Nap time is my productive time. Not today, though: I abandoned my bulging to-do lists, my creative and professional projects. After my daughter fell asleep mid-nurse, I didn’t hoist her sleeping body into the crib. I laid there, too. Read my book, drifted into sleep.
I did what all moms are supposed to do in the early days. Sleep when baby sleeps. When Tallulah was a newborn, I often took that advice—but things were different then. Sleep consumed most of her day, leaving a whole day patched with moments to write, clean, and marvel over my baby’s perfection. She was still, carried along to each task. Now, we run constantly. To errands, to the washer and dryer in the basement, to follow the trail of discarded toys. Naps are when my mind gets into the sprint—filling in scenes of my novel, completing other writerly jobs, sometimes crafting an essay or two. There isn’t time to sleep. Of course, health and basic biology disagree with that notion. They forced me to find time. And that time was today.
This week seems to be where I hit that wall...which is disappointing. I love being able to do it all—to be the super mom who perfectly balances play and education in an enriched environment, to be the prolific literary superstar, to be a responsible and clean citizen. But, sometimes we need to slow down. To listen to those voices in our joints, in our brains. Nobody can do it all constantly. And when I was defying biology, forcing myself to sludge through projects and to-dos, I was irritable and not producing much in the way of quality. I was finding myself falling asleep while putting Tallulah to bed. Waking up at 2:00am, realizing beans were still cooking on the crockpot for the next day.
What happened after that impromptu nap? Well, first I panicked. Then I grew angry—at myself and at time. That list wasn’t marked off. Projects were abandoned. Dishes were in the sink. But, then I rolled over to where Tallulah was splayed out with her legs bent like a frog’s. Her soft fingers grazed my arm. I watched her breathe and let my productivity go static. It’s only one day. One nap. I don’t have to do it all today.