Sleep Strike Envy

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A funny thing happened on the way to the park last Saturday. Getting out the door is always challenging with little ones but this day was exceptionally overwhelming. It wasn’t due to needed supplies in the diaper bag or constant trips to the potty. It wasn’t even poor behavior; no the reason for the chaos was pure and simple: my children had slept too much the night before and they were bouncing off the walls with energy. Blissful sleep conquered their bodies for 11 hours and the result was terrifying. Energetic, excited and wired children.

In that moment I realized that great sleep was not all it was cracked up to be. That’s right, my children are great sleepers and it’s ruining our lives. Well maybe not ruining it, but I am telling you there is no reason to envy your friends whose children sleep well. If your child is a poor sleeper, you are the ones that should be envied.

Here’s why:

When my new Kindergartner asked oh so tenderly on his very first weekend of school if he “ got to take a nap today?” I knew we had problems. I thought I was done scheduling my days around a nap. Wasn’t I free to run errands in the afternoon now? Couldn’t I have lunch with a friend that went past 1pm? Weren’t the days of car gymnastics over where I practically dislocated my arm to keep toddler passengers awake? Apparently not. If your child doesn’t nap regularly or fails to excel in this area, you are winning my friends! Nothing is tying you down. Embrace that inconsistency and live it up, your lives aren’t shackled to naps like mine are!

The second reason that the need to nap is not something to be envied is for the noise (or lack thereof) level in our home. The need to nap means making sure that the whole house is quiet for hours at a time. While at first glance this may seem peaceful and total and complete bliss, again it’s just not that great. Don’t buy into the lie that peace and quiet is all that great. Do you have a nap strike occurring in your home? You are so lucky! That means you can have a phone call from the hours of 1-4pm. You can raise your voice above a whisper. You could even schedule a play date with friends!  You don’t have to curse the mailman or UPS guy or any other solicitor for failing to heed the sign on your door that reads, “Shh…babies napping” because they rang the doorbell 45 minutes into your child’s nap. No, bring on the noise and the fun because you aren’t consumed by the need for quiet.

Finally, a bad napper or “selective sleeper” as I enviously like to refer to these little people as means that you will probably be awoken at odd hours in the middle of the night due to poor patterns of sleep during the day. Lucky dog, you are! All the experts tell us that good sleep produces more good sleep and I am here to tell you that this is unfortunately the case. When my boys were on a schedule and consequently slept through the night by 6 months (I know, the horror right?) it meant that middle of the night cuddles also ceased. Good sleepers do their job and actually sleep all night long.  What I wouldn’t give to have one more 2am snuggle where an overtired baby nuzzles his face into my arm because I am more comforting than his crib. Sometimes when I check on my sleeping kids I secretly long for them to wake up just to have the opportunity to rock them back to slumber.  Not my kids, down by 8 and up around 6:30am with not a peep in between. Is a child keeping you up at night? Count your blessings!

So whether your children sleep like angels or have a tragic sleep aversion, the bottom line here is that the grass will always be greener, in motherhood and life. If we take a minute to look at things from a different perspective and allow ourselves to laugh a little we might just make it through one more potentially sleepless night.

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