Catherine Cameron: Naps are sacred
I have a confession to make. I have become a slave to my baby's naps...
Why? Because while my baby is napping in her cot, something magical happens. My house transforms into a universe of solidarity. I can eat a meal sitting down. I can go to the loo with the door closed. I can have a shower without two beady eyes looking at me through the glass.
Ladies and Gentlemen - I can do one thing at a time. That’s right, for a few magical moments, I don’t have to multitask.
Naps, my friends, have become sacred.
Now before I go any further, I must firstly say that I am completely (and annoyingly) besotted with my baby. If I could walk around in a T-shirt that says ‘that’s my baby’ with an arrow in her direction I would. But, no matter how much I adore her I am still riding a constant wave of sleep deprivation.
So in order to find the energy to get through the day on minimal sleep (and maximum coffee), every now and then I need to be alone.
Enter - sacred nap time.
Now this sacred nap time is certainly not always a given. Therefore, my day is structured around ensuring my baby does not fall asleep in the car, and is able to successfully sleep in her cot. And since I have returned to working part-time in the last few months of my maternity leave, this strategic planning has become even more important.
Once the tidal wave of toys and puréed vegetables has been tamed, during sacred nap time my main priority is to switch off. I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to worry. I don’t want to sing nursery rhymes while sitting on the loo or pretend my hands are two giraffes having a conversation while I’m in the shower (both excellent techniques in keeping my mobile girl still).
I often don’t have the energy to catch up on text messages, missed calls, or to pursue anything in the realm of adult life. Nor do I have the motivation to schedule anything that requires excess energy during sacred nap time.
Before becoming a parent, outings and social events were relaxing. However, when you are sleep deprived and running on empty, anything that requires planning, conversation, or brain power burns precious fuel that you need for running around after your baby all day. Without sacred nap time, there is no room for rest as a parent.
It took me a long time to understand that although being there for our little ones around the clock is our job as mothers, it is important we stop and acknowledge who we are outside of motherhood. We need to be careful we do not let the wave of endless giving and nursery rhymes wash away the identities we had before we became parents.
We need to allow ourselves to press pause on our busy lives, and just be.
And the reality is, when your baby’s life is in your hands, sometimes the only time you can do this is when they are fast asleep in bed.
And so Mammas, utilise the sacred magic that is nap time. Even if you spend it driving a vacuum around the house and picking up toys with your feet, make sure you do it on your terms, with bad pop music blaring, stopping regularly to indulge in using the loo with the door firmly shut.
Or better yet leave the toys where they are, put a rug over the crumbs and pour a gin and tonic. After all, it’s 12pm somewhere, right?
But don’t let anyone make you feel guilty, or deprive you of your sacred alone time. Whatever yours looks like, take it in bunches when you can. Even the most expensive and ergo dynamic vehicles on the market need re fueling.
And so do you.