Long Live The Nap!


Parenting doesn’t come with a manual.

When I’ve tried to describe parenting to people without kids, I often use the example of a scientist. Each kid, at each different stage of their life, is almost like coming up with a hypothesis and trying to either prove or disprove said theory. Everyday you suit up in your lab coat (yoga pants), you have your Bunsen burners (microwave) and your beakers (bottles of formula) and you keep meticulous notes (post-it’s piled on the refrigerator door) as to your findings.

Dropping my three year old’s nap this summer was a bad idea. It was a hypothesis that has been completely disproved by my toddlers personality late in the day. It is entirely my fault and I will take one for the team on this.

He was not ready.

He is not ready.

But the problem with kids, unlike scientific data, is that they are human beings. You can only manipulate kids so far, while scientific findings can be skewed to the left or the right. And this ain’t G.I. Jane. We can’t “un-ring” that bell. I will never be able to get nap time back now that he has seen the no-nap world.

When we started planning for the Summer, we decided to send both of our older kids to the same day camp. The 9-year-old loves this camp and it just seemed like the logical and proximate choice for his little brother as well.

Only problem, camp ends at 3:45, which is 45 minutes after my toddler would usually start his nap.

“No problem”, I said. “He can handle it”, I said.

Silly mommy, naps are for three year olds.

He’s now a month into camp, and although he loves being a big boy and all his new friends, he comes home from his day cranky and exhausted. Trying to get him to lay down and relax at four in the afternoon is pointless and futile. He won’t do it. A couple of times he’s passed out on the ride home, but I can count those instances on one hand. And when he has fallen asleep in the car he has only once stayed asleep when I brought him into the house.

In so many words…I’m fucked.

The afternoon nap was a win/win situation for everyone involved. The toddler got much-needed rest, and woke up ready to wreak havoc on the rest of us with a smile on his face. I had 2 much-needed hours of time without him. I was able to accomplish so much in the afternoon. I will look back on the time of nap as a peaceful time, before I marred the kingdom with my foolish dreams where I wasn’t a captive in my own home from 3 to 5PM.

All I can do now is pass on the wisdom of my idiocy to you. Please, please, please, for the love of all things holy, hear my cry (actually, at this point it’s more of a sob mixed with a wail followed by a gulp of wine).

If you are still blessed enough to have a napping child, hold onto this time with a fierce grip. Heed the words of Jack from the Titanic and “don’t let go”. Screw Frozen, and do not “let it go”. I’m telling you this because I don’t want anyone to go through the evenings of crying and whining and complete exhaustion I’m going through right now. I’m telling you this because no sane person should have to deal with a three year old attached to your leg, crying, “DADDY!!!! DAAAAADDDYYY!! I WANT DAAAAADDDDY!!!” over and over again for 45 minutes as you try to roast a chicken and your husband is running late.

I’m telling you this as a public service. Learn from my mistake: Long live the nap!

About the writer


Amy grew up in the suburbs of Long Island singing Barbara Streisand hits into her hairbrush.  When she's not writing her hilarity fueled parenting memoir as The Outnumbered Mother, she's a Florida living, butt wiping, soccer team carting, gourmet chef attempting, tennis skirt wearing, non-tennis playing, self-proclaimed bad mamma jamma to 3 sons and a very understanding husband.  Find her on her blog, The Outnumbered Mother, on Facebook and Twitter.


Nicole Slaughter 1 year ago

i’m a babysitter. so when a woman came in and brought her 18 month old for me to care for, i asked her when i needed to lay him down for a nap (because i didn’t want to put him down to late for fear of ruining bedtime)…and she said “oh, he don’t take naps”. WHAT??? in my house…he WILL take a nap, they all do!!! who keeps an 18 month old child up for 16 hours straight? and if you do… i only have one question. WHY?

Kathea 1 year ago

I’m 31 and still nap. And my 8month old does too. Gonna run that as long as humanly possible. Sunday afternoon naps were/are a big thing in my family. Everyone laid down. You didn’t always sleep but you did lay down. We called it warm rock time. Like our cats who tried to find a warm rock to curl up on, so did we.

April Sumner 1 year ago

my twins dropped their naps at 2 and a half because they learned to climb out of the cribs and they have to share a room. They were not ready to not nap. Oh they needed it alright but when you have two little boys in the same room together they just kept playing and waking each other up by jumping into each others bed over and over. I had no way to separate them. So we just powered through it and if I needed them to sleep I went for a drive and they fell asleep in the car. They were holy terrors the entire later part of the day and we put them to bed early like 7 or 6:30 but eventually by about 4 they were back to normal and not needing it anymore.

Christina Vessells Baldridge 1 year ago

I will force rest times until he goes to school! What was this mommy thinking?! 😉 She’s braver than I.

Eric Cox 1 year ago

I like naps. I think I will take one.

Denise Howe 1 year ago

We rarely skip the naps, only if we are looking to screw up our sanity which is hanging on by a thread. My 7 year old is taking a summer time power nap so he can stay up later, the 4 year old could drop but night time would still be difficult for this kid. The 3 year def needs it or he will lose it for hours. We love naps! When I meet a new mom of a 1 yr old that says he doesn’t nap, I look at her with alarm and suggest she recheck that idea!

Jennifer Gaffney 1 year ago

My 4 year old has not napped for about a year. My 3 year old still naps most of the time. The rule is you do not have to sleep but they both go to their own room for 2 hours and have quiet time. Everyone needs a break from each other. Especially mom. :)

Michele Feiler Goldberg 1 year ago

My girls both napped til age 4.5 and my son still naps at 3.5. They need them and we need them!!

Eileen Pierce Steuer 1 year ago

Loved this article

    The Outnumbered Mother 1 year ago

    Thank you!

Josephine Widener 1 year ago

Wow. This FB page SO frequently stresses the importance of “cage free” and “organic” food substances, and then writes about FORMULA?! Talk about a double standard.

    The Outnumbered Mother 1 year ago

    Really? I wrote this piece…

Ainsley Casier 1 year ago

Actually, I would give up nap if my kid would sleep more than 8-9 hours per night.

Ainsley Casier 1 year ago

I have a 2.5 year old and a 4 month old. I LIVE for nap time. It’s the only way we all make it through the day alive sometimes. Nap will continue to be part of our routine as long as I can push it. The eldest missed his nap yesterday and our evening was wretched, followed by a night of night terrors and screaming wake ups. :(

Diane Burke Ptacin 1 year ago

My kids are 7 and soon 5&5 and still go to their rooms for quiet time. The twins do still sleep about half the time.

Andrea Rigby Kessler 1 year ago

I do not know of this “nap” you speak of, my 3yo gave them up on her own at about 15 months! Yeah, was really painful. The upside, she sleeps 12-15 hours a night 😉

Stacie Myers 1 year ago

My son pretty much stopped napping by the time he was 2. It sucked!


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