The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.
Laura: Welcome to another episode of Risen Motherhood. This is another show where Emily and I are together. Today, we’re talking about how you can use naptime well as a mom. Emily, what are some of the things that you’ve done during naptime and how has that changed for you over time as a mom?
Emily: I have four kids and my oldest son doesn’t nap anymore. He does have a rest time where he plays quietly but it’s not the same. I truly don’t have any more of a period of the day when my kids are awake where I am away from my children, and nobody’s talking to me for 10 or 15 minutes or longer. That’s really changed.
Luckily, my twin toddlers, still take anywhere from one to two hours worth of naps in the afternoon. And then we have our infant that isn’t napping right now, but does take pretty good naps - yet sometimes those stink. Right now for me, I would say I don’t count on naptime anymore as my Holy Grail.
Laura: How do you recoup and reenergize for the rest of the day?
Emily: I had to figure out how to build some of that self-care rest time throughout my day. I still have an hour where my oldest son is playing and needs my attention but my other kids are sleeping. It’s become a time for me to do some house-related things and more work-type stuff. I’ve had to get to where I utilize that practically more so than for my rest. I don’t know if that makes sense.
Laura: What was it like for you when you did have naptime?
Emily: Back when I did have naptime-
Laura: It wasn’t that long ago. She talks like it was eons ago. [laughter]
Emily: I know, and it does feel like eons ago. I remember, I had these visions of when I used to do sewing projects. I used to bake for people and make meals. [laughter] I used to have quiet times during that time.
Laura: How many hours a day did you have when you had one kid?
Emily: Three to four hours probably.
Laura: That was a lot of time. I feel like when you have one kid, even if they are not super scheduled, you can predict when you are going to get that time. When you’re a first time mom and you have one kid, you can count on three hours a day, sometimes up to six if you have a huge sleeper.
Emily: It varies. I know for a while, I got into a good groove during naptime where I would spend the first 15 to 20 minutes cleaning up the house, because then I felt like I could rest. Then I would spend the rest of the period of time doing things that I enjoyed doing, whether it was writing or researching something or maybe I was responding to emails. It was more sitting down, because a lot of time as a mom you’re like, “I have been walking all day long.” I still try to do some restful things but I don’t count on that anymore.
Laura: I remember one mom who had four kids said to me once - her kids were all in elementary. I had started writing more on my blog. It’s not when I started my blog when I had my son, but I started writing a lot more frequently and having more time for it. I remember she said, “You are in a sweet spot to start a new hobby as a first time mom. She was like, “Wait until you have more children. It will be a lot more difficult.” I’m on baby number two but I already know she’s right. It gets more difficult the more children that you add.
Emily: It changes.
Laura: It definitely changes as your children get older. It’s always ever evolving as they say.
Emily: There’s pros and cons to every season.
Laura: True. I loved it when my kids dropped their morning naps.
Emily: Yes, because you can do more.
Laura: I felt like I could finally go to a playdate and not stress out about where I’m going to set up a Pack ‘n Play or if it’s going to be quiet enough, getting all that figured out. Especially on baby two, I kicked that first nap to the curb as fast as possible to try to get my daughter to have one nap in the afternoon.
Emily: You have a different situation than I do. Explain how much time you feel you get on an average day and what stuff you’re able to get done during that time.
Laura: I have two kids. One is three years old and the other just turned one. They both take afternoon naps. Now, I would say I can count on at least two hours for sure and sometimes up to three. Sometimes. I don’t want to make everyone mad at me - I know they can take long naps; I’m not even going to get in there.
Emily: The Lord has blessed Laura with children that nap, but we all have challenges and things that are easier and things that are harder. We don’t want to get into comparing mode.
Laura: Let’s not get mad at me. [laughter] Don’t throw your phone at my picture or anything like that. My kids take very good naps and there are days here and there where they certainly will skip it altogether. It’s not like that’s unheard of. My daughter had colic and didn’t sleep for five months, so bring it on if we’re going to go there. [laughter] I paid for it in spades and I was up all the time.
Naps can look different. Emily and I were chatting and we realized, especially when you’re a first time mom, there’s an adjustment period of, “What do I do with myself?” Once you finally get your kids on a routine and you’re like, “Generally, I know that I have these hours here and there,” and have figure out how to not run to the TV. What are you going to do during that time to be intentional but also to rest and to recuperate? Because as moms, we need space away from our children, whether that’s quiet playtime or a true naptime.
