Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

The Mathematics of Mothering a 10 Month Old

This was originally published by Thought Catalog on August 28, 2012.

It’s 6:40 right now and I would love nothing more than a half hour of peace and quiet to drink my coffee, check my email, and look at pictures of old high school friends’ babies on Facebook. But if I let Jackson sleep past 7, I probably won’t be able to get him down for his morning nap by 9, and if I don’t get him down by 9, he probably won’t nap at all before his babysitter comes at 10. If he doesn’t nap this morning, he will fall asleep on his babysitter’s watch, probably around 12:30, right before she brings him back home from story time at the library.

If he falls asleep on her watch, he’ll wake up when she drops him off at 1, and I know him — he won’t go right back to sleep after she leaves. He’ll be all, “Whatever, Mom, I slept from 12:30 to 1 and that’s enough,” even though it is definitely, absolutely, for sure not enough. He needs more sleep than a measly half-hour catnap in his stroller, and besides, I’ll still have to eat lunch and finish my work. I need him to sleep from 1:30 to 3:30 so I can get everything done and he can get sufficient rest and not try pull out all the hair on the right side of my head in a fit of sleep-deprived madness. Hell, I’ll even take 1:30 to 3. I’ll even take 1:30 to 2:30. But he has to have at least an hour nap in the afternoon. And an hour in the morning, or we’re both gonna be insane — and bald — by 5 pm.

Fuck, it’s 6:45 now. If I don’t wake him up, he’s gonna to sleep until 7:30. And he can’t sleep until 7:30. If he does, the whole rest of the day will be fucked. He won’t get his morning nap, he’ll fall asleep for 20 minutes with his babysitter and then wake up when she leaves and then stay awake the whole rest of the afternoon because “he already got his nap.” Then, at 4:30 he’ll be ready to crash but it will be too damn late for a nap if I want to put him to bed by 7:30 (and I have to put him to bed by 7:30 so he’ll wake up by 7 the next morning; Also, I DVR Jeopardy at 7 so I can watch it at 7:30 with my dinner on my lap, fast-forwarding through all the commercials. That way, it’s over by 7:52 and I have just enough time to change into my yoga pants from Target and take out my contacts and get comfortable before the “The Bachelor” starts at 8). So even if he’s tired at 4:30 because he only got a 20-minute stroller nap at noon, I’ll have to keep him awake despite him being cranky and whiny and not wanting to do any of the activities that usually amuse him, like play dates and walking in traffic.

Shit, it’s 6:50. I’d really love to have a quick cup of coffee and, like, just 10 minutes of peace before the crazy starts. If I wake him up at 7 and then keep him really active for two hours, I bet he’ll be tired enough for a nap by 9. And if he goes to sleep — like, really goes to sleep, and doesn’t just bang his crib against the wall over and over for an hour — he can probably get at least a 45-minute nap in before it’s time to get him ready for his sitter. And then! I bet he’ll be ready for another nap around 1:30. That’s perfect.

It’s 6:52 now. That gives me eight minutes. I’m going to enjoy the shit out of this coffee and this English muffin and these Facebook pictures of my old high school friends’ kids for eight glorious, wonderful, blissed-out minutes.

…Annnnd there’s the baby.

23 comments… add one
  • Tax Geek September 5, 2012, 2:20 pm

    I demand an update from the LW…

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  • GatorGirl September 5, 2012, 2:24 pm

    I totally record Jeopardy and watch it while I eat dinner and fast forward through the commericals.

    Love this Wendy!

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    • CatsMeow September 5, 2012, 3:35 pm

      I <3 Jeopardy. I even get some of the answers right, when the little kids play.

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      • rachel September 5, 2012, 3:44 pm

        I kick ass at teenage Jeopardy

      • rachel September 5, 2012, 3:46 pm

        Actually I know a guy who won a Tournament of Champions.

  • jlyfsh September 5, 2012, 2:24 pm

    i never really thought about the importance of naps and now every time i go to call a friend or ask to do something the first thing i think of is, wait is that his/her nap time (the baby ;))? because you just don’t mess with nap time….ever…or everyone will regret it!

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  • Anna September 5, 2012, 2:29 pm

    Could you possibly be a more beautiful mother? Despite the stories about how rough motherhood is, it’s obvious from your eyes and your expression that you love it and wouldn’t trade him for all the naps and bottomless sangria glasses in the world. You’re very lucky.

