Parenting

The Naptime Predicament

Once in a great while, between ice ages or the rise and fall of dominant species, occasionally my daughters will nap simultaneously. Smartypants, the oldest, rarely naps, so to be fair, most of the fault lies with her. Still, when it does happen, when both my young dictators march off to peaceful slumber and dream of power, glory, and riches, I am faced with that rare decision I like to call 'The Naptime Predicament.'

It's not a bad thing, though it might be stressful. And it's not necessarily a good thing, though if you're a quick decision maker who does not care for consequences or karma, you can make it a good thing.

The Naptime Predicament is simply this: As at-home parents, we have no time to rest. Sometimes we have no time for showers, either, but no one likes to hear that. We spend most of our day entertaining children, or cleaning up the mess made while entertaining children, or cleaning up the mess made by children entertaining themselves, or cleaning up the mess made while rushing to finish something so we might get back to entertaining children, etc.. At the same time, because we're constantly in a state of entertaining, or of being entertained, or of cleaning up for the next act of entertainment, we have no time to accomplish other important jobs or larger projects we need to finish. Hence, when the children fall asleep and we're suddenly granted an hour or, amazingly enough, an hour and five minutes of free time, we must decide whether to tackle those other projects or get some rest. But how do you choose? That's The Naptime Predicament.

Me? I almost always avoid rest. Not because I wouldn't give my lung and a kidney for at least six hours of uninterrupted sleep every night, but because I'm so hopped up on caffeine it takes, minimally, 30 minutes to fall asleep. Sometimes I can't fall asleep at all, and then I'm tired and angry at having wasted such valuable time. So I try to read, or I try to get some writing or work done. Usually I fail, because I'm simply too tired to do much of anything. Too tired for chores, too drugged for sleep. It's a terrible thing.

Do you suffer from The Naptime Predicament? I'd love to know.

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This post was originally shared on my at-home parenting blog, The Daily Writer, which has long since vanished. I’ve migrated many of the posts to this site for sentimental reasons.

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