Even if it’s only for five minutes, falling asleep in the car is guaranteed to ruin your child’s regular nap
It’s a familiar scene to any parent. After a few hours of errands, you’re driving home, practically salivating at the thought of your child’s upcoming nap so you can finally get a little break. As you coast down the highway however, you peer into the rear-view mirror and catch a horrifying sight — your child, falling asleep. You know what this means; even if it’s only a few minutes of dozing, you’re now totally screwed. No nap for them. And no break for you.
Parents will do anything to prevent car sleep if it means it will fuck up the nap schedule. It’s one thing if you’re on a long trip, where your child falling asleep is basically all you want. But on a 10-minute drive home from Target during which you’re eagerly anticipating two hours of peace and quiet? WAKE UP, BABY! MOMMY KNOWS THE WHOLE “GREASE” SOUNDTRACK!
It’s really quite comical the lengths a parent will go to keep a dozing kid awake in the car. Opening windows, blasting music, spraying them with water (No? Just me?) tossing Goldfish crackers at their sweet little faces — nothing is off-limits. When my kids were babies and toddlers, I would talk in a very shrill voice to get their attention and swipe the pacifiers from their cherubic little faces. This is war. All is fair.
Can we be real for a second, though? What is it about these mini-naps that makes your child feel no need to take a real one? Why does falling asleep for a few minutes equal total derailment of that precious block of Me Time later on? Is this just the universe messing with parents, testing how much we really do love our children and trusting that we won’t lose our shit by 6:00 pm after dealing with a toddler all day who’s only slept a total of seven minutes since dawn?
On the other hand, if they do fall asleep in the car and you’re in no hurry to get home, you could pull over somewhere and let them snooze. Sitting in your car with music playing while you mess around on your phone is not a bad way to get a break. And if you know that 5-minute power nap in the car is going to destroy any real chance if them taking a nap at home, you may as well take what you can get. Go to a Starbucks drive-thru, grab your frappe mocha whatever, and have a moment to yourself. God knows you’ve earned it.
Check out this hilarious video from Bunmi Laditan, the mom behind Honest Toddler that perfectly illustrates the car nap struggle.