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  • mandalee September 5, 2012, 2:29 pm

    I love this Wendy! Naptime is so, so important. It’s crazy how obsessed you become with it when you realize the effect it has on your ENTIRE day. I always felt terrible when the infant I nannied for would either refused to take her nap or fall asleep off-schedule. I could literally see the “OH SHIT, THAT”S JUST GREAT” look the mom would give me when I relayed the news. haha

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  • LM September 5, 2012, 2:30 pm

    Love it! That’s how my weekends are, only take out the sitter, add in husband/daughter and substitute food for naps…

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  • sarolabelle September 5, 2012, 2:53 pm

    your baby sleeps 11.5 hours a night? wow….

    Eventually he will not need a morning nap….probably sooner rather than later.

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    • Wendy September 5, 2012, 2:58 pm

      Hush, now.

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  • Robin September 5, 2012, 3:23 pm

    Can I put my 11 year old down for a nap? How about my 18 year old? 😉

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    • jlyfsh September 5, 2012, 3:30 pm

      i thought 18 was when they started requesting naps again? 😉

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  • Michelle.Lea September 5, 2012, 2:37 pm

    i’m always so amazed at kids that nap at all! almost none of the kids in my family would. in fact there were a few that had to have their baby sitters/daycare threatened to make sure they *didnt* nap, or they would be up allllllll night long. even from less than a 30minute nap.

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  • Sue Jones September 5, 2012, 4:09 pm

    I SOOOO remember them days…. where a missed nap is a 5 alarm disaster!!!! It gets easier. Especially once they go to school… unless you are going to be one of those homeschooling moms… (which I NEVER signed up for, thankyouverymuch!)

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  • BriarRose September 5, 2012, 4:19 pm

    One of the main reasons I did not have another child is that my daughter didn’t sleep through the night until she was 4, and didn’t sleep for more than an hour at a time when she took a nap. She went to just one nap very early, and stopped napping completely when she was 3. I’m still tired.

    Summary: Super jealous 🙂

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  • Rangerchic September 5, 2012, 4:40 pm

    Lucky that he does like to nap at all…my first never liked to nap even once (maybe even a few times) telling her preschool teachers that she didn’t like naps and she wasn’t going to take one! My second, however, really loved her naps which was awesome. I almost didn’t want another because of all the sleep problems we had with the first (even after school started for her she decided she didn’t have to go to bed….ever – we struggled for about 2 years or so every single night – exhausting). She is 17 now and goes to bed on her own – thank goodness!

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  • AKchic_ September 5, 2012, 4:17 pm

    *sigh* I have sooo been there.

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  • iwannatalktosampson September 5, 2012, 8:24 pm

    Wendy thank you for sharing this personal stuff with us. One of my best friends is about 7 months pregnant and I have no idea what to expect. My mom had foster kids the whole time I was growing up but for some reason I’ve just totally blanked everything. I want to know all about the different phases she’ll go through and when I can assume she’ll be a zombie and when she might want/need help and when she’ll be able to be out and about more. Luckily she’ll be a stay at home mom (not a work from home stay at home mom – full blown stay at home) so I’m hoping that helps her stress level. Honestly she has not taken to pregnancy at all. Every time I talk to her she sounds really detached from life. Like I said she’s 7 months pregnant and I don’t even think she’s painted the nursery. She sounds like a completely different person and I’m thinking/hoping pregnancy just isn’t for her and she’ll bounce back. She is that girl that loves happy hour, needs xanax, and tends to be a little neurotic so having to give up those things has taken a toll on her I think.

    I am always torn about whether I should sort of leave her be or try to drag her out of the house. She also moved to the suburbs which I knew was NOT her choice – but it’s what her husband wanted so that’s what they did. I think that’s been hard too. She doesn’t normally deal well with changes let alone while pregnant and unable to cope in the normal ways. Sigh. I miss my friend.

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  • Orca September 6, 2012, 12:08 pm

    Ah, yes, you say it so perfectly. You are so desperate for those few minutes of peaceful thought just for yourself. My mind was so jagged when my kids were 3 and 1, for instance, I thought I would completely lose it. Even after they started growing out of naps, I maintained “quiet time” in the afternoon where they had to go to their rooms and read or play quietly for 1-2 hours so that I could re-group. I highly recommend it.

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  • Jennifer September 7, 2012, 10:48 am

    Haha!! Soooo true!!! My Abby is is exactly the same age as Jackson. I’m lucky though, my hubby gets her up for her morning bottle and then puts her back to bed so I can sleep in!!

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  • DONNA L LAINO April 30, 2021, 6:56 pm

    Well your son is cute and you are beautiful. These years will go by quick and you will wonder how they went by so quick. Savor every minute you have with him as a baby. Before you know it, hs graduation, college, .
    Take Care

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    • Dear Wendy May 2, 2021, 9:54 am

      Aw, thank you. This ol’ post was from nine years ago but it brought back memories. They say it gets easier but… lol, not with every kid, I guess. Those were simpler days!

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