Nap Time, Oh Nap Time!

Via on May 7, 2013

Babies and small children glow with ojas

I honestly have no idea what I’m doing. I know I signed up to be a mum, but I don’t think they interviewed me properly.

No one gave me a job description, no one clarified my roles and responsibilities. I received no handbook, no warning about occupational health and safety hazards. I was thrown into the deep end.

Am I doing it right? Or am I royally screwing it up?

Whenever I feel this way about any other job or task, I do what any sane, respectable person would do: I shelve it. After sitting on it for a bit, working out its complexities and requirements, I attack it again with success.

Apparently you can’t take the ‘shelving’ approach to parenting; it’s frowned upon.

Instead, we muscle through it, push those nagging doubts and guilt away. We do whatever it takes to survive.

I wonder if this is why parents so longingly ache for nap time (their children’s, not their own … though the latter would be nice too). Nap time is perhaps the one time of the day where, as a mother, I can be certain I’m doing a good job. It’s the closest I can come to ‘shelving’ my role as a parent. My little man snug as a bug in bed, while I do something that I know how to do… Then he wakes up and it’s back into the deep end without my floaties.

The fact that nap time is such an important part of the day bothers me a little. Why? Well, I love the time my son is up. Absolutely love it. We have a ball. Watching him learn, play, laugh (oh, the laughter is the best, absolutely); the world is a good place. Sure, there are tantrums and tears, too (both his and mine); it’s not all rainbows. But on the whole, it’s lovely.

Still, I find myself searching my son’s face for tired signs, checking the clock to see just how far away the next nap is. The anticipation of that golden hour—nap time—is palpable. As my son’s eyes close and his face melts into peaceful slumber, I can soak in the splendor of being in (relative) control. No little person to wrangle, no parenting decisions to be made, no doubts about whether yoghurt for lunch—again—is a good idea. For an hour or two I’m the best mother in the world.

The pressure we put on ourselves as mothers is a heavy load indeed. Every decision, every action, every activity is questioned. With no clear-cut rules of right and wrong, we’d be forgiven for riding the roller-coaster of doubt and guilt every day. But do we have to? Whose standards are we trying to live up to? Those of our friends? Our own mothers? Super-mum Mandy down the road?

When I’m really honest with myself, I know I’m a great mum. My son is happy, fed, clothed, loved. Sure, my patience can wear thin at times, my song and dance repertoire can grow a little tired (at least to me), the breakfast menu can become stagnant… but I do my best, and my best is absolutely good enough. And when I’m feeling less than perfect, when my doubts get the better of me, there’s always nap time to look forward to, an hour or so of perfect parenting.

 

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Ed: Brianna Bemel

About Erica Webb

Based in Melbourne, Australia, Erica splits her time between being a mum, practicing and teaching yoga, completing her Master of Arts (Writing), and writing for the joy of it. Trained in Classical Yoga at the Australian College of Classical Yoga, she focuses her practice and teaching on becoming present and tuning into the inner guide. Being a mum is the hardest but most wonderful job she has ever done. She blogs over at www.thenonsenseofit.com and hangs out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thenonsenseofit

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5 Responses to “Nap Time, Oh Nap Time!”

  1. Nice one Erica, funny how we think of 'nap time' as 'our' time when really it is all 'our' time! And yes you ARE a great Mum x

    • Erica says:

      Very true! It is all 'our' time … it can just be harder to appreciate at some times than others :)

  2. Mel says:

    What a perfect description of early motherhood! I always felt bad to feel so relieved when my daughter was finally down for a nap, but you describe the reasons wonderfully. I'm sure you're doing great!!!

  3. Carolyn Riker Carolyn Riker says:

    Love this! I so remember those days longing for my kiddos to take a nap so I could too. Beautiful, candid words. Thank you for sharing!

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