Emily: As you’re adjusting to being a first time mom and the first time naps, maybe you are trying to figure out how to build part-time work into your day or you’re trying to figure out how to exercise. I don’t even know all the things but maybe you’re only home with your child a couple days a week or whatever your situation looks like. It can be hard because that feels really valuable and it’s like gold. Those minutes tick by so fast and all the other minutes? It’s like the clock is frozen.
Laura: It’s like you literally woke up and it’s 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. and you’re like, “When’s naptime?” I know we all look forward to that time and often can hold onto it with a clenched fist. I definitely think there is a lot of, like we said, a learning curve in how to use naptime. Sometimes - even me today - I find that often it can be really difficult for me to know how to use that time if I’m not being intentional or planning ahead, or really striving to be purposeful during naptime. You think three hours is a long time but I can burn though that real fast just watching TV. Then I’m like, “What? I only got five seconds of naptime!”
Emily: I think the main thing we wanted to talk about, in terms of naptime or anything with our time is that it all goes back to our hearts. Moms can do a lot of different things with this time. Like Laura said, we can sleep and that can be a totally legitimate thing.
Laura: It could be the most holy thing you can do.
Emily: Or it can be a bad choice. It’s difficult for us to come in and say, “This is the best way to spend your naptime.” We cannot explain that to you and we can’t define that for you, but we can say, all of us need to look at the time that we are given, look at the things that the Lord has asked us to do and look at our heart and say, “Are we living for God’s glory? Are we desiring to love our family well?” and that may look a lot of different ways.
Laura: Sometimes you need to take that time to rest so that you can have more energy and pour out. Don’t hear us say that you must be so industrious and baking homemade bread during naptime and that is a gold star for a naptime. Naptime can look like rest and it can look like getting things done for your family. It can also be doing paperwork. We’re not here to tell you what it is but we want to talk today about heart attitudes, as Emily said, “How can I use the time that I have in the best way to love others?”
Emily: What we’re talking about is that sometimes, and I joked eariler, “This is the Holy Grail,” we’re talking about naptime as gold. We can talk about our time to ourselves as moms and can put it on such a high pedestal we idolize it. We’re like, “This is what I need. If I don’t get it, I am going to throw an adult temper tantrum and I am going to be whiny and pouty and I’m going to punish my kids in a variety of different ways because they didn’t fit into my plan for the day, and give me my time.”
Another thing we can do is sacrifice too much on the idol of trying to get things a certain way. Maybe our child is sick or maybe they are going through a funk or they’re going through a transition. We don’t have enough grace for them because we want them to go to sleep and leave us alone, when maybe you need to lay down with them for a while, for a few weeks as they’re going through a transition. Or maybe you have a child that’s a little bit needy of your attention that you need to give up some of that time. When we make our alone time an ultimate thing, is that a good thing? That cannot be our main source of hope for the day because we’re going to be disappointed.
Laura: You’re misplacing where your hope should be found. Where that hope should be found is in your identity in Christ. If you look at what Jesus did, He gave His entire life to doing God’s will even when He didn’t want to do it. He said, “If it’s possible, take this cup of suffering from me,” and God said, “No, you are still going through this,” and Jesus did that willingly.
Emily: He was obedient to the point of death.
Laura: When we're like, “It’s so hard because I only got an hour today,” and we’re letting that time take over the way that we love our children; the way that our attitudes go. We need to be looking at Christ’s example in that - because He first gave us grace and because He laid it all down, we can do that for our children. How much more has God done for you than whenever you sacrificed your time and your priorities for your children and their needs? We want to reflect Jesus to our children and be Christ to them.
The biggest thing as a first time mom that I had to learn was that naptime is not a right. I really used to look at it like, “No, this is my time and I need that time.” If I didn’t get that, when my husband came home, you better believe I was on terror mode. [laughter] I was like, “I need a break! I’m going to get out of here.” It’s so funny to me, to look back at that time now because often, that will happen where I won’t get a naptime because the kids won’t overlap and whatever may happen and how your perspective does shift.
Also, I’ve learned and have grown in an understanding of how my day goes cannot be based on how my attitude goes. As moms, our day is always going to go differently than we planned. We’re never going to measure up to what we view as the right thing to do or the right way it should look. We cannot allow our attitudes or our actions with our children, to depend on if we got naptime or not.
