Parenting

I Don't Care How Available I Look, Nap Time Is My Time

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It’s hard for me to explain how much I love nap time. My son’s nap time. Not mine. I never nap. Some moms get two hours of nap time, some get three. One mom recently told me she gets four (which I think is a little excessive, what’s going on with that kid? But I digress). Me, I get an hour, an hour and a half if I’m lucky. So you better believe I use that time wisely.

First, I brew myself a cup of tea (English breakfast, milk, one sugar). Then I take it to the couch where I balance my laptop on my lap and arrange my tea, my phone, my book, and the baby monitor on the coffee table beside me. There is a sense of calm. Of order. Everything I need is right here. My feet are up. It’s quiet.

It’s so quiet. No one is asking, at the top of his lungs, “What Mommy doing?  What Mommy doing now?  What Mommy get?” No one is making siren noises and throwing a toy car across the room to (somewhat realistically) simulate a car crash. No one is crying and yelling “Got a bump! Mommy kiss it!” because he careened sideways into the bookshelf and War and Peace fell on his head. (Who am I kidding, I don’t own War and Peace, it was Harry Potter.) No one is saying anything at all.

For one, small sliver of my day I can hear myself think. The words I need to write this article, and all the other articles I write here (check out my page, I’m pretty funny!), are audible in my mind. My thoughts on things other than how to make my son dinner when there’s nothing in the fridge, and what the heck that noise was are suddenly accessible to me. (Things like, will the new live-action Beauty and the Beast movie be any good?  And, are those shoes I really like on sale yet? You know, important things.)

And this quiet, this sense of suddenly returning to my own thoughts, is so valuable to me that there’s almost nothing that could convince me to give it up. See, this is what people without kids don’t understand. Yes, it looks like I’m available when my son is napping. It seems like this might be a good time for me to talk to someone on the phone. Or even have them over for a visit. They like English Breakfast tea too, so why not?

I’ll tell you why not. Because they are noisy too. Not as noisy as my son, I’ll grant you that. But noisy nonetheless. They want to talk to me. They want me to listen to them.  They want to shatter this blissful quiet and hijack my thoughts. So no, I’m sorry, but no. I love them (whoever they are) but they’ll have to wait. Nap time is mine.

And (do I even need to say this?) obviously I love my son. I love that I get to stay home with him. I love being his mom. I love listening to him talk (“Mommy, a chameleon has a long, long tongue with a bug on it!”). I love playing trucks, and blocks and dinosaurs (“Mommy be the excavator and I be the dump truck”). I’m happy to kiss his bumps and bandage up his scrapes. This is my job. And I love my job. This is my life. And I love my life.

But I need a break sometimes. One a day. To sit, and drink a cup of tea, and write, and think, and be. Because somewhere, under the snot, and the Thomas the Tank Engine stickers, and the slobber from a particularly wet kiss, is an adult human being. Whose mind is still thinking grown-up thoughts and dreaming grown-up dreams.

So please, let me be. Don’t be offended because I look available but I won’t take your call or invite you over. I’m not available. I’m busy. Being quiet, and listening to the thoughts inside my head. However mundane they might be.

And soon my son will wake up. He’ll stand in his crib saying “Mommy, come in please!” and I’ll take a deep breath, gulp down the now-cold dregs of my tea and get up. And I’ll be ready. Ready for more trucks, and bumps, and snotty noses. More hugs, more kisses, more wild abandon. My full and funny, wild and crazy life. Because I had a tiny moment to myself. One vital, precious, not-to-be-messed-with moment. But I’m ready now. So give me a call.