I love being a mom. Seeing my two squishy tiny babies grow into smart and spunky toddlers is amazing — I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But I also love nap time. I mean, I really love nap time. So much so that I have decided to classify my style of parenting as “Nap Time Parenting”. What is Nap Time Parenting you ask? It is planning activities and outings and playdates with an ulterior motive; not how will this enrich my child but how will this tire my child out. The goal of Nap Time Parenting is Epic Nap Time – in my house this looks like a 3 hour long nap. This doesn’t happen often, but it has happened. And that’s enough motivation for me. Don’t get me wrong – my kids are great, but mama needs a break.
Nap Time Parenting has a few benefits.
First, you mostly just look like a really good mom. This doesn’t mean you feel like a good mom or have any idea what you are doing – but from the outside you look like a rock star.
Second, you learn about cool stuff going on in your community. The zoo, the children’s museum, gymnastics, story times, ECFE classes – Duluth is chock full of stuff to do.
Third, you figure out how to have fun on a budget. Once you find a place that you and your kids really enjoy, it often makes financial sense to buy a membership. For me having a membership also makes me more likely to go for a short time. Sometimes an hour running around the zoo is just what we need – and I don’t feel guilty for spending money on admission. Some area attractions have discount days which are great ways to check them out and see what both you and your kids like. Free is even better! Now that the weather is finally nice, going to parks or the beach are good options. The library has free programs as well.
And finally, you are enriching your child. Helping to expand their world and build their brain. Who doesn’t want to raise a smart kid?
Playdates are my favorite because they usually tire my kids out the most – and I get to hang out with my girlfriends! The conversation is frequently interrupted, but it’s easier to attempt an adult conversation at someone’s house as opposed to at a playdate in public. Why is it that little kids are just looking for ways to get hurt when you are trying to talk to your mom bestie about something non-kid related?
Nap Time Parenting also works on those days when you just don’t feel like packing everyone up into the car to get out of the house. It’s just about coming up with different ways to do the things we do anyway. Pinterest helps with ideas. For us, if it makes a mess – it works. Neatly painting at the table inside: boring. Setting up a roll of paper on the deck with lots of paint: fun. Doing this in just diapers: we’re on our way to epic nap time.
The down side to Nap Time Parenting is that I can be pretty rigid with my schedule. I protect those hours between 12-2 like my life depends on it (and some days it feels like it does). Before I had kids I swore I wouldn’t be one of those annoying moms who was crazy about keeping a schedule – but here I am and I am proud of it! I tell myself it’s ok because I am pretty easy going in most other areas of my life; but don’t mess with nap time or bedtime.
So you may be wondering what I do with all of this “free time”? A lot of the time I do the boring stuff that I can’t get done with twin toddlers “helping” me. As much as they insist on trying, they are not great at folding laundry. They also don’t understand the concept of loading the dishwasher and pride themselves on removing the dirty dishes and placing them in fun spots for me to find throughout the day. Some days I really indulge and take a long shower where I wash my hair AND shave my legs! I’ve learned that it’s not really about what I do, it’s about appreciating a few minutes alone. I used to have hobbies before kids (I think? It’s hard to remember…); maybe I will start painting again! Or I could read a book! And on the rough days when motherhood is hard, I watch some Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix – or *gasp* I take a quick nap myself.
Don’t get me wrong, we still have those days where the girls fight nap time. And we have the days where nap time is just too short. But on those glorious days when it’s been over 2 hours and everyone is still sleeping hard, I tip toe into the kitchen, make some coffee, and reset my mom button. Because well-rested twins require as much energy as over-tired ones.