I Can’t Stand My Kids When They Refuse to Nap

Most days, I wake up at the crack of dawn, make two lunches, get two kids ready for school, put the older one on the bus and then rush my 2-year-old 20 minutes across town in his stroller to the park for a playdate. The kids run around like crazy and I think to myself, “He’s getting so tired! He’ll be exhausted by the time we get home.” Two hours later, we trek back home, have a quick lunch (most of which ends up in the trash because my son is currently refusing all foods that do not have the word “Bunny” somewhere on the label). And then, I try to put him down for a nap.

“Try” being the operative word.

He’ll sit there happily for Dr. Seuss, he’ll sip his milk, he’ll even yawn … but when I attempt to lay him down in his crib the apocalypse begins. Instantly the tears fly (and I mean fly) from his eyes as he screams bloody murder. I’ll often sing him a song or two while he claws at my face and neck, but somehow it just doesn’t seem to be soothing for either one of us.

On good days, when I’m well rested and my patience is at a saintly caliber, I will wait it out, singing and rubbing and shushing and rocking him for as long as it takes until his body is limp in my arms. Other times, I’ll try to say night-night and walk away, leaving him there to shriek at the top of his lungs, calling my name. It sounds heartless, but I know–I know!!!–he is tired and if he could just give into it he would be asleep in five minutes.

That’s the most frustrating part. “You are tired!” I want to scream. “Go the f*ck to sleep!” But he won’t. Days like this I wonder if he hates me. I stand outside the door listening to him wail and my blood starts to boil. How dare he be so selfish! How dare he not go to sleep! But I take a deep breath and come back into the room, grunting out another song, shush-sighing with exasperation, and then try to leave again. This cycle can go on for about 45 minutes until finally I just scream and yank him out of his crib and say, “Fine! You don’t want to take a nap? Fine,” because I am so mad that my son has robbed me of my Me Time. But then he starts crying all over again because even though now he’s out of his crib, he’s scared because I yelled at him.

It is at exactly this moment that I start to feel horrible. I am the worst mom ever. I yelled at my son, all because he was lonely and wanted some company. What kind of mother does that? Feeling defeated, I dump the Duplo out across the living room floor and attempt to make amends by building the tallest tower with the biggest bridge imaginable. Within minutes my son has forgotten all about the failed nap and his mother’s outburst. He’s happy as a clam, but I still feel like crap, and here’s why:

a.) I am a bad mom for yelling at a cute kid whom I love dearly.

b.) I still don’t have my goddamn Me Time!

We moms depend on that sacred moment in our day when we can shed the Mom cape and just be. It’s not always glamorous (in fact, it rarely is), but it is an hour or two (if you get three, I hate you!) when we can regroup after a harrowing diaper-change or epic meltdown. We moms need that nap because we have sh*t to do. Fold laundry, do dishes, clean messes. Maybe check e-mail, poop in private, or make long overdue phone calls. Seriously, even if all I want to do is sit in a dark room and stare at a wall, I damn well deserve it.

So, yeah, even though I love my kids wholeheartedly and I would do anything for them to ensure their happiness and wellbeing, I’m calling it: Kids that refuse their naps are dicks. Plain and simple.

More Mom Confessions:

Photo: Getty