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Monday, May 26, 2014

Napping Russian Roulette

The single most annoying piece of advice I've ever received about parenting is:

"Nap while the baby is napping!"

Usually delivered in a sing song voice, with a nod and a look on the person's face as if they are delivering a pearl of wisdom so rare and beautiful, you should probably be crying with gratitude.

And I have to bite my tongue not to punch said person in the throat when they give this annoying advice.  In fact, when Q was about a week old I was given this advice on a boat IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FRICKING NILE while Q was asleep in my arms.  And as much as I wanted to take the higher ground, I couldn't stop myself from snarkily replying,

"Oh, so should I just put the baby on the floor and go find a place to nap, since the baby is sleeping and all?"

Seriously people, stop giving this advice!  It's annoying, unhelpful, and puts a huge burden of guilt on a new parent.  Every time the baby is sleeping I should be sleeping?  Do you know how much babies sleep?  Do you realize that I don't possess the ability to switch my brain to sleep mode like a computer?  I can only nap when I'm tired, and unfortunately, that doesn't always coincide with when the baby wants to sleep.

And yeah, I know it's really meant to remind you to just take time to relax and rest while the baby is sleeping so you can be fortified for the challenges when they're awake.  But what no one ever seems to admit is that nap time is like playing Russian Roulette.  You know, that game where you load one bullet in a gun, and then gamble with your life.

Babies don't give printouts of what their future nap will look like.  You could be laying them down for anywhere between 15 minutes and 3 hours.  And if you're anything like me, the only thing worse than not getting a nap at all, is to lie down for a nap, just start to sink into it, before you're woken by a shrieking baby and that beautiful nap is ripped away from you.  Quite frankly that's a way worse scenario in my book. I'd rather be tired, than tired and cranky from stolen nap.

The only time I am willing to sleep when the baby does, is when it's night time and duh, that's what we're all supposed to be doing. Or if someone else is in charge and my nap gets to continue uninterrupted whatever time he wakes up.

Most of the time when Q goes down for a nap, my first thought isn't about sleep anyway, it's "Hey, maybe it's my turn to eat some breakfast/go to the bathroom/take a shower/sit in a comfortable chair/stare at the wall for awhile." It's a careful balance of hurry up and get some things done, mixed with oh please can I get some me time for a few minutes!

Can you tell something is up?  Am I not my normal cheery self?  Did I mention Ryan is away at the moment?  He's back in the States for a WEEK for his friend's wedding.  And I'm sooooo jealous excited for him!  What a wonderful thing to get a whole week with no responsibilities, no middle of the night wakings, no diaper changes, or bottle washing, no smacks in the face, or bite marks from "kisses", not to mention all the wonderful foods we miss so much!  I'm just so insanely jealous happy for you honey!  Don't forget to buy me something purty!  (Insert manic smile here)

In all seriousness though, single parenting sucks.  My mom was a single parent my entire life.  And wow am I feeling guilty at the moment for some of our arguments and battles over the years.  That woman was a saint for putting up with ANYTHING from me, because when you're doing everything yourself it's sooooo hard.  There is no "me time," there are no breaks.  Time is divided into two hemispheres, when you're taking care of the baby and when you're lying down in exhaustion praying for the baby to sleep a little longer.  And that's fine for a day, maybe two, but I'm on day 4 out of 9 and I'm starting to feel it.

I've always been grateful for Ryan, he's a wonderful father.  He does it all, and never makes me feel like the baby is my job, he jumps right into the nasty stuff and we work really well as a team.  But man do I miss him right now.  Not just the wife missing her husband, but the missing of another parent for this child.  I need another parent for this kid. In fact we might need to take out a life insurance policy so that if one of us dies we can buy a replacement parent. (They have those right?) Yes, it's all logic, and no emotion at this point. I know, this is very dramatic, but the baby has been especially demanding/rambunctious/cranky/hitty/biting/ and I'm not handling it very well. (I know, shocking) And I have full time childcare during the day while I'm working!  I'm not even a stay at home mom!

Believe it or not, I once had grand dreams of being a stay at home mom.  In fact, when I realized that it wasn't going to be a possibility for me, I was quite disappointed.  Ha Ha, what silly delusions I had. Now I know that I need to work, I need time away from my baby.  I absolutely love dropping him off at the nursery in the morning, it makes picking him up at the end of the day even better.

And I'm delighted at the idea of having a nanny next year!  I don't even care if people judge me for this. It's who I am, and while I'm not proud of it, I know it's what I need to be a sane parent the rest of the time. I  really don't know how people spend all day taking care of babies and toddlers,  it's absolutely, ridiculously exhausting. And I have so much respect for stay at home moms and dads who do it every day.  Kudos to you guys, you're amazing, and possibly magical.

If you see me this week, don't tell me I look tired.  And for the love of everything that's good and holy, do not tell me to nap when the baby is napping.  I can not be held responsible for my actions.

But seriously, I do love this little guy more than life itself, even if he is wearing me down day by day. I don't know how to cope with how much attention he needs at the moment, he's becoming such a toddler! And I'm definitely savoring how sweet he is when he's sleeping.  I love how he's clutching both the toy and the cracker, even while asleep.  MAH PRECIOUSSSS!

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