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Doing what’s different: It’s just parenting. by Alicia Steffann

August 27, 2012

A couple of years ago, 3 to be exact, we received this email:

“I have many pictures of my child in Gs, but this one was so classic I mailed it to the only address I could find for you guys – I figure you can pass it on if you find it as funny as I did.

Perhaps Gs have a soporific effect?

Best Wishes.

Turns out, the nap-where-they-lay thing was frequent enough for Alicia to blog about it, culminating in her awesomely hilarious blog, Naps Happen. Naps Happen has been named one of the Top 25 Funny Mom Blogs two years in a row. Thank you to Alicia for taking time away from snapping napping to guest blog here.

Doing what’s different: It’s just parenting.

Believe me when I say that having my kids nap face down on an ottoman was not in my plans.

Just like you, I read all the parenting books. I planned the perfect
upbringing for my boys. I made baby food from scratch. But somewhere, along the way, sandwiched between a wailing infant and an angry toddler, I said, “WHATEVER.” So it is that I began what I like to think of as “organic” napping practices. Since that time, the unbelievable (to some) pictures of my napping children have amused thousands of people and have attracted photos of similarly flexible sleepers from all over the place.

And you know what? My relationship with my own kids is better for it.

Occasionally, a commenter on my blog will suggest that there must be
something wrong with me, because they’ve never seen a child fall asleep like that. There are lots of responses I could make to these folks, but my first one is this: Please try to be more imaginative.

We take all kinds of things on faith in this life. Most of us feel, in some way, that perfectly valid phenomena exist even when we have not served as direct witnesses. We take pride in the fact that we live in a society that embraces diversity and we try to live in harmony with those who choose lifestyles different from our own.

So why is it that, in the world of parenting, we seem to feel everyone must find one correct mold and squeeze into it? I can imagine what it must be like to have kids who sleep nicely in a bed at the same time each day, even though I have not seen it happen. By the same token, I wish other people could stretch their imaginations to encompass children who crash out as they please, sleep soundly, and wake up later to ask for a snack, like nothing unusual happened.

What if we all successfully imagined the unlimited number of family
configurations, traditions, and strategies that result in healthy kids and sane parents? How much better would we all feel if we spent less time trying to root out what was “wrong” in parenting today and, instead, looked at how much we are all doing right? I know I, for one, would feel a lot better about myself and about the hard work I’ve done as a mom … even if I never did succeed at a typical napping schedule.

If only we could have more imagination, I think we would feel more of the magic, don’t you think? Because it’s a little bit magic to me when one of my children sleeps soundly, untroubled by the cares that plague adults, in the very spot he chose for himself on the deck or the kitchen floor.

Magic, I tell you. I’ve seen it for myself.


Alicia Steffann is the gDiapering mom behind the outrageous blog, Naps Happen, which features a massive collection of photos of kids who have fallen asleep in unbelievable places, including over a hundred pictures submitted by fans.

Since starting Naps Happen in 2010, her sleepy escapades have been featured online in Parade, The Huffington Post, NBC Today Moms, Hollywood Life by Bonnie Fuller, Nickmom, and the blogs at Babble, Parentables and Babycenter. She was also voted a *Circle of Moms* Top 25 Funny Mom blogger in both 2011 and 2012. When she’s not blogging, she is teaching college writing and wrangling her two small and soporifically talented boys. She lives in the D.C. area.


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