual optimist, used to always speak of the idea that when one door closed another would open in its place. And as much as I’ve wanted to believe this to be true, I have admittedly found it hard during certain transitions in life. The loss of an opportunity or the cessation of a comfort has always felt (to me, anyway) like an untimely death warranting the biggest sort of pity party. And no closed chapter has seemed quite as painful as losing naptime in our house!
As a mom who has leaned on them for a scant sense of personal time as well as a time to work, to say that I need them is a vast understatement. Naptime – for years! – has been the only time in the day when I get to reorganize my thoughts, calibrate my goals, and sharpen my skills…or just sleep. It’s allowed me time to refresh and recharge when I’ve felt overwhelmed and even relax and find respite on days when I’m feeling run down. In other words, it’s the only “me time” I get…and I look forward to it with great delight.
But as my third (and final) child is transitioning from a toddler to a schoolgirl, her little body has awakened to the fact that the nap practice is as outdated and unnecessary as dial-up modems and Deloreans. My body, on the other hand, is still stuck back in the “good old days,” and I’m moving into our new future-scape the same way Boomers headed out of the ‘80s: with much protesting and grief.
To be more like my grandmother, though, I realized I needed to think of the positives that would come from this changing scenario rather than focusing on the negatives. It wasn’t easy, but after a ton of grounding meditation, a few scoops (okay…maybe an entire pint) of ice cream, and a day in which the kids were mercifully out of the house, I moped for a minute and then brought myself around to a new perspective. So, even though there are many, many negatives in losing naptime, here are a few of the good things that may come from this loss:
Our Schedule Will Open Up
Let’s be real – the only true downside of having a nap schedule has been…well…the schedule part. Though having a routine is good – necessary, even – it has been a buzz kill on numerous occasions. There was always a sense of juggling time, knowing we couldn’t do certain things because it might infringe on the sacred nap space. But now, without being bound by the hands of the clock, we are free to go here, there, yonder…on a whim! (Not that we do. We totally aren’t that family. But now that we’re losing naptime we could be…one day.)
Our Family Will Become Closer
I mean, we’re already close, but now we won’t have to divide and conquer quite as much. No longer needing one person to stay home to supervise a napping kiddo means we can be together, as a unit, ALL the time. (Yeah. That sounded like a pro before I wrote it down, but I think it could still be a good thing, right?)
Our Little One Will Become More Social
Our little one isn’t as shy as her older siblings, which means she’s happy to get out and be around other people. Now that she will inhabit more of our waking hours – rather than slinking off to baby-land for daily sleep and slumber – her perception of the world will grow and her personal interactions will flourish. (And that’s good. At least, until she gathers enough intel on the family to embarrass us in front of these folks.)
Bedtime Will Be Earlier
The laws of logic and fairness would tell us that losing one thing would result in a gain somewhere else. And, certainly, if the gods are merciful, a non-napping child should go to bed earlier than a napping one. Even though I’m not yet sure if this is true, I am certainly hoping it will be. If so, losing naptime could inspire our whole household to finally shift towards an earlier bedtime. (And, golly, we need that!!)
Life Is Change
Another thing my grandmother used to tell me: life is change. If we don’t accept that, then our existence will feel insurmountable. I can’t count the number of times that, just when I thought I had it all figured out, something changed – in my kids’ schedule, their interests, their food choices, or their friends. It’s hard to keep up sometimes. But change is all around us, folks!
As I am still learning, in parenthood as in life, if we roll with the punches rather than resisting the inevitable, we will find ourselves much more content and able to navigate this journey. After all, what’s the alternative?? If our kids don’t grow and keep us on our toes, it means there’s something wrong. Even though it’s hard to deal with every single transition they face, having them constantly changing means they are not static. AND THAT’S THE GOAL!! Changing who they are and what they do means they are moving along the assembly line of life, transforming into the tiny humans who will one day be our grown counterparts. And that’s pretty exciting, all things considered – maybe not always in the moment, but definitely in the bigger picture!
At the end of the day, although losing naptime has hit me like a sucker punch to the gut, I am swimming in the notion that my little lady is one step closer to being a big kid. As much as that fact can sometimes sting, it’s truly a sight to behold the person she is becoming. So, I will gladly trade in all that we have had to make room for all that is to come, knowing there are always good things to look forward to…even if naptime isn’t one of them.