My son turned four a few months ago, and he no longer naps. It’s been an on-again-off-again thing for six months now, but only recently we’ve hit the Real Deal. He’s done; daytime sleep is over for him as a regular part of life.
This reality been one of the hardest milestones in my mothering life so far. Man, I loved the daily break from kids in my day that naptime reliably provided. I depended on it in more ways than I even realized over the past four years.
My son still takes an afternoon rest time, of course, about 75 minutes long. But these rest times are shorter than naps were and don’t always go down as peaceably as nap times unquestionably did. And even when they do, it requires some thought from me. I have to consider how best to handle non-sleep rest times with my son, especially since we have an independent playtime already in our schedule. Bottom line: the times they are a-changin’, and there’s no going back. Often I’ve had to fight a spirit of resentment and annoyance as the naps showed themselves to be evaporating for good…. at my son, at my life, at the New Us. I didn’t want to give up that part of the Old Us one bit.
I’ve had to repent, put off that attitude, and pray Christ’s help in putting on a new spirit, one of acceptance and enthusiasm and readiness for the new seasons we’re now in. Because “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Eccles 3:1) – and that truth isn’t any more pervasive than in childrearing. Hundreds of seasons of every type will come and go in our kids’ lives by the time they leave our homes.
Changing seasons in our children’s lives translates, in part, to my willingness to die to myself, my customs, the comforts I build into my day-to-day life. As my kids grow they’ll just keep changing and changing – and my job is to assist, facilitate, nurture through. To be faithful to the call, I must not only accept them but even anticipate them. I need to be joyfully preparing the next step. Consider, pray, think, research. So in the case of no-more-naps: Do we want to start doing audio books on CD like Elise (of A Path Made Straight) does for part of her sons’ rest times? Should we start a quiet independent reading time for my son and me to do together during part of our rest time? Should we consider phasing out morning room time for non-nappers in the household? These are questions that need answering.
And what of all the other pending arenas of change in the life of our family- of schooling and chores and allowance? How will we handle these seasons as they arrive? The questions will keep on coming with each year, getting broader and eventually spanning more kids and more years. This era of my life, I’m realizing, is one in which I need to be prayerful, attentive, intentional about these issues… Not one to have an annoyed, reactive (or worse, procrastinating), self-focused spirit. We have a God who knows the members of our families – our styles, needs, and interests – better than anyone and is eager to supply wisdom and direction as we seek Him for guidance in these things, season by season. Not to mention provide us with joy and enthusiasm in the process! And to boot, who will usher in beautiful new things as different seasons approach. Relief to this mama!