Why parents hate to mess with nap-time

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Pressure to mess with nap-time

We often feel under pressure from others (and ourselves) to mess with my two year old’s nap-time. She naps bang in the middle of the day, around noon, which is really inconvenient. It makes it hard to do things in the morning as she will fall asleep on the way home and have a crap car nap, waking when we stop the car. Or we don’t know when she will wake to make plans for the afternoon. She used to nap in the baby carrier all the time which made it much more flexible but now she is down to one nap a day and takes it in bed, she no longer naps well on the go.

People who have older or grown up kids forget about this fast. I’m often pressured to try and move or forgo my daughter’s naps for events. Then I have friends who don’t have kids who just don’t get it at all (not a criticism, they’ve just not been there). If you have a napping child like me then you will know that NAP-TIME IS SACRED. WE DO NOT FUCK WITH NAP-TIME.

Case in point

I’ll give you a clear example. On Saturday, we went to visit my parents who are a half hour drive away. We left so we could get Lena home to nap but of course we left it too late so she fell asleep in the car. She woke when we stopped, only 20 minutes into the nap. Lena needs an hour or she’s cranky and sleeps like crap on the night.

Saturday afternoon was AWFUL. She cried, whined, had tantrums. None of us had a nice afternoon. She couldn’t cope with anything, she screamed when ever her brother went near her. She was in bits and so were we. I was too busy trying to fire fight with her, my poor five year old barely got a look in. Papa Ginge and I were at each other’s throats, turning on each other in the stress of it. This alone reminded me why I had vowed to stop taking these risks with nap time again but then it got worse.

Why parents hate to mess with nap time and why I won't again

Crap nap = crap night

I’ve mentioned many times how my kids don’t sleep well. They are as bad as you can get for sleep really. When they get over-tired, they are their worst at night. So following the hideous day we had, I knew I was in for a rough night and I was right. She woke and nursed constantly. By time morning came I was exhausted. But it didn’t end there. The next day she was still cranky, because she had slept so poorly and then that night she woke 22 times!! Both of our moods sucked the following day as a result. The poor sleep continued into night three and now, as is often the case when I get this run down when breastfeeding, I’ve got a nasty case of blocked ducts. Today Papa Ginge had to use a day of annual leave to help me with the kids and school runs as I could barely move my arms due to a golf ball sized lump in my breast, a temperature and aches/pains. All of this because we messed up one nap time at the weekend!

The impact of skipping or moving one single nap impacts our entire family of four for DAYS. It is just not worth it. I’m kind of writing this as a reminder to myself not to be tempted to make plans that will affect her nap and also so I (or you) can send this article to anyone who is pressuring me (you) to do so to help them understand why I am (you are) being a stick in the mud.

We all need the downtime

Aside from the impact that messing up nap-time has, it also means we don’t get our downtime. Life with a 2 and 5-year-old is full on. There is never any time where you just get to sit and relax in the peace and quiet. Nap-time is the part of the day where I get a break. I can watch a show, do some blog work, eat in peace, take a nap myself. If my son is not at school this is his time of day where he is allowed to play on his Ipad or get some rare one on one reading or play time with me without his sister demanding my attention. It’s so important and it’s not forever, we have a time limit on this. If her brother is anything to go by, she will stop napping around 3 years old (right when his baby sister was born – convenient eh). Its so important to enjoy nap-time while it lasts because once its gone, you’ll miss that piece of quiet time.

Nap-time vow

So I reckon I have under a year left of Lena napping – if I’m lucky and from now on I’m vowing to prioritise nap-time above all else. I don’t care if that means we can’t do as many things, we have years for all that stuff. Life is too short to mess with nap-time.

Do you feel under pressure from friends and family to alter nap-times? Does it impact on your family the way it does mine when you make changes? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.

I totally relate to this! Need to send it to people who don't understand why I don't mess with nap-time: Why parents hate to mess with nap-time...

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9 thoughts on “Why parents hate to mess with nap-time”

  1. I think it completely depends on the child and you as a parent are the ones who know them best – if interfering with nap time is going to cause stress later on, I’d definitely prioritise it.

