Some days I hope and pray Jemma, my 1 year old, will take a nap by herself in her crib, even if just for an hour. Although I wouldn’t trade being a stay-at-home-mama for anything, a few moments peace to read, write, or prepare dinner in silence would be welcome. For months I fought this: the nap battle. Walking, rocking, singing, bouncing, anything to lull her into a deep enough sleep that she might survive the transfer from my arms to her crib without waking.
Some days it worked. Most, it didn’t. And then, one day this Fall everything clicked.
We were rocking in the same wood rocking chair my mom rocked me in 25 years ago. I had just finished singing “You Are My Sunshine” and I heard the deep sigh of peaceful sleep come from Jemma as she nuzzled closer into my shoulder. Normally, this is when I’d attempt the transfer. Instead, I held her longer: smelling her hair, rubbing her back, and feeling thankful to have her as my girl. I rose from the rocking chair, placed her in our family bed, and snuggled in beside her. She napped. I napped. We woke up together with smiles. It was lovely!
I was also unproductive for those 2 hours of rest, but it made me feel more whole and more at peace with motherhood. That day, I didn’t have time to read, or write, or prepare a fancy dinner. But it was a good day and Jemma and I were both happier because of our nap together.
Since that day I haven’t attempted the crib transfer. It isn’t worth the fight and worry. No amount of housework can replace the brief pause we take each day to snuggle in bed and rest. Sometimes I nap with her, other times I pull out my laptop and work on projects. Either way, I am right beside her when she falls asleep and when she wakes up. She sleeps more soundly and doesn’t wake with tears like she used to during crib naps. In our home, the nap battles are over and Jemma and I are both victors, because we worked out a new, better plan for naps together.
Gentle parenting isn’t easy.
It’s time consuming and selfless.
It’s messy and rewarding.
Gentle parenting is making me a better mama.