Monday, July 21, 2014

One Mom's Secret Affair

The following appears in the July edition of Chicago Parent magazine.

I was supposed to get it all together this school year.  With three children finally in full-day programs, I planned to join the gym, do more freelance writing, and decorate my entire home.  I would be fit with spending money.  My home would resemble a Pier 1 showroom. With hours and hours of free time, I could also volunteer, hold sick babies, and write research grants for hospitals.

Stop laughing.
Sadly, I quickly discovered that my chances of finding a cure for cancer were nil.  No baby seal would be saved on my watch.    


I napped. 

After years of rapid-fire baby production, potty training, colicky infants, pushing kids on swings, pulling kids in wagons, and wiping everything that leaked, I was exhausted.  It was as though years of adrenaline and Red Bull had finally worn off and it was now time to crash. 

And boy did I crash. 

My new routine was established.  Starting at six in the morning, I would spend the better part of two hours readying my boys for school, making lunches, hustling people out the door, and driving to various drop-off locations.  I would then arrive back at home, run the dishwasher, and start a load of laundry.

After that?
I had a standing date with my Tempur-Pedic.

Or as I called him, “Javier.”
Javier and I knew what we were doing was wrong.  Stay-at-home moms weren’t supposed to nap.  Naps put us in the same category as slackers, loafers, and members of congress.  No, we must never admit to our untowardly affair, no matter how good it felt afterwards. 

Despite the initial guilt, I cherished these naps.  Other moms would call and try to get me on-board with their crack-of-dawn fitness regimens.  Some moms suggested I needed to go back to full-time employment.  Even my husband grew suspicious when I became systematically unreachable between 8:30 am and 10 am.
 But here’s the thing.

I am not a slacker.  My three boys have extremely active and full lives that require my participation, administrative aptitude, shuttling abilities, and time.  From the moment they get home until bedtime (approximately 6 hours), it is go, go, go. 
Even serfs from the Middle Ages were granted a lunch break.

I consider motherhood to be the best job I have ever had.  Yet it took years of working in corporate America to realize that the non-stop worker bee approach is not the way to go. Worker bees inevitably become martyrs, clinging to the hope that their sacrifices will be celebrated and appreciated.  Instead of achieving job satisfaction, they become resentful and isolated.  Their co-workers avoid them and nobody ever invites them to lunch. 
I did not want to be a resentful worker bee mom. I wanted to go to Mr. Sub with my kids and have everyone happy to be there.  I did not want to spend years groaning about how everything I did was for my children, and not for me.

And that is why I nap.
That is also why you should never, ever call me between 8:30 am and 10 am.

Javier wouldn’t like it. 


  1. So...any chance Javier is available during Christmas break?

  2. OMG I get to finally have a standing date with Javier this year!!!!
    Maybe you, me and our "man whores" can meet in the middle for a day time drink?

  3. That's excellent. When I became an empty nester I took a nap every single day for a year. Then I started taking two naps per day. Now I sometimes drag myself out of bed for a few minutes.


  4. When I had three children to run after and chauffeur around, I did nap about every two weeks while they were in school. The youngest was docile enough before she went to school that she would nap with me. Ex hated my fortnightly nap. The way he carried on, you would think I had someone under the bed that I brought out to entertain me. I never got enough sleep at night, so some days I just had to nap. Unfortunately, now I can nap when I want and every day. I nap about three or four times a week now. Naps are good.

    1. Naps are from Jesus. Nobody will convince me otherwise. ;)

  5. Huh. Waiting until they're gone to take a nap. Now, that's a novel approach. I remember plunking them down in front of One Life To Live and giving them things to play with, like packs of cigarettes and unsullied ashtrays. The occasional matchbox. That's when I took my best naps.