In a perfect world, my children’s naptimes would be spent leisurely completing a few household chores, watching a show or movie I’ve been wanting to see, or maybe even taking a nap for myself. In reality, naptime can often feel more hectic than those waking hours. I rush from one task to the next, trying to accomplish as much as possible, with a constant voice in my head reminding me of the next ten things on my to-do list.
The best part of naptime is that I often do feel productive, whether I am cleaning, working, or taking that much-needed rest. The problem with naptime, on the other hand, is that there is often so much to do that everything I need/want to accomplish is hindered by the time constraint that ironically only seems to be made tighter by my frantic hustle around the house.
In the rare event that I can get both of my daughters to nap at the same time in the afternoon, I can usually count on about 1.5-2 hours of quiet before the little one is up (on a very good day). To keep my sanity in check, I always have to do a quick pick-up of toys and at least mostly clean up the kitchen after the lunchtime tornado blew through. But when that sanity starts to feel within reach, suddenly I go on a downward spiral of the endless to-do list.
Naptime can be peaceful, but often feels very rushed.
Here’s a glimpse into this sacred time of day.
As I am doing the dishes, I am also thinking of the computer work I need to do, the toys scattered all over the downstairs of the house, that recipe from my new cookbook I want to bake, the laundry I need to fold, that phone call I need to return, and oh yeah – I should probably get a head start and prep some food for dinner. Of course, the first thing I need to do is reheat my coffee, because hot coffee during naptime is always essential.
I finally get through some of that toy and kitchen clean up. I think I can clear my brain to focus on the freelance work that has been building up. I sit down on my computer to type, just as the dog begs to be let outside. My once-hot coffee (that has already paid a visit to the microwave three times today) has turned room-temperature again and needs reheating again.
Back to the computer I go, knocking out a few emails and scheduling social media posts for a client. All the while, my brain is running faster than I can keep up with, reminding me of another thing to add to my to-do list. I jot that thought down as I consider turning on a TV show but ultimately decided to fully embrace the silence that fills the living room.
Just then I hear a whimper from the baby monitor. Nooooooo. Not yet! It’s only been an hour so surely she will go back to sleep, right? I click on the video screen and watch as my 11-month-old rolls around whining. Then she stops. Paci is in. She seems still. Ok, good, she’s back asleep. Now, where was I?
I know my solo time is very limited at this point, making it difficult to get started on something new. I also can’t take a nap, because there’s a 100 percent chance that in ten minutes the baby will let out her signature shriek, startling me awake and making me feel more tired than before. But if I don’t take a nap, she will sleep for another hour. HOW do they know?!
One thing I’ve learned through motherhood so far is that those waking hours are truly never over. Even during naptime or after the babies go to bed at night, in the back of my mind I know they can wake up at any minute. The work of motherhood never ends, not even during naptime. “No rest for the weary” has never been truer.