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The Power of a Nap

People ask me how I have not only survived but thrived while mothering 15 children.

First of all, I tell them I couldn’t do anything without the Lord. If it weren’t for Him I would be such a dark, horrific mess, but He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own…

Then there are all sorts of other things that have helped me; a husband who is totally on board and balances me out, the gorgeous marvelous amazing children themselves (of course), homeschooling, and, well, NAPS!

the power of a nap

Yes, folks, you heard it here; the secret ingredient that has helped me so, so much.

A wise nurse told me (after the birth of my third child in three years) that I was not supposed to use the time my children napped to catch up on housework, so I didn’t! It was a real step of faith, since there always seemed to be so much to do, but taking a rest every afternoon has done so much for me as a wife, mother, and a healthy person. It’s actually been a boon to our whole family.

Here are some reasons why:

  • Napping has helped make up for those late-night/early-morning interruptions to my sleep (nursing babies, nightmares, etc.)
  • Napping has helped me to be a more chipper, cheerful person when my husband returns home from work.
  • Napping has given me time to spend with the Lord during those years when I was nursing babies and early morning devotions were next to impossible.
  • Napping helped the children, who grew up in a noisy house, have a little quiet “space” in their lives.

As the children grew older they didn’t always need a nap, but they learned to do something like reading or art, or even taking a long walk, during our quiet time every afternoon.

You can start having quiet time each day, too, if you are willing to do a little bit of training with your children. You can do this by:

  • Making sure your children are tired enough by giving them plenty of wiggle time in the mornings (outside time is best for this).
  • Making sure they are well fed, have had adequate water, and have been changed/gone potty beforehand.
  • Making sure that you start with only a little bit of time at first, say, 15 minutes, and then add time slowly until you work up to an hour.
  • Making sure you have some set rules about this time (such as the child must stay in his/her room, on his/her bed, can only read/draw/play Legos, etc.).
  • Making sure you are consistent with the time of day and the time spent.

You may have to sit outside the bedrooms at first and check often to make sure they are actually compliant. This will put it in their minds that you will be available to catch them if they sneak out or otherwise encroach on the rules.

Our family is so used to this routine that they actually miss it if we get off track, which happens more now that we have so many on such different schedules. The little ones still need this (and so do I), so it continues to be a fixed part of our lives.

There is a story I heard once about a doctor who was spry and still working at a very advanced age. When someone asked what his secret was he claimed it was an afternoon nap; he said that taking even just a half-hour of shut eye on a couch in his office turned every one day into two.

This is what it has done for me, and it can do it for you, too!

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A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

5 Comment

  1. Yes, naps make such a difference! It has been a challenge to get my 5 month old to nap at the same time as my two year old, because my 5 month old takes a morning and late afternoon nap and my two year old takes a nap right in the middle. Thankfully I just started to get their naps to overlap for an hour! But here’s my problem…. I turn the TV on for my 4 and 5 year old for the hour ( I pick the show on netflix and know what their watching). I guess I should bite the bullet and train them to entertain themselves quietly instead.

    1. In my experience television use backfires in other ways, so it’s probably a good idea to train the 5yo. Sorry, I know it’s extra work at the beginning, but it will pay great dividends in the end! (I understand about the correction–I do that, too!).

  2. YES! Naps have made all the difference for me in rearing my 5 children! My husband actually told me it was my spiritual duty to make sure I got a nap each day since he could tell it made such a difference in my attitude through the evening hours. 🙂 Even though my youngest is 5 and doesn’t nap anymore, we still continue the afternoon quiet time tradition and we’re all happier for it.

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