Last Friday, I dropped my son (5) off at pre-school at 9am and then headed to run a few errands with my two littler ones (3 and 1). We went a few places, stopped home for a bit (where they ran around and played and made a giant mess in less than seven minutes), and then I loaded them back up in the car and headed to pick up their big brother from school. During the six minute drive, I attempted to keep them both awake (nap time was approaching and they had expended a ton of energy during their seven-minute rampage in my living room).
Mom fail. I pulled into the pre-school, parked the van, and turned around to see my 1-year-old fast asleep and my 3-year-old nodding off. I quickly opened the door, which stopped one set of eyes from closing, but I still had one asleep. And now it was time to get out of the van, walk up to the school, type in the code for the door (one-handed of course), get in the door, and walk downstairs to wait for the goodbye-song to be over and to sign him out (precautions, although very very necessary, can really wear on a person…especially one who is carrying twenty-two pounds of baby and pulling twenty-nine pounds of toddler).
I gingerly picked up my sleeping daughter and placed her head on my shoulder. Surprisingly, for once in her lifetime, she stayed asleep. We walked up to the school, punched in the code, got all three of ourselves in the door, and began walking down the steps. And then I saw her. Another mom from the class, with a familiar sack of potatoes over her shoulder. She, too, had failed in the war against inconvenient nap times.
Quietly, so as not to wake either of our precious princesses, I smiled and said “looks like it’s nap time”. The floodgates had been opened.
“I never know what to do when this happens”, she whispered. I nodded.
“I tried to keep her awake in the car, but it was useless”, she whispered. I nodded.
“This will put our entire day off track,” she said, no longer whispering. I nodded.
“She will be awake in a couple minutes, and then she won’t nap again all day”, she said in a little bit louder tone, as we needed to speak above the goodbye-song being sung on the other side of the door. I nodded.
“I take that back,” she said, “She probably will take another nap today, but that will be when we are in the car to pick up her older brother from school”. And then she sighed. I nodded, and also thought to myself, “oh my gosh I forgot she has a second-grader too…that will be me in a couple years…”
At this point, our daughters were both still happily sleeping on their mothers’ aching shoulders.
Approximately twenty seconds later, the door opened and ten thousand (i.e. twelve) voices came flying out with it, waking both girls. I signed my son out with one hand, as my sweaty daughter wiggled out of my arms and my son ran across the room to see his brother. In the midst of the toddlers and tiny chairs, I caught the other mom’s eye as she attempted to stop the wiggling of her own little girl. And yes, I nodded.
On the drive home, I could have chosen to be frustrated with the fact that nap-time was sure to be a complete nightmare (no pun intended). However, I smiled. I smiled at all three of my children as I put them in their carseats, and I smiled to myself as I drove. Because sometimes, all we really need in life is a nod. The days are so, so long, but the years are so, so short. Soon it will be my son in second grade, and I will then be fighting the nap battle two times in a day instead of one (a little silver lining on my part, I guess).
Those moments between mothers, those nods of understanding or words of encouragement, are the true foundation of being a mom, of understanding what it means to be one, and of understanding the fact that there really are people going through the exact same thing that you are in this moment. This is the beauty of friendship between moms, of playgroups and play dates and mommy nights and book clubs and everything of the sort.
This, my friends, is the beauty of the Iowa City Moms Blog, and we are so happy to be sharing this with you. If you get the chance today, give another mom a nod. She needs it just as much as you do.