I just recently discovered my new favorite blog by Jamie at Steady Mom. One of the many cool things she does is host a Mom's 30 minute blog challenge each Tuesday. I thought it would be fun to join in, so here goes...
I felt like a 30 minute post would be very appropriate for me since I had the good fortune to give birth to a 30 minute napper. Ever since my munchkin was 2 months old, he has persisted in taking abbriviated naps of 30 minutes exactly. I could set a clock by him, 30 minutes on the dot from the time he was put to sleep he would pop awake and cry for my attention.
As a mom-to-be I had had this vision in my head of holding my new baby, nursing him, and quietly putting him down for a two hour long nap while I took the time for myself to read, exercise, clean or do anything my heart desired. I have distinct memories of reassuring my husband when he worried about us not having time together after the baby was born, that babies take naps and we would have plenty of time on the weekends while our little one slept peacefully.
Needless to say, my bundle of joy's propensity for painfully short cat naps came as quite a shock.
Initially I tried everything to make him sleep longer (though I refused to let him cry). I would sneak in at 29 minutes and stand ready to pop him on to nurse the minute he stirred in hopes he would drift back to sleep, I darkened the room, ran loud fans, played soothing music, let him nap in a swing, and once I even tried the poke-the-baby-after-20-minutes-until-he-stirs-and-then-settles-in-for-a-long-nap trick (which was a huge disaster, believe me).
Unfortunately I found that the only result of my efforts was increased frustration on my part after every failed attempt.
After many exhausting days and much reading and researching I finally came to the conclusion that it was out of my hands. So, I backed off. Now, I wish I could say that because I learned my lesson my baby magically started sleeping longer, but that was not the case. What did happen is that when I set my expectation at the 30 minute mark and let go of trying to control his nap times, my level of stress and frustration starting inching down. I found that I could find a measure of peace in 30 minutes, I learned to decide ahead of time what was most important during that time and stick with it, and I learned that I could be satisfied with just 30 minutes of me time if that was all I had.
Now that my munchkin is 10 months old he does take longer naps on many days, it is something that he has grown into in his own time (and I like to think that my gentle nudging helped, but it's quite possible that I had nothing to do with it). Still, for as many times as he naps for an hour and a half, he just as often sticks to his 30 minute special, and I am reminded on a regular basis that many aspects of mothering are out of my control and some days the best I can do is ignore the laundry, dishes, cleaning and that book that is calling to me and focus instead on what my child truly needs; love, hugs, kisses, and time with his mommy, not necessarily a 31+ minute nap.