Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat… I am VERY thankful that my girls take naps (almost) every day. I have come to rely on that time as downtime for myself, and them, given that being a SaHM (stay at home mom) is a 24/7 emotionally and physically draining marathon of a job that lasts for years. BUT, after a solid year at home with the girls, I finally came to the earth shattering conclusion that… I don’t actually ever get any “alone” time. See, when I decided to stay home, that meant that we halved our income. We more than halved our expenses, so that worked out ok financially, but it means that I, once again, don’t have the financial ability to outsource any of my duties. Time? I have more of that! Alone time? Zero.
So, why do I say that nap time isn’t alone time? I mean, technically I get time each day, at about the same hour, to do some thing(s) that I can’t get done when the girls are awake. They are happily (?) sleeping in their beds, and I’m “doing my thing.” Except – well, let’s just see a few real life examples from this month.
Example #1: After a week of Big Sister waking up at 5:15 am and falling back asleep at 6:15am, only to have Little Sister need to feed at 6:30 a.m., I FINALLY decide to take a well-deserved nap during nap time. Wrangle kids into bed, get into my bed, read a few pages of a novel to relax myself. Fall deeply into a blissful slumber… for 20 minutes before a child starts crying. What’s the only thing worse than one child who won’t nap? Yep. Two (or more) children who won’t nap. Cue see mommy run to crying child’s room to quickly extract and entertain so the other child can keep sleeping.
Example #2: After a month of giving up sugar, and a year without a monthly visitor, guess who comes knocking? Well, I am NOT going to break the sugar fast for just ANY old sugar filled dessert. I set aside nap time to make (and hopefully eat three of) the Holy Grail of difficult cupcake recipes (AKA these Boston Creme babies (LINK). Elbow deep into the 20 minutes of constant stirring the Boston Creme until it simmers… Yep. Child is awake. See second half of Example #1.
Example #3: Since I rarely get to talk to another mom face to face, I invite a friend and her kids to come over after nap time. While we are talking, as far as I’m concerned, the kids can wreak havoc on the house, as long as I get to have 20 minutes of interrupted adult conversation with another smart woman. Might as well, right? For the last two days, neither child has slept much anyway. Until today, as the joke is clearly on me. Exhausted children fall into a hypnotic deep sleep that lasts 4 hours. No post-nap playdate. No adult conversation.
I haven’t yet determined a great way to carve out actual “off the clock” alone time for myself – yet. Ideally, I would get 4-5 hours alone, in my house, to read in bed, take a long shower, and order myself takeout while Netflix-bingeing on Gilmore Girls. True, that could be done on a weekend while my husband takes care of the kids in another room… but it’s not the same as actually being alone. (Am I right?)
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