I used to feel SOOOOO much guilt about napping when the baby napped. If I slept, I knew I would wake up feeling more refreshed, but I also knew that the ‘refreshed’ feeling wouldn’t last very long when the instant I opened up my eyes I’d be greeted with a mountain of dirty clothes and dishes, and an obstacle course of toys throughout the living room. What would people think? More importantly, what would my husband say when he came home from work to a house that looked just as much a disaster- if not more so- than it did before he left? And what would I say when he asked me what I did all day?
“Oh, I took a nap.”
Nevermind the fact that I’d only slept three and a half hours total last night. Nevermind that I’d probably only gotten that many hours of sleep each night for months on end. Or that our daughter was a high needs baby and was typically fussy from sun up to sundown. Somehow, admitting that I had to break down and take a nap felt like defeat. Just uttering those words felt foreign and uncomfortable on my tongue.
But I pushed on. I longed for that “me time” in the middle of the day. I couldn’t waste that time by sleeping. Napping was never on my radar. There was simply too much other “stuff” to do. So I cleaned. And I folded the laundry. And I did the dishes. And I cooked, and swept, and mopped, and tried to maintain the house at the same level as I had before our little night owl arrived, and when I finally felt like I’d gotten all caught up, I’d sit on the couch and catch up on the latest trashy reality TV until the baby woke up, all the while putting myself, and my sanity, at the bottom of the list.
And I PAID for it. My attitude suffered. My mood suffered. I picked fights with my husband. I didn’t have patience for a cranky baby. Everything in life started to feel like it was slowly beginning to crumble. And for what? A clean kitchen and being all caught up on The Bachelor?
It wasn’t worth it. The problem was that my priorities weren’t straight, and my expectations were too high. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally and completely on board for setting the bar high, but this wasn’t the season of life to be expecting to pass any sort of ‘white glove test’ for cleaning in my house. The baby came, and she was a terrible sleeper, and I forgot to adjust the rest of my life accordingly. I thought I should still be able to “do it all,” and when that wasn’t possible, I broke down.
It’s okay to take a nap. I know that it means the chores will pile up on top of each other, and there’s even MORE to do later. I know that this is the only time you get to have to yourself. But I also know that everything else in life will feel so much better when we’re not in a continually bleary eyed state of exhaustion. I know it’s hard to let everything else go- believe me, I do. I would have probably wanted to punch someone in the face if they’d told me to just go take a nap at any point during that first year. I just didn’t realize how important sleep was to my mental health.
Get some rest, mamas. It’s okay. If you’re so exhausted you can’t see straight or make decisions, sleep is more important. It’s more important than dishes, and it’s more important than The Bachelor (I know, I know, it hurts me just as much to say it as it does to hear it. We don’t have to feel guilty for needing some extra rest. Take the nap. You’re up all night, and you work hard all day. If you’re looking for someone to tell you it’s okay, please let me be that someone.
Take the nap. Your body, your mental health, and your sanity will all thank you for it.