Tuesday, September 21, 2010

30 Minutes

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.

8 comments:

  1. oh, sweet. I have a ten month old, too, and I totally agree. We have to remember to focus on what's truly important - the first year goes so fast anyways, we can spend all our time stressing about how much they sleep, or just enjoy it to the max without stress. hugs, kisses and snuggles are what it's all about! A little sleep deprivation never killed anyone anyways!

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  2. You are so right Bec! I fear as mothers we too often set our expectations at an unattainable level and thus spend days in frustration when those expectations aren't met. We so need to learn to just step back and chill and enjoy the moment - after all, they won't be little forever. :-) Really been enjoying the blog!

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  3. Thank you Leslie. It is incredible how fast time flies as your baby grows! You are right that sleep deprivation doesn't kill you, I should know because I haven't had more then 5 hours together in going on a year now! Still, there is nothing like being a mom.

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  4. Chris, you know what a control freak I am to begin with, so mommyhood has been quite a journey. Wouldn't trade it for anything though:O)

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  5. Welcome to 30 minute posting!!! Isn't it funny how our ideas about how our babies will be and the reality aren't quite the same!!! I have had one good sleeper out of eight!!! So I think that we might not be hearing the whole truth in the books we read!!! I decided early on that I didn't carry my child for none months just to have it sleep all day, that kind of helped to relieve the constant wakefulness!!! Now that my eldest just turned thirteen I am alarmed at just how quickly time has flown by and I am so glad we have had so much time together!!!

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  6. I can only echo se7en...welcome to the fun of 30 minute posting. AND my little person was the same kind of sleeper as a baby. 30 minutes and that was it and it took me waaaay too long to accept that was how it was. There were 2 blissful nap months just before she turned 2 when she took 1 and 1/2 hour to 2 hour naps...and then she gave up napping for the most part. Even though it has been a year and a half since then, I still get twinges of nap envy when I hear about those multihour sleepers (who also sleep at night).

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  7. Rebecca,
    Your baby is absolutely adorable! When I stopped working outside the home, I was also under the allusion I would have two full hours a day to finish all of my unfinished projects...silly Mommy me!

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  8. Thank you ladies! It is nice to know I am not the only one. Maybe we should all pitch in to write the book "The cold, hard truths about motherhood (and why we recommend it anyways)"

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