    For me, Harry had strict nap times and I stuck to them and planned my life around them. Then with Heidi I just completely went with the flow and she would just sleep if we were out if she was tired – she was good like that 🙂

    Then with Jack, he LOVED his sleep and would have a 2-3 hour nap after lunch every day when he was a toddler until he started nursery. I would usually have to wake him. It was a lovely little routine but again, my life was planned around his naps as I’d always stay in every afternoon so he could sleep in his cot/bed.

    I have to say I never felt under pressure to change nap times as everyone pretty much knew our routine but you do wonder if people are rolling their eyes when you’re not there x

    • Yeah, I would definitely go with the flow if she would sleep on the go still. She used to in the carrier but now she’s too interested in everything and she will wake at the slightest provocation. She doesn’t nap well at nursery and Tuesday nights are hell.

  2. I don’t feel pressure to change it so much as we never really tied it down to begin with! You know from the board that my kids stay up until all hours, no matter what I do, yet they don’t even nap! Kids and sleep in general is enough to make anyone crazy. I do get pressure to wake them earlier, as I let them sleep as long as they want if they stay up late. If I do wake them earlier, my entire day goes like your Saturday! I regret it every time.

    • Yeah I would totally love to do that but the days that Mark and I both work we need to leave the house by 7am and the kids are in day care from 7.30am so that drives the routine to be honest. Same with Lena’s nap. I’m flexible with when she takes it to a point but we need to leave the house by 2.30pm to get Arlo from school so she has to be done napping then. As usual, its external factors driving the routine which is annoying. I follow her cues from her nap though so we just go up when she is ready. I guess this post relates more to changing it when we go places as she will fall asleep on the way home.

  3. We watched your last vlog on the actual tv, and Sophie was thrilled with hearing the accents! This isn’t the proper place to post that I suppose, but she wanted to watch again and again- and we will keep our eye out for Papa Ginge’s first magazine cover! ?

  4. We had no routine to Amelia’s naps and I really feel like I am paying for that now. As no routine for bedtime was set up either for various reasons meaning she is still a nightmare at 6.

    You have to do what is best for you, I wish I had.

  5. I couldn’t have stumbled across this post at a better time!

    My little boy is now 3 and I am thankful that he very rarely naps unless totally exhausted as long as napped and awake by 4pm we have few problems at bed time even if he goes to bed closer 8 than 7 on those rare times…

    Anyway….I work full time and his paternal grandparents look after him one day a week to save us a little money on nursery fees…I live approx 40 miles away from our house and this is around 20 minutes away from where I work so I drop him with his grandma on a morning in my work car park and go pick him from theirs on the afternoon around 3.30. (this is important to my rant!)

    Last week I had to change my work schedule for some later meetings and wouldn’t be finishing work until around 6.30/7pm rather than the usual 3pm, so i kindly asked the in-laws should they mind taking our LB home at approx 4.30 ready for me, as I didnt want to pick him up from their house at 6.30/7pm to drive for around an hour to home when he would likely fall asleep as very close to bed time/bed time as we drive and wake up when trying to carry a very tall and heavy (for me) 3 year old into the house! And then not want to go to bed as he thinks its just a nap! Despite explaining this to them they completely refused! It didn’t suit their needs, regardless of what was in the best interest for the 3 year old. Poor boy was exhausted by time I arrived at thier house at 7.15, fell asleep 5 mins into journey home slept for an hour to our house and didnt go back to bed properly until gone 10!! He was then very naughty all day at nursery, being disruptive and unkind but refused to nap but fell asleep at 6.30 that evening and was then awake at 4.30 on the Saturday morning >,<. Thankfully we managed to get a nap on Saturday afternoon which seemed to reset his body clock but it could so easily have been avoided if other people considered his needs and what was best for him, not themselves!!!

    Sorry, rant over! I just needed to see that I wasnt alone in this battle!

    • Oh no, what a nightmare! I really hate it when things like that happen. Its so frustrating. I don’t understand why people don’t listen to the parents. Kids nap for such a short period of their life in the grand scheme of things. Respect the naps people! Thank you for taking the time to comment – you’ve made me feel like I’m not alone in this. xx


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