In the case of a failed nap, treat yourself kindly

My very smart friend Joanne actually used to report to me. Now she is both a mama and the sole proprietor of her own online store, PenelopePoet.com, and sells beautiful jewelry. (Click here to see my favorite item.) Joanne just emailed me her take on “how to cope when baby doesn’t nap.”

carterjoanne.jpgThere are days when my little guy does not want to nap. Sometimes, this will happen a couple days in a row. On the days when I’m feeling stretched, I treat myself. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Take wide-eyed baby and their favorite travel size toy and get in the car.
Step 2: Turn on some tunes. My suggestions: Norah Jones, Feist, David Gray…and depending on the album, maybe even Tom Petty. Keep it mellow and upbeat. (Omit Green Day and other rockers for this trip.)
Step 3: Let the adventure begin. After everyone is all buckled-up in car and the tunes are rolling, pick a starting destination that makes you happy. I like the Starbucks drive-thru on San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito. Other drive-in places work just as well. The drive-in saves you from having to lug baby in and out of the car. Order coffee, tea, diet-decaf soda, or even water. Doesn’t matter, just pick something refreshing that you enjoy.
Step 4: Wash your vehicle in a drive-thru. The windows will be nice and shinny and you’ll feel sparkly clean too.
Step 5: Find a place to take in a view. I like to drive to the top of the hills and marvel at the sweeping view of the bay. Take a few deep breaths and feel your energy return.

More often than not, my little guy nods off to sleep in the midst of our travels. Not always. Even if he isn’t asleep when we get home, I feel recharged and more prepared for whatever challenges lay ahead for the rest of the day.

Don’t worry if your baby doesn’t transfer from the car to crib without waking up. Bring some reading material. Roll down the car windows, relax and read while he continues to catch his zzz’s.

Depending on your neighborhood, this little exercise is equally effective with a pair of good walking shoes and a comfy stroller. Take along headphones with upbeat music, grab a latte, and stroll around to all that places that make you feel good.

Be kind and gentle to yourself.

Wow – I’d love to collect tips for people who, like me, are dealing with a three-year old who doesn’t nap. How can we be kind and gentle to ourselves when a little elf keeps emerging from his bedroom every 30 seconds asking if rest time is over? Thoughts?

Related Rookie Mom activities (in the spirit of being kind to yourself even without a nap-skipper):

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.