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Mommy Needs a Nap
What is a Nap?
Remember those times when you started to yawn and get the droopy eyes and you could just curl up with a book and nap whenever and wherever you wanted? Yes, the days of being without children or with children old enough they didn't need constant chasing around the house. Those amazing days where you could watch television and wake up 2 shows later, feeling refreshed. You could stay up a little later playing videogames or watching movies, knowing that you could just nap it off the next day. I remember those days.
Then, you decide to enrich your lives by expanding your family. It's fun, when you ignore the fact that you've said goodbye to those random naps on the couch "just because" or sitting around listening to music in solitude. You don't even get to pee in solitude anymore. It's fine at first, you can nap when they do because they nap often. But that doesn't last. I promise you, it doesn't last. Eventually naps stop, they can climb out of playpens and over gates. Then you spend more time on your feet than you ever did at your job. You pretend to nap on that rare occasion your child decides to, but you don't get too settled in knowing that the minute you do they'll wake up. Parenting enriches your life as much as it makes you lose your sleep. And that's a lot. I haven't decided if this is a great compliment to parenting or a note of warning and dismay.
I remember once I was watching television with my oldest son and he was watching a show called "Good Luck Charlie". In this episode, the mother gets poked in the eye by her daughter and ends up at the hospital as a result. She begged the nurse to let her stay there, so she could get some rest and not have to go home quite yet with and be with her children. I remember watching that episode and thinking how genius that was. You have to admit, it was a little genius. On some particularly trying days, I recall this episode and say "that's the best idea ever. How can I manage to get in the hospital without actually being in pain or sick so I can get a decent nice sleep and catch up on some reading". I'm not ashamed to admit it.
That's our life as parents. It's a great life, all kidding aside. I'm fortunate to have my boys. Wanting "me time" away from them doesn't make me a bad mother. It doesn't make you bad parents needing your own free time once and a while. It's human. It doesn't mean you don't love them; it just means sometimes you love them more when you're rested and get a break. People need each other, but they also need a quiet moment. It's bad that sometimes I take my cell phone into the bathroom to play Candy Crush so I can get 5 minutes to myself. At the end of the day, it means more to me that I have 3 amazing boys that love me and hug me to death. Because if I'm going to get killed, I'd rather be killed by their love and neediness.
Tips for the Weary
Fear not. I do have tips that I have discovered over the years of parenting. It's easiest with a partner, but doable without. You need to consider yourself, as you are no good to your child if you're too sick or tired to do anything. I hope any of this advice helps, and I look forward to seeing you share your own tips.
- Sleep whenever you can. Your days of random napping whenever you feeling the urge is long gone now until your child can function on their own. Until then, sleep when you can. At first, sleep when they do. I know this is obvious advice, but some of us try to play supermom and use naptime to do chores. Chores can wait, sleep cannot. And babies don't always give you the opportunity to enjoy rest. If that doesn't happen, that's what partners are for. They won't mind to pick up the slack and give you an hour or two of rest. If they don't, reconsider your partner. Seriously, that seems to be a red flag to me. They helped make the baby, they can help you rear it.
- Seriously, sleep when you can. I needed to say this twice to stress the importance of this. Even if you have to cough up $20 every now and again to give yourself an hour of peace. Also, grandparents are fantastic and generally very willing to give you time to yourself so they can take the grandchildren and spoil them without you saying "no" to them. The few minutes it'll take to unspoil them afterwards is well worth the rest you'll get.
- Exercise. I laughed every time I read that the best way to keep fatigue at bay was to exercise. How can working out and making yourself tired help keep fatigue away? I thought to myself. Then, I decided to bite the bullet and start a mild exercise routine. Then I realized I was less tired. Then, due to circumstances, I had to stop my exercise routine for a week or two and the fatigue came back. Wouldn't you know? They were right. I'm not sure of the science about it, but I'm a believer now.
- Leave the worries at the door. One of my biggest difficulties going to bed is that I worry a lot. I check the door to make sure it's locked several times during the night. I always check on both my boys before I go to sleep and anytime I wake up to go to the bathroom, just to make sure they are okay. Worrying doesn't help you sleep. Some people suggest making a worry list to get the worries out on paper and out of your mind so you can sleep. I haven't tried this, but maybe it'll help you.
- It's all in your diet. Avoid caffeine after a certain time. I find that if I have anything caffeinated past supper time, I can't sleep for beans that night. I've read that abstaining from caffeine after 3 p.m can help you sleep. I personally find that I can have caffeine up until around 6 or 7 p.m without any difficulties.
Share your thoughts and tips with us.