I am here to tell you that people do not grow out of naps. Or maybe they grow back into them. Like, when they have kids.
I am fast becoming a passionate napper, and like any zealot, I want nothing more than to bring you over to the napping side with me. Consider it: a long refreshing snooze—a siesta if you prefer—in the middle of the day. Why not?
Let’s see: maybe because you have too much to do? No worries, I assure you that your productivity will increase noticeably once you’ve become a napper. (Oh did I mention you should have a cup of green tea punch on waking?) Okay, I know, there are reasons not to nap. Maybe you will then sleep poorly at night. Or you work in a non-nap-friendly environment. Or your kids, who require supervision, do not nap. This is troubling to me, as I feel you will not achieve the clarity of vision and ability to remain calm even at high temperatures that you would if you took a good nap. You may need to double up on the iced green tea. I keep this beverage in the fridge at all times. I punch it up with peaches, mint, lime and agave and consider it Mommy’s little helper.
I wasn’t always a napper. And neither was Leo. It is no coincidence that we both are now. You see, after 2 years of lamenting that my kid was a lousy napper, I’ve started sitting next to his head while he sleeps. “Shhh,” I say. “Zzz,” he says. And before you know it, we’re waking up over an hour later in a terrible snit. We stumble out of his little air-conditioned room together, blinking our bleary eyes (did I mention the light-blocking curtain I put up in there?) and head for the fridge. Leo has a sippy cup of milk, I pour myself a little iced tea pick-me-up, and before you know it, we are two chipper poster children for napping.
Sometimes I suffer from nap insomnia, and I sit awake for 15 minutes or so while Leo snoozes. In these instances, I remember how I used to think that naptime should be Me time, when I could do my own things, things that you absolutely cannot do with a young child, like certain types of focused writing, involved cooking or telephoning of another adult who has an attention span and expects the same. Well, I’ve traded in Me time, it’s true. But the rewards! Pleasant afternoons and evenings, the ability to pack a sprinkler-ready park bag complete with snack and push the stroller up a hill in the heat, and even the ability to converse normally with my husband after 7pm—surely you’ll agree these are worth the price of Me time?
It all started on vacation (was that only last week?). There was no way Leo-the-lousy-napper was going to nap in a strange house full of fun cousins unless we pulled out all the stops. So I went in there with him, said “this is mommy and Leo’s naptime,” and poof! We took a big snooze! It now seems that Leo’s lousy napping all along may have been related to the energetic commitment that children have to keeping their moms from having Me time. Well I surrender! But I’m having a small sofa reupholstered for Leo’s room, because sleeping sideways in an armchair every day turns out not to be very good for the alignment of one’s backbone. Not that I’m complaining.
Zoe Singer is a freelance food writer and cookbook editor and co-author of The Flexitarian Table. Food Editor and blogger for The Faster Times, she tries not to eat for two now that her son is a toddler.