Having a baby is tough stuff. It's beautiful and rewarding and fun and fulfilling, but it's also tough. Liv has turned out to be one active little lady. She demands constant stimulation and attention or she'll gladly make it known that she's not happy. We have to be on the go at all times– doing, seeing, exploring, learning– or she is not content.
In addition to all that activity, not much has changed on the nap front since I wrote this post. In fact, we are averaging only three, 30 minute naps each day. It's just enough time for me to do the tip-toe run to the shower, start a load of laundry or check my email before she starts to stir on the monitor.
This constant race against the clock is exhausting, and by the time Keane gets home from work, I'm in desperate need of a mental break.
Unlike some other moms I've met, I have no consistent naps or early bedtimes to look forward to. Keane and I have exactly zero time together at the end of a weekday because this Miss doesn't like going to bed before 9:30pm. Once she's down, I scramble to get myself ready for bed so I can sleep while she sleeps. After 2-3 nighttime feedings, the morning comes and we are at it again.
There was a period of time a couple months ago when I was making myself crazy reading sleep books and talking to other moms, desperate to learn the secret to making a child sleep. Everyone else seemed to have all the answers and I was sure I was to blame for Liv's resistance to naps. I must have been doing something wrong. Were we not scheduled enough? Was I picking her up too soon after waking? Maybe she would put herself back to sleep if I gave her enough time.
For one week, I attempted the Ferber Method. I thought I just needed to train her to sleep longer during the day. So I let her cry in her crib alone after she'd wake from her short catnaps. After 10 minutes of screaming each day, I realized I wasn't cut out for this method. It didn't feel right for us so I stopped. It was at that moment that I gave myself and my baby some much needed grace to simply accept our present situation for what it was without trying to change it.
A thought entered my mind around this time. If I lived 300 years ago and didn't have access to parenting books and sleep experts and all sorts of crap on the internet, what would I do?
The answer was simple. I would do what feels right for my baby and me. I would not be comparing myself to other moms in play group or second-guessing my gut. I would understand that all babies are different and that the hard stuff doesn't last forever. I would hunker down and get through this stage in the way that feels right for our family and stop worrying if our way looks different from other people's.
And so I changed my perspective on the whole thing. I put down the books and made a commitment to stop using the left side of my brain so much. My analytical thinking and constant questioning was only making me more anxious and less able to enjoy the time I spent with my babe.
Finally, I remembered this quote.
...and I'm not willing to give up my happy without a hard fight.
and so it is...
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