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Working mom dilemma: Nap time

Fell off the NaBloPoMo wagon. It’s Day 22, and reminiscent to Day 15, we’re still on this no-sleep train. Let’s talk about naps, shall we?

The guilt of missing so many of my kids’ precious moments in their earlier years is a very real thing about being a working mom. I had many moments right after maternity leave, trying to process whether I was working to pay for daycare or if the cost of daycare was the only way to remain in the workforce. For many working moms, the cost of daycare nearly eclipses their take-home income, and it doesn’t make financial sense to stay in their jobs.

When I transitioned out of my 9-to-5, we pulled Bear Shark out of full-time daycare to save money. He was also at a really great easy age, and being home with him felt like I was making up for all the lost time I didn’t get to have with the Big Kid. I treasure those early pre-walking/talking months. I was finally getting some one-on-one time with Bear Shark and really enjoying his big milestones and development.

Now that I’m teaching yoga as a full-time (+/-) gig, we have Bear Shark in childcare 4 days a week. But holy hell, that one day a week that it’s just me and him… There’s always a battle at nap time.

Whatever tricks are up childcare providers’ sleeves, they always manage to get kids to take a nap consistently. I remember having to pick up the Big Kid early when he was around 2 or 3, and the whole room was dark and quiet with all kids napping on their mats. It was magic. Nap time in our household on the weekends is a semi-mess. We try to run them into the ground earlier in the day, and we try to time an early afternoon car ride home in hopes that it will lull them into sleep without us having to do the hard work. On the weekends, it helps with more people. The husband and I can tag team or the Big Kid will patiently sing songs to his little brother.

When it’s just me and Bear Shark, I want to tear out my hair. I don’t know how to get my kid to nap! Our mornings are busy. He goes to swim class. We run our errands. He’s looking sleepy in the car. Pull him out of the car and BAM! Wide awake again. Fill his belly up. Talk about how it’s important to have some quiet resting time, and he nods along like he understands. Keep the room dark and quiet and soothing. Pat him on his back. He can’t lie still. Flipping and flopping this way and that. “I need water.” “Fold my blankie.” 2 hours go by, and he’s still no where near taking a nap. I give in. He finds a 3rd, 4th, 5th wind and dumps every toy out of every bin. I close myself off in my room and count the minutes down until my husband and big brother get home.

Of course, it’s right around dinner time that he finally realizes how damn tired he is, and he crashes. Hard. We have to wake him to eat. The rest of the night is off schedule. Late bed time. Middle of the night wake up. We’re chugging coffee in a desperate attempt to be awake enough to drive in the morning. I look forward to sending him back to childcare, and I drag my tired butt to work.

There’s no break. There’s barely any time to catch a breath. And while it may seem melodramatic, I feel like I’m dying. This is just ONE DAY in my week, and the effects reverberate through the other six.

Working mamas out there, how are you surviving when you have to put your kid down for a nap?

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