I’ve discovered a skill in my middle age that I never knew before I possessed. In fact, I’ve become quite the professional. As I changed position luxuriously under the stack of warm blankets, my elastic waistband pants shifting against the clean sheets, I stole a glance at the clock. Ahhh, perhaps another half hour. It just felt so good.
I never took naps before this year. This year. Ugh. The year to which all other years would be compared. The year that taught me how to shelter in place for the safety of others, but also taught me how to crawl into a hidey-hole because of the shocking heart within mankind. I had spent the past year reading a lot of books, scrolling through a bunch of social media, and then deactivating social media when the cruel words of people I thought I knew became too much to bear. Somewhere in all the realization of how harsh the world could be, I found solace in sleep. Not too much, mind you, but enough to recharge my aging battery.
As a woman in my thirties, an active mother and busy wife, I snubbed the art of napping. I mean, when you’re raising babies who has time to sleep?! When you’re a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, and a work-from-home mom… how can you nap? When there’s a house to clean, articles to write, a small business to run, and shopping to complete, who can find the time? But more to the point, who can justify such a waste of the day?! I certainly could not. So, I spent a good decade or more utterly exhausted, yet unwillingly to succumb to the sandman outside the set apart hours for nighttime sleep.
Somewhere between 42 and 43, I found a beautiful place of giving no shits. There’s no better way to describe it. I realized the dust would still be there, the laundry too. I discovered my kids would live, perhaps even figure out how to do something for themselves every once in a while. In fact, I realized my husband took joy in allowing me such a simple pleasure. He would turn on the sound machine, and threaten the children with life and limb if they woke Mommy. It gave him the opportunity to give me a priceless gift. Rest.
Somewhere in this century in which we live, women mistakenly equated rest with recklessness, as if being still equaled being lazy. Finally, at 43, I know that simply isn’t true. Our bodies need rest. They need stillness, a time-out, rare moments of nothing. In a world that’s so much, nothing is just the thing we need.
Now, when my time would be better served scratching an item off my mental to-do list, I instead opt for the nap. Time is always fleeting, even faster as you age, but knowing I cannot stop it, I surrender to the nap. It makes me a better mom, wife, nurse, and person when I hit that simple reset, even if just for half an hour.
The dishes are still there when I wake, but the world didn’t spin off its axis as I let them be. The children didn’t implode or even burn the house down. The world kept on going, and I find myself in a better frame of mind to tackle the problems therein. If the last year has taught me anything (and it’s actually taught me far too much), it’s shown me the beauty of simply taking the nap.