The Nap Sabotage: An FAQ for Parents of Babies

Today my baby and I got invited to go swimming. It is quite a hot day here, so I readily accepted. I got my baby to take a later nap to make the invitation time work. We were packed, sunscreened and ready to go. We got into the car and stopped by a bakery to buy some scones. Then it happened. It began with the eye rubbing. Just a little at first, but it soon developed into a few huge yawns.

No, I thought, we just had a nap. But there he was, yawning away. My heart sunk, as I realized that I would have to give up our afternoon plans. I turned the car around and headed back to the house. The baby cried all the way home until I put him to bed. He was asleep in minutes.

And just like that: Bam! I got nap sabotaged.

I’m sure this has happened to you, or someone you know. Maybe you didn’t know it existed. Either way, I have prepared an FAQ about the phenomenon known as the nap sabotage. You’re welcome. 

An FAQ about Nap Sabotage for New Parents


What is the nap sabotage?

This is a nap that occurs when you have made other plans. Either:

  • The baby sleeps through an event, causing you to miss something you were really looking forward to
  • The baby suddenly decides they must nap as you are about to leave for an event/errands/anything outside of the house
  • The baby avoids their usual nap, only to nap at a super inconvenient time for you
Observe the nap sabotage in progress. It may look adorable, but don’t be fooled.

Can you give me an example?

Sure! Here are several:

Scenario A: You are planning to meet up with some friends at the park. You finally agree upon a time that works with everyone’s nap schedules. You pack enough gear that, in the unlikely event of an apocalypse, you could live at the park comfortably for several weeks. You change the baby, lather them in sunscreen, locate their tiny (useless) sandals and hat and…. the baby suddenly decides they would like to nap now. Instant fuss. No park for you, my friend, which also means no adult interaction. Bam! You just got nap sabotaged.

Scenario B: You have a big party to attend. People have scheduled this specifically to see your baby. You carefully try to adjust their naps in order for them to be awake and at maximum cuteness. The baby sees right through this manipulation, and refuses their nap, despite being exhausted. You load up the car, and your baby decides that now is the ideal time for naps. Guess you are showing up super late or not at all. Bam! You just got nap sabotaged.

Scenario C: You have guests to see the baby. This time, you get wise to your baby’s nap games and have the party at your house. The baby goes for a nap at the beginning of the party. This is fine, you think, at least I can enjoy the party. Your guests pretend they enjoy talking in whispers and you pretend you have things to talk about that aren’t about the baby. Everyone wants to see the baby, but for some reason, the baby has been having a record-breaking nap. Everyone gets bored and goes for ice cream. You want ice cream, but can’t go because the baby is napping. So everyone leaves. Then the baby wakes up, ready to go. Bam! You just got nap sabotaged.

Do I have to say “Bam” every time I get nap sabotaged?

No, but it is highly encouraged. I think it makes it more fun. I also have some choice 4 letter words you can use instead.

Nap sabotage? Isn’t that just a nap?

No, my friend, it is not. A nap occurs at a somewhat predictable time, when nothing in particular is going on. A regular nap seems like a gift. In contrast, a nap sabotage seems to be a deliberate attempt for your baby to spoil your plans. Bam.

How can I avoid it?

Never make any plans or do anything interesting.

Worst advice ever.

Photo via Visual Hunt

Hmm, that sounds terrible. Alternately, you could loudly discuss fake plans during times you want your baby to nap. If they take the bait, they will fall attempt to nap sabotage you during your fake plan times, leaving them awake during your real plan times.

What can I do if I think I have been sabotaged?

First, just know that you are not alone. Because your baby is there nap sabotaging you. But also because at any given time, there are a bunch of other parents being nap sabotaged in your city or neighbourhood. I can’t prove it to you because you can’t leave the house, since your baby is napping, but take my word for it.

You may feel the need to vent your frustration. Don’t call your childless friends because they think you are flaky. Find some other mothers of babies and quietly text them.

Also, know that it is perfectly normal to feel sad about your plans. They probably would have been fun. You will someday get to make plans again – in roughly 18 years. Lots of time to think up some good ones.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s