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The necessity of napping

November 1st, 2003 · 1 Comment

I confess I’ve thought naps were for wimps. Or at least I’ve resisted taking them. Maybe it’s just the too-busy-mother in me: the KIDS need naps but I need to get stuff done. While they sleep, I write, read, cook, make phone calls in the quiet, work in the garden, do things that are much harder to do when they are awake and accompanying my every move. Naps I feared were inefficient and unnecessary. Why not just sleep at night?

Now I did try to nap during pregnancies and the early months of infancy, when the demands on my body were more and when sleeping is scattered, broken by hungry baby’s cry. Part of what’s happened to me as well is this new phase where I find myself now. After Elisabeth was born, Abigail decided she didn’t want to nap, and soon neither did Michaela, Miss I-don’t-want-to miss-anything. Instead the baby’s naptime became opportune time to focus on the other children, to read with them, do experiments, play games, do art projects. I also didn’t want them to nap since they seemed to have problems going to sleep at night on days when we rested. Working out a way for me to nap and the girls to stay up seems complicated: can’t leave these young ‘uns alone by themselves!

Recently though sleep has been getting interrupted again. Nightmares, lost blankets, potty emergencies have woken us up at 3 am some nights. So we are all sleepy. It comes out in the children’s attitudes, crankiness, reluctance and even dramatic moments like falling asleep over dinner plates. I didn’t see though the big effect the sleeplessness was having on me.

Yeah, I didn’t even realize how tired I was until today, when I decided to take a nap. It’s been a busy week and I’ve been trying to rest more during the weekends. The younger two went to bed too, and, since it was Saturday, I asked Ted if he could watch Abigail. It took me a while to fall asleep but I finally did and woke up later than I had planned, after oversleeping the alarm. Oh well. When I got up, I discovered the rest of the family was asleep also, even Ted and Abigail were napping in his office.

I felt so refreshed at 4 in the afternoon! It felt wonderful. Wow! I didn’t realize how I’d been running in run-over-by-a-truck-mode. In recent days, and even weeks, I had been feeling exhausted and consuming caffeine to keep me going, but nothing made me feel as great as my nap. Usually from the afternoon until bedtime I am dragging a bit, cranky at times with the children, but today I noticed how much easier it was to be kind and gentle with the girls. It’s hard to be gracious when the gas tank is on empty. Even the dinner dishes, my least favorite job, weren’t such a chore. I had energy for everything. Such is the simple power of rest and sleep!

So today I became a believer, a believer that even mommies need to nap!

Tags: motherhood

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 emily // Nov 3, 2003 at 12:42 pm

    my dear friend, I’m thankful you found rest. allow Him to carry your burdens of things to do and be refreshed. save the guilt for the “good stuff”, as one of my mentor/friend says to ME!