So the issue at hand in our family that seems to be directing everything is naps and bedtime with our youngest.
I vaguely remember having a similar issue with our oldest at age 2, but with her there was only one sleeper to worry about, so we could just let her scream until she realized she wasn’t going to win.
Here is the issue. Miss M would really rather not nap anymore. Yet, I believe she still needs to nap, and I know without a doubt her sister does.
This battle has been ongoing for months, and there have been days she hasn’t napped. On those days she is a mess by 6:00. We eat dinner at about 6:00. Makes for an interesting evening.
The day after non-napping days are horrible. Bedtime on non-napping days is horrible. Oh wait, bedtime is horrible all of the time. Nevermind.
I believe that my children need to have “quiet time” regardless of whether or not they sleep. BUT, Miss M will not be quiet. And it’s not just that she’s whispering or playing quietly. She will not BE quiet. She is so loud she will prevent my oldest from her much-needed sleep.
Here’s a typical day. Start naptime routine around 1. Get kids in bed by 1:30. Go potty a second time. Get upset because of blankets. Start singing/kicking/screaming/getting out of bed. FINALLY settling around 2:30, at which time mommy is ready to scream, yell, or cry. By the time she falls asleep at 3, I need to wake her in just an hour to prevent a bedtime disaster. She is cranky the rest of the evening because she didn’t get enough of a nap and is tired. NO MATTER HOW TIRED SHE IS, she starts the same thing again at bedtime.
Oh, and here’s the kicker – she rarely does this for Tim. She does sometimes, but usually only for me.
It’s a battle, or a power struggle.
All of the “experts” say not to make sleep time a power struggle. But what can I do? She needs her sleep, and her sister DESPERATELY needs her sleep. A couple of times I had one child screaming because I was telling her to be still and quiet and the other child sobbing because she couldn’t sleep.
But then, we will have four or five days in a row where it is all wonderful. And I will think I have overcome this battle.
But it will never end.
Now, I know some of my friends think I should just let her stop napping and go to bed at 6, because they have told me so. Here is why I can’t:
First, I work. I need that 2 hours in the afternoon to work. If she’s not going to nap, she has to play independently so I can work, and she’s 2, she can’t do that.
Second, we are not always home by 6 in the evening. Swimming lessons, church, and family responsibilities keep us out in the evenings. I want to be able to continue doing those things and not be tied down to my child’s sleep schedule.
Third, Miss N has to sleep. IF she doesn’t she is a winy, emotional mess. It is not fair for her to be put into that position because her little sister will not be quiet.
Fourth, if I can get her to be still and quiet for more than 10 minutes, she will fall asleep. The battle is to get her to do that. So that tells me she is tired and needs the rest.
Fifth, my husband gets home at 5:30 or 6. Daddy time is important, especially since he often works on Saturdays as well as every day during the week and Sundays are full of church. If my children do not nap we would have to start bedtime around 6, which would mean they would need to eat at 4:30. Which would mean cooking twice, no daddy time, no family meal. I’m not OK with that. Daddy time and family meals are important to me!
Sixth, I think in the summer when we are more active and outdoors, she is going to be more tired. I don’t want to give up yet and then have to try to “go back.”
It’s getting bad around here. I am to the point that I dread those nap times/bed times and rejoice when it is daddy’s turn. I don’t want to feel that way! I want bedtime/nap time to be a sweet memory for my children, not a huge battle! She won't watch TV, so a quiet movie while sister sleeps won't work. She won't do anything that is still and quiet, except puzzles which require help, for more than a few moments. She's 2.
I really don’t know what to do! I'm not really asking for advice, because I've been given lots and nothing is working. I guess I will just keep trucking and insisting she lay quiet at rest but I am emotionally exhausted from this and it is affecting my relationship with my precious girl. Ok, now I need to go have a good cry. Mommy life is hard!
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