Emily: One of the issues with making naptime too important is - here’s a big myth - that you think it’s going to be enough for you. It’s never going to be enough. Here’s the funny thing. Even when my kids’ naps all sync and even when my oldest child plays really quietly and even when I get a really long period of time, it’s still not enough. I still don’t ever feel like, “I got all the things I needed to get done and all is perfect,” It’s like this little bait saying, “If you just get this, if you get this time to yourself then you’re going to be okay.” I will tell you that nothing is going to fulfill you except for Jesus. The only thing that is going to quench that thirst for you, is being in God’s presence and being connected to Jesus and relying on Him and having your hope in Him. No amount of time to yourself and rest is ever going to fulfill you.
Laura: Maybe you’re a mom who has a lot of time right now or maybe you’re a mom like Emily where you have zero time, [laughter] there are two ways to look at naptime that we will go through quickly here. If you have a lot of time here, maybe you’re in my boat, where you have to be purposeful with that time or you can quickly lose it, the thing to look at here is that it’s such a gift to have this season of having true built-in blocks of time of self-care. If you’re looking for self-care, check out that episode.
We also want to encourage you once again to remember to prioritize your quiet time; your time with the Lord. If you’re not able to get that in the morning or whenever that may be, that naptime is a great time to do that. There’s a couple of more episodes too but the quiet time episode was great. Listen in if you’re looking for tips on that.
Emily: What is your time worth? Remember that?
Laura: That’s a good one too.
Emily: That’s an episode of looking at your time and figuring out if you’re trying to fit too much in.
Laura: A hobby, a ministry, different things like that.
Emily: If you have that time to be really intentional and say, “How can I best use the time that I have to glorify God and conserve, and love my family well and to let that look differently?” Maybe that’s going to determine how you use naptime. On the other side of that spectrum would be if you don’t have a ton of naptime.
Laura: Which I’ll let Emily speak to you since that’s where she is. [laughter]
Emily: I think again, it’s that letting go. I will tell you, that was a really hard process for me. I feel like I’m finally on the other side of that but finding other ways and letting rest and self-care be a lot broader than naptime. And giving yourself built-in times each day, or each season and honestly being more dependent on God. That is one reason why I think I wake up earlier now because I have to. [laughs] If I want to have that time with the Lord and I want to do some of that self-care, I can’t always do that during a naptime anymore.
It’s being thoughtful and practical or maybe having your oldest child going off into another room or play by you, whatever you want to do and say to them, “You need to play with toys and you need to learn how to entertain yourself because mommy needs to read her Bible,” or, “Mommy needs to unload the dishwasher without you crawling in it. You need to sit here," and whatever it is. There’s other things you can do even if you have a child that you feel is not a good napper. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have any self-care or you don’t have any rest.
Laura: Yes, I think not having that, “Woe is me,” mentality. Look at it the way Emily is, of building it in other ways and remembering that this is going to change and morph as quickly as your children do and not getting too upset because again, that is going back to our heart attitudes. Whatever you are spending that time on, if you have it, if you don’t, and however you are spending it is important.
Again, we are not saying if you are watching TV during that time, “That’s the wrong thing to do,” because that can be a genuine form of self-care. We are encouraging you today to look at your heart attitude during that time, how little or how much you get, and to be honest and evaluate with what you are placing value and hope on. Is it in your naptime, in yourself and in what you want and how you want to spend that time? Or is it in Jesus Christ and what He did for you? In the way He has been so faithful to you over time and He continues to be faithful to you throughout the day, no matter what happens.
Emily: Who do you think is in control of your life, ourselves or Jesus?
With that, we will leave you guys. You may have been listening to this during naptime, we don’t know. [laughter]
Laura: That’s a really good way to use it, let’s just say. [laughter]
Emily: Yes, I know Laura and I both love listening to podcasts during naptimes. You can find our whole archive, I know we mentioned several episodes, on our website risenmotherhood.com. We’ll also have show notes with the links to some of those things that we mentioned along with some other articles that may be pertinent to this topic. Find us and leave us a review or rating on iTunes if you have a chance. That helps other moms find us and definitely share this if you have a friend you may be talking with about this topic, share this episode. Thanks for listening guys.