Preserve the sanctity of napping. Divide and conquer if necessary.
Perhaps the biggest thing that keeps me sane amidst the constant busyness is what I like to call ‘synchronised napping.’ In other words, the boys all sleep at the same time in the middle of the day. And usually for somewhere between two to three hours. During which time I get to regroup, tidy the house, use the bathroom (woohoo!), eat lunch, do stretches, unwind and sometimes I even take a nap myself.
It’s like coming up for air.
At the risk of sounding like a militant ‘tiger mum’ (I am Chinese after all), daytime napping in our household is non-negotiable. The boys are not given a choice in the matter. And yes, they have all at various times attempted to drop their nap. But we just keep putting them back down, and if they cry about it, well – we leave them crying about it. And even though the crying has been hard to listen to over the years, the up side is that ‘quiet time’ (as we like to call it) is now a given in our daily family life. The boys all know that after play time, it’s lunch time, and after lunch time, it’s quiet time. There is no argument and no fuss (most days), and on a good day, we are able to put them all down in the space of ten minutes.
Of course, there are special occasions throughout the year for which we will make an exception to the quiet time rule. But generally speaking, we will always go home for quiet time. This does not bother me in the least from a social point of view, because by the time I’ve been out with the boys all morning (or should I say, by the time I’ve managed to strap them all into the car), I am exhausted myself anyway.
As for dividing and conquering, the boys all nap in a different place of the house to allow for ‘maximum napping’: Edward sleeps in his cot in his room; Jamie sleeps in his cot in the big boys’ room, Pete sleeps on the couch downstairs in the lounge room, and Angus sleeps on the queen-sized bed our room (lucky him). By my careful calculation, this leaves the study couch and the family room couch for Rick and yours truly should we need to lie down ourselves. Being the eldest, Angus will sometimes stay awake but even so, he remains in our bed and afterwards he’ll tell me that he’s had “a rest.”
That’s good enough for this second generation tiger mum.
Over to you – how important is daytime napping in your family?
(This new series is partly inspired by Erin’s tips for living in a tiny apartment, which is a must-read, especially if you’ve ever lived in a small space.)