The Toddler Milestone I’m Dreading

It’s a Sunday afternoon, and I feel completely exhausted already. I spent the entire morning keeping my daughter occupied with some fun and enjoyable activities. We made cupcakes together, did a bit of painting in her new drawing book, and we also went out for a walk in the neighborhood park.

Now I am hoping that she will take a nap and allow me to get some rest as well. This is the time of the day where I can set aside some “me time” from an otherwise full-time job of being the mother of a toddler.

But it has barely been an hour since I put her to bed, and she is already up and ready to play. Again. I had finished with the laundry and some other chores and was planning to get some sleep. And yet, here we are. My little princess is at my door with a big smile across her face as she tells me, “Mommy, my nap is done!”

Of course, she looks adorable while she announces it. Yet I can’t help but feel a little sorry for myself, now that I can no longer get that Sunday afternoon nap that I was really looking forward to.

This is not a recent occurrence. For the last few months, my daughter has been slowly reducing her nap time, and now I feel that this will be the new routine soon enough. Maybe we have another five or six months before she completely stops taking naps.

And I am dreading this new stage.

My daughter has never been a great napper in the first place. She loves a good night’s sleep and prefers it to her daytime naps. The longest that she has been asleep during these afternoon naps is for two hours.

But at least I had those two hours to myself. And I was free to do what I wanted during that time.

I understand how lucky it is to have a child who sleeps for a good 10-12 hours during the night. And I love my little girl. It is a joy to be able to spend time with her and watch her grow up.

But it’s just that…I also love a good nap.

I recently discussed this with one of my mom friends who is going through the same struggle with her 3-year-old son. He is done with taking naps. She, on the other hand, is not. And every day, they have this back and forth where she tries to put him to bed in the afternoon, and he tries to resist it. Every day seems to be a fight. And guess who always wins? Well, not the mom.

Mothers of toddlers need those couple of hours. It doesn’t matter if we end up catching up on a drama series in that time, or ring up an old friend or finish some chores…we need that time.

So I have been trying to come up with a good enough plan to get my daughter to take a nap. And some of those ideas are pretty silly. But the thing is, I need to come to terms with the fact that nap time is probably not going to be around for a long time in this household. And there isn’t a lot that I can do to change that. My child is growing up, and I must say there are many wonderful aspects of that. She has been learning to do so many things all by herself. Most importantly, she can finally get on the potty on her own. I no longer need to lift her and help her get on her throne. She has also started getting dressed and changing clothes herself.

My little one is getting older and learning new things. And as much as I’m delighted, it also means that nap time must come to an end. Soon.

To prepare for that, I have been getting our children’s movie collection ready. Because if my daughter stops taking naps in the coming months, I will have to put her in front of a T.V. so that I can get those precious few hours to myself. And I won’t feel bad about that because I desperately need that time.

Of course, we will continue to bake, take walks and do some painting together. But I am not going to compromise on my me-time because my solitude is essential to help me maintain a calm mind — one where I get to focus on myself.

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