To nap or not to nap … should never be a question.
The answer is always “nap.” Always.
Well, except for the 8 to 13-year-old set who are personally both appalled and offended by the suggestion of a nap. I was also both personally appalled and offended by the many times my 8 thru 15-year-olds brushed off a nap. Sure, it wasn’t always that they needed a nap, but dear God I DID! (Note to parents, naps become hip again in the late teens. #blessed.)
I still do need a nap. Always. I love a good nap. I love an average nap. I have mastered all of the naps.
While I do feel a sense of parental pride when either of my baby adult children “head up for a quick nap,” I am less joyous when my husband suggests he join me in my afternoon slumber. It’s not that I don’t enjoy his cuddly presence, it’s that he doesn’t do it right. The nap. He does the cuddle right.
Why, at 50-something, am I a lover of naps? I am a fairly easy person to manage when I reach Stage Cranky. Snack, nap, or both. I am very female in my ability to morph into a demon, quite quickly, when my blood sugar’s low. I am also very female in that it’s a very short leap from firing-on-all-four-cylinders to must-lay-down-now. I have become much more aware of these shape-shifts as I have aged and one result was mastering the nappy years ago.
The summary of my success is the separation of church (regular sleep) and state (nap). My husband has no regard for this separation. He comes in balls out for naps. Like actually, sometimes. I do believe he now mostly understands that “heading up for a quick nap” is not a euphemism.
Historically, when I lived solo in my Barbie Townhouse, my bed was for “real” sleep and the couch was for “nap” sleep. I could essentially queue my body on sleep expectations based upon which surface I closed my eyes. When I acquired this wacky insta-family, couch naps were quickly tossed as I’d often sense one of my beloved (step)children staring at me, just waiting to pounce on a fluttering eyelid. It never failed. As soon as I started to drift off on the couch, I’d hear the sorrowed cries of, “have you seen …,” “what’s for dinner …,” or “when are we … “
For some reason, a mother drifting off is the catalyst for panic, as if she will never return to her post as Chaos Coordinator.
As I had to relocate my siestas, I also had to queue my body in different ways to keep that sleep separation of church and state.
- White Noise: Lemongrass for sleep; Stories for a nap.
- I’ve listened to Ambient Land by Lemongrass on repeat for a decade now, all night, while sleeping. I give my husband full credit for its ability to put me almost immediately into my dream state. We discovered this ability on our honeymoon when I tried to explain to him that I could not sleep to music and fell soundly asleep before I finished my complaint.
- For napping? I prefer Young & the Restless in the background. A perfect nap means falling asleep to the open credits and waking up as the ending credits kick-off. In between? 48 minutes of dreamy bliss.
- Sleep attire: Pajamas for sleep; boxers for naps.
- Without going too far into the details, I do like a clothing-optional bedtime. But I have learned that my husband’s hands sleepwalk, so full regalia it is.
- For naps, as I am typically alone, I wear fewer regalia.
- Windows: Curtains closed for sleep; Curtains open for naps
- Really no need to get deep here but if I blackout the daylight at 2 pm, I have a hard time waking up from the nap.
- Time: As long as humanly possible for sleep; 40 minutes, max, for a nap
- Anything longer on the nap equals grogginess for the rest of the day.
Here’s where my husband and I diverge, as I was reminded again last week when I casually yelled “Going to take a nap!” and heard “Oh! Maybe I’ll join you!” come back.
What? Join me? What? But. Could I just say, “No thanks! You don’t nap right!” Yeah, that does seem catty. What? Shit.
My husband strolls into naptime with his regular pajamas on.
He closes the curtains and seals them as if the room will go bad if touched by the afternoon light.
He crawls into bed and takes his pillows (okay, yes, they are his, but I do like using his pillows for naptime which is he learning as he reads this) leaving me with only my two pillows.
He puts on Lemongrass (clearly not a daytime soundtrack).
He asks things like “Are you going to turn that off?” in reference to the soundtrack of my stories, while I stare at him, blinking, wondering what the shite is happening.
Typically, before I can answer he is sound asleep, while I sit staring at him, blinking, wondering what the shite is happening.
What? Why? How could he? This man does not even set an alarm to wake him gently in 38 minutes with a built-in seven-minute snooze. What are his plans?!?!?! Just to sleep until bedtime? What?
These are difficult times for me.
These are exhausting times for me.
My only option is to wait until he finishes his nap (who knows when that will be, Mr. Wake Winging It) and then try again, with my trusted Pavlovian Program in place. This is not relaxing. I think this may even count as infringement.
I mean, yes, the bed is a shared situation much like the beds of all happily married people. And, yes, if he is tired, I would never suggest he not take a nap as I know how that missed snoozurtunity can mean a draggy afternoon. I don’t even mind him being with me when I nap. It is actually cozy and comforting.
Or at least it could be.
If he would just nap correctly.