I was never going to be “that” mom. The mom that left parties, events, or social gatherings due to my child’s nap schedule.
Spoiler alert: I’m that mom.
Truth is, before children, I just didn’t know. I didn’t realize that no nap meant no sleep at night. No sleep at night meant no sleep for anyone. I just didn’t know that “winging it” wasn’t actually a thing babies tolerated and it meant more anxiety and stress on me. I just didn’t know how much my child would depend on me to dictate and facilitate a schedule. And that they craved that schedule and wanted it, almost as much as I did.
What I have learned is that one of the many sacrifices you make as a parent is the understanding that your schedule is no longer yours. My schedule revolves entirely around my children’s needs because they are currently at an age where they are entirely dependent on me.
Do I enjoy leaving parties, events, and play dates early? No. Do I feel embarrassed when I show up late? Of course. But parenting is not about me. It’s about the needs of my children.
When anyone tries to inflict any ounce of guilt about where and why we are going, my go-to response is always, “Would you rather listen to my children melt down for an hour or have us just leave in peace?” Because the truth is my children are happier and healthier kids when they sleep. They’ve always been huge nappers, sleeping 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. every day. Bedtime is a little more negotiable, ranging anywhere from 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Now I am not saying my kids never melt down, but truthfully when they sleep, their temperaments are totally wonderful. Due to the rigidity of our sleep schedule, I whole-heartedly believe I have avoided hundreds of tantrums. And when I start to see one of my kids reaching a breaking point, 9 times out of 10, it’s because they’re tired.
I am sure there are lots of kids out there that can get by with little sleep and still have a happy and easy-going temperament. However, it’s not a game I am willing to play.
New moms who feel the pressure and stress of staying somewhere because it might feel rude to leave…it’s ok. Your sanity and your children’s happiness is more important, and I encourage you to use my go-to line. You’ll be happy you did.