It was 2:30 p.m., and I had just put the baby down for his afternoon snooze. My 4-year-old was thoroughly enjoying watching a cartoon as he lay on the couch with his blankie. I was next to him checking something or other on the laptop. It was a little chilly, so I got the giant blanket out of our blanket bin to snuggle with. I closed that laptop and started reading my book, remembering that I’d have to return it to the library tomorrow.
His eyes started to slowly blink, then they stayed closed. He must’ve been really tired. As I recalled getting the baby down somewhere after 1 a.m. the night before and waking up early to get my school kids ready for the bus, it hit me that I was tired too. I continued reading with guilt starting to swarm my mind. After all, having both kids asleep during the daylight hours was rare. Actually, I didn’t recall the last time this had ever happened unless we were in a vehicle.
The panic started to encircle me—I should be doing something!
I should probably shower. Maybe, I could get actual clothes on and do my hair and makeup too. You know, get all fancy.
I should do a yoga practice. The house is perfectly quiet for it.
I should clean out the bathroom.
I should tidy the toys.
I should really make the whole house spotless and make something yummy for my school kids to come home to.
I should write. I’d have no interruptions!
I should catch up on my kids’ journals.
I should get a start on this year’s family photo book.
I should make a couple of phone calls.
I should . . .
My eyes got heavy as the blanket somehow reached its way to my face. I fell asleep.
I woke up to the sound of beeping. It was the school bus backing up. My big kids were home! I slowly walked to the door to greet them. With my disheveled bun and groggy voice, I said, “Good morning.”
They thought it was funny. I let them believe I meant to say that to get a laugh, but it actually just slipped out because it’s just what I say when I wake up.
I listened to them describe some of their days and soon the two littles were awake too. The evening progressed.
I kicked myself for wasting that precious time. That time I will probably never ever have again with both kids asleep in a quiet house. I felt like I wasted my moment. My perfect productive moment.
But then I remembered that this had happened to me once before.
At nine months pregnant with our fourth baby, I had my husband take the kids for a day. It was going to be a day of rejuvenation to nurture my soul and energy in preparation for our new normal of four kids. I needed my energy reserves armed and ready. I needed to nest. I needed to prepare for our Thanksgiving meal that would be the next day. I needed my introverted body and mind to finally get the solitude it was starving for. There were so many wonderful aspirations I had for this day.
But, I unintentionally fell asleep on the couch for the majority of it.
Same story. Except, I remember the message I received after I awoke feeling this same guilt. As I watched a random YouTube video from a spiritual leader, he spoke about being busy and in a rather humorous way reiterated that Jesus took naps. I laughed, but also felt the rush of God’s whisper that I needed this sleep. That it was more than OK.
Why do we feel so guilty for resting, for letting our bodies refuel and reset?
Just take the nap, mama.