Monday, June 25, 2012

Nap Time Tricks

I'm loving my time to work and play at home this summer. Mainly, it has been busier than I anticipated. It doesn't require the same kind of effort that I gave to the school year. In some ways it is easier, like when I allow myself breaks to build block towers with my toddler or to sit and soak in the moment of my son transforming yet another object in our home into a weapon, shooting at me while I guzzle coffee.  In some ways though, the stamina it takes to be an at home mommy AND get stuff done has put me to the test.

It's been well over two years since I gave birth to my son, and I'm still learning life can be wildly interrupted and still be productive and fun. It's the code of children all over the world to splice into Mommy and Daddy's work flow and schedule.  There's a lot of flexibility and understanding and patience that comes with two years practice, but being at home full time means a complex web of relaxation and erratic bouts of extreme home makeover as soon as toddler finds fascination in his book or banana.

By far and large, there is only one thing I dread when I think about being with my toddler all week, just he and I. It's not spilled milk or relentless piles of toys finding their way into my sun room.  It isn't ridiculous nonsense banter between us. I'm more than okay with all of that.

I dread the ten minutes after he has fallen asleep for his nap.  The house is so quiet.  So quiet. I peek into the master bedroom and see the soft lighting and carefully made golden comforter, and it calls me like a crack dealer in an alley. 

As a child, my siblings and I would have the chance to stay with Grandma and Grandpa Heitkamp for a couple days during the week kind of visit. On more than one occasion, I witnessed my Grandma taking a mid-day cat nap.  I spied her curled near the cast iron stove on what was likely the most uncomfortable [and cheapest] spread of carpet known to man.  As a child I couldn't figure out how she could possibly wake up, without an alarm, from such a short nap. Looking back I feel like if I had been her, I would have worried that more than twenty minutes would have either set me on fire or sent me into the chiropractor for a back realignment.

If I say yes to the Crack Dealin' Comforter, I black out for two hours.  I can't do short naps, long naps, or any variety of naps.  So, here are the cheesy tricks I've developed to utilize in those ten minutes to make sure I don't say 'yes' to the allure of my bed:

1. The Timer
As a time management strategy, this can be used anytime. However, at the nap time dip of energy, I see it as a way to negotiate a compromise with myself.  I do one "rotation" at minimum.  If I am so absolutely exhausted that I still feel like taking a nap after the rotation, then fine.  However, I've never had that happen.

Here's how:  Set your timer for 25 minutes.  Get to work in one area of your home.  Do everything you can to clean/work in that area for 25 minutes. Do not touch your cell phone, laptop, Kindle, etc. for any reason until your timer announces that you can rest for 5-10 minutes.

* I used this method during the school year when I was exhausted at the end of the day but knew that I had even more work to do after Thomas went to bed. It works like a charm!

2. The Frog
To "eat the frog with breakfast" means to tackle your most dreaded task 1st thing that day.  When in teaching mode, I tried to stick by this rule as a means to get the energy and enthusiasm started in the morning.  However, while at home, I've found it is necessary that I eat another frog at nap time.  For me, I like making life at nap time feel like a new day, once again.

For a reference point, sweet Betty Beguiles wrote about her experience using this method. Check it out.

3. The Question
This method is equal parts silly and simple. I merely ask myself a question to get my lazy butt moving in the right direction.

Who do you admire? Imagine what he or she is doing as you're contemplating the easy road.

My question always changes, considering what inspiring person I've studied or met as of late.  Today, my question was: "What's Ron Clark doing right now?" [He's not taking a nap. That's for dang sure!]

What's your trick for creating energy when you are most in need?  I would love to hear your tips!


  1. Oh my goodness. It's raining there and you're pregnant. If I were you, I would have taken two naps. :)

  2. Ashley,its Tracie (Im at Ellens) and find your blog interesting and taking me back
    in time with my little ones. Napping, it turns out, is an interesting subject of controversy. What do i do when i need energy? Sadly, i go for my Mobil coffee/cappuccino cocktail from Mobil EVEN if I've just walked for an hour with your mom and am sweating bullets. And I love giving into naps on a rainy day (where did those go???) but i also remember the opportunity to accomplish some things on my long-neglected to-do lists when the kids were little. You sound like such a wonderful mom (had a good one, right?), and time manager.
    Glad your are having a productive and fun summer with Thomas (cutest kid ever!) and by the way, congrates on the new job!!! Sounds like you are going to be a great asset to the school and a have the opportunity to make a real impact on the kids. Say hi to Paul! Enjoy the rest of your summer!

    1. Tracie! My heart is warm thinking of you paying a visit to my blog. I'm all for a rainy day nap as well. Love them! I also love as many caffeinated drinks as I feel my health can handle. :)

      Thanks for all your encouragement and sweet motherly love. I miss you!