So, a couple of days ago, I ran down some of the things that I’ve learned over the last year, being a stay-at-home father. I checked and double-checked the list, and made sure everything was in order. Next, I hit the fancy “publish” button, and away into the ether the post went, to be read at your leisure.
It wasn’t until the next day that I realized I forgot a key lesson. Specifically, about naps.
Seriously, you guys, before I was a stay-at-home parent, I didn’t realize just how valuable naps could actually be. I actually fought actively against the idea of taking a nap, except in those rare cases where I was either tremendously ill, or had only gotten about three hours of sleep over two days. It’s almost like I believed that taking a nap was a sign of weakness, and you could never truly give in to that particular siren song if you wanted to be a productive human being.
Even after Nugget was born, I was resistant to napping. Sure, I sometimes found myself falling asleep for short bursts of time at odd hours, but I never actively INTENDED to take the nap. It wasn’t my fault. The baby wasn’t sleeping regularly yet, so neither were HawtWife nor I (to be fair, she has always understood the wisdom of naps), and sometimes just getting a moment to relax results in your eyelids closing. During the first few weeks of being the stay-at-home parent, I thought that Nugget’s nap time would be a good opportunity to do things around the house, or engage in something creative, or veg out and play video games.
I was so incredibly wrong.
Nap times are glorious. I don’t know why it took me so long, but I can truly thank Nugget for teaching me the error of my ways. It started out as a natural occurrence because of co-sleeping. I would lay Nugget down, and, to ensure that she wouldn’t crawl away and potentially hurt herself, I would cuddle next to her to keep her safe. Before too long, I started noticing that, while she was sleeping, an hour here or there would completely vanish without my being fully aware of it. Now, the act of napping is a concentrated effort, and the days that Nugget doesn’t take a nap are ones where I’m a bit more frayed. After all, if she doesn’t sleep, then neither do I.
All in all, having a child helped me realize that naps are a truly wonderful thing, and should be embraced more often. Heck, when Nugget and HawtWife took their trip to Maryland last year, I still made a point of sneaking in a nap here and there, because it’s just so comforting.
I’m currently afraid that when she starts going to school, I’ll just sleep all the time. Clearly that fear is being prompted by not getting enough sleep. I should probably nap.