Are there benefits of extra sleep for both children AND mothers with chronic illness?
To nap. Or not to nap. This is often a debatable and sometimes controversial subject in the world of parenting and motherhood. Although, it shouldn’t be…
Lucky for our children, both my husband and I have always aired on what is best for them, and not for us. Who would think!?
If our children needed to nap, by all means, we encouraged it, and napped they did. Lucky for me, I survived the early stages of motherhood with a chronic illness because our boys napped well into their childhood. It was almost as if their bodies knew that napping was not only beneficial for them, but that I really needed them to nap. Looking back, it was all a godsend…
With a little understanding of when my chronic illness was at its worst, I now know why it was so important for me to honor why my children napped. Not only was napping great for their growth and development, but during their early years, I really needed the downtime, and I especially encouraged napping at home. You see, putting my feet up for a break during the day was extremely important. It was one of the only things that kept me going, and just barely.
My girlfriends, and even family, however, thought it was crazy that our days were cut short, quickly running home for nap times. And the judgement was awful, the whispers from people and their perspective was even worse. Why was I so “anal, structured, and difficult”, because I “had” to bring our kids home for naps!? What they didn’t realize, or try to understand, was that naps were physically my saving grace. Nap time allowed for me to recharge, re-energize, and collect myself, for round two of chasing a toddler and rearing an infant for the second part of the day.
When my friends had their babies nap “on-the-go”, or had their toddlers “skip naps”, I believe my friends were healthy and capable of getting through the day WITHOUT much downtime. It wasn’t that we had opposing parenting perspectives. Or felt the need to compete for whose kid DIDN’T need to nap. But it was more that our families had two different sets of needs. I had(ve) a chronic illness and I now realize the difference. I hope they do now too.
But in the end, what is best for our family, may not work for the next family. And for our family, we have reaped the rewards of napping. The benefits for both myself and our children, have far outweighed the repercussions I ever received. So, your kid stopped napping when they were 1.5 years old? That’s okay, mine didn’t stop napping for a long time, and it was a win-win for our family.
And these days, if their body needs it, or if mine does too, napping becomes a household ritual. Even my husband and the dog enjoy a good nap.
Do you, your children, or family take naps? Are they structured at home? And do they help you physically get through the day? How is your napping perceived by family and friends?