How to Not Go Mental when your Baby Stops Napping
You may expect several pearls of wisdom which will save your very soul. But actually, my title may be deceiving.
It is a question and a statement, shouted in desperation from a mentally exhausted mother. This is an account of my week since my baby stopped napping, and the strategy I have used to try and come out the other side alive.
You could read the title as, how am I going to remain sane if I never get a breather?
And by breather, I mean a moment to do the washing up, the laundry, in some cases get dressed… Those things we rely on nap time to achieve. Clear up the endless carpet of food that invades my kitchen floor. I don’t have a carpet in my kitchen by the way, but sometimes it looks like it! A moment to make a cup of tea, then drink it. A moment to sort out the mountain of paperwork on my kitchen table (always comes last, oh how I hate paperwork).
A moment to write; precious for my sanity.
A moment to think – if I am really lucky. Thinking comes at a premium.
Oh and breathe of course. Take a Very. Deep. Breath.
I literally will die if I forget to breathe.
Why has my (nearly) 11 month old baby decided she is a toddler and no longer needs her sleep?
First, I am worried because at her age, sleep is so important for learning and development.
What is the point of me teaching her all these amazing things like how to clap, crawl and say ‘Cat’ (extremely important life skills, you’ll agree), if she has no time for it to sink in and process. For the record, she has mastered all those things, especially the crawling.
BECAUSE I TAUGHT THEM TO HER WHEN SHE STILL NAPPED.
Imagine my concern that she may never walk, or put the plastic shapes in the right holes if she doesn’t sleep!
Then I worry for myself. My precious self! For without me, what will she do?
*I must remain sane, I must remain sane* and repeat.
I had a routine, damn it. I had got it working. Gina Ford would have been proud. I always knew I could count down the clock between naps, knowing a break would come. I could sit on the toilet or some other luxury.
It’s what got me through the day.
And BOOM. “No Nap” enters my life.
It’s exhausting. She is crawling everywhere and cruising round the furniture, threatening to walk.
Surely she is KNACKERED AND NEEDS TO SLEEP!
Oh no? Just me then!
I know this might sound mental to some people, but I know there are loads of you who know exactly how I feel. I know I am not alone in the need for nap time – to remain sane.
I feel for you, I really do.
So what do you do when this happens?
Here is my ten point plan (which is basically what my week has looked like so far)
- NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I cannot believe this is happening! If she stops napping how will I ever cope *pours Gin & tonic*
- Keep praying it is just a blip. She’ll be back to normal soon.
- Clear up more food off the floor (AGAIN) before we all trip over it in sleep deprived mess.
- MORE PRAYING it is just a blip. She’ll be back to normal soon.
- Cry to husband, looking like a really irrational person, and through tears say, ‘she just won’t sleep anymore, I won’t cope if she doesn’t sleep‘ boo hoo.
- Take her for a long walk in the buggy. You never know, she might sleep. At least this way I am not chasing around after her trying to stop her eating the cat’s hair (which she literally pulls off his coat and puts straight in her mouth!) Very strange.
- Desperately rush my horrendous hunt for a childminder and get one booked for next month.
- Suddenly remember that this is what babies do. The minute you think you’ve got a routine down, it changes. Quickly remind myself of the change curve from my days working in communications and change. Have a word with myself.
- LET IT GO. She can play ‘mostly’ safely while I get on and do ‘some’ things with half an eye on her. Pity she’s so fond of the fireplace. But she’ll learn.
- Accept the house will be a mess. Accept that once again, shit changes. And deal with it. (I’m still working on this one)
If the day comes where I have to take her to the doctors for hacking up a rather large fur ball of cat hair mixed with grass (she eats the lawn too), well… it will just be another opportunity to learn!
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