Sunday, October 6, 2013

Habit Forming - Day 5 - The No Nap Habit

One habit I worked hard to break myself of is napping. That's right I have a no-nap habit.

Growing up Saturday and Sunday afternoons were reserved for napping. In fact, I do believe I typically napped daily even in high school - falling asleep doing homework between school and dinner counts as a nap, right? Sunday afternoons when we got home from church, after lunch, my sister and I would curl up on the couch and put on a movie - usually something along the Jane Austen lines. Then fall asleep. It was always my favorite part of the week.

When I moved out on my own, I continued my napping habit on the weekends. Lounging around lazily, waking up and ordering a pizza. It was heavenly. After Mr. Amen and I married, we kept the tradition going. Weekend naps were the best cuddled up with my fella. After we welcomed our son, we were tired new parents so when the baby napped in the afternoons, so did we. And we continued this tradition up until recently.

One thing that bothered me as I got older was that I no longer found the naps to be refreshing. I would wake up with a headache and remain sluggish for the remainder of the day. I had the feeling I had wasted my "free-time" by sleeping and hadn't accomplished anything on my ten mile long to-do list.

So I quit.
Cold Turkey Style

Now I am a committed no-napper. Am I still tired in the afternoons? You bet, but I don't give in to the temptation to lay down and rest my eyes. Not even for 10 minutes. Not even if I set the timer. Not even if I set my alarm clock. Not even if I know the kids will be up in 20 minutes. I do not nap.

I use the time to catch-up in the middle of the day to keep things from becoming completely overwhelming by the end of the day. Nap-time is now mommy's break time. Well, if you consider these things a break:

  • Pick-up the family room/living room/dining room/kitchen of any toys/clothes/other random crap that has found its way to these spaces. This is critical to keeping me sane for the rest of the day. By the time the kids go for their afternoon naps (or quiet time for my oh-so-grown-up 4 year old who refuses to nap), the house is destroyed. They have to pick up before naps, but then I do the real heavy lifting after they are in their rooms.
  • Start dinner. Sometimes I cook the meal at nap time, then just heat it up at dinner time. Sometimes I do my mise en place during naps. Sometimes I do my baking if dinner doesn't require any pre-work.
  • Read. I take at least 15-30 minutes to sit down and read. It can be blogs, other stuff online, a book, a newspaper, a devotional, my Bible, doesn't matter. I just try to do some reading each day.
  • Work on our finances - update the checking account register, pay bills, etc. It is much easier to concentrate on this stuff when the kids aren't hanging on my arm or asking to watch the Alphabet Song again and again.
  • Pray. I might spend some time in prayer specifically for my husband or I might saw a Rosary or a Divine Mercy Chaplet. I might just spend some time meditating on the day's readings from Mass.
  • Every now and then I get the chance to watch TV. I am partial to Food Network (though I think the commercials they are airing are getting out-of-hand and are no longer always child friendly). Sometimes I'll watch an episode of The Office on Ne.tflix. We all need time to zone out, right?
  • Laundry reset. I'll go move the load I started in the morning from the washer to the dryer. If there is still a load in the dryer, I'll fold it. If I am feeling especially ambitious, I might start another load or if I am washing cloth diapers that day, those require three full cycles (well, really only 2 cycles and an extra rinse, but I usually do another full cycle instead of just the rinse to make sure all the soap has gotten out), I will start them up again, knowing I'll need to do another wash that night before drying them in the dryer or hanging them on the line the next morning.
Not napping has made a big difference in the rhythm of my day. It gives me the "break" I need to accomplish things without the kids hanging on me. It gives me time to "catch up" and get my peace of mind - or just a piece of my mind - back before the afternoon/evening routine kicks off around here.

So, on day 5 of my Habit Forming Challenge, this is what happened:
  • Out of bed at 7:30am, showered and dressed.
  • Both kids up, dressed and fed (liquids at least) so we could leave on time at 8:30am sharp for picture day at football. Che.erios in the car for all :-)
  • Picture Day at flag football. It was just my darling SIL and I with only 4 kids between us, so you think we would've been fine. But not really. It was about 85 degrees and humid inside the building where they were taking the pictures...and there was a gaggle of 4-5-and-6 year olds running around like chickens being prepped for supper. All the big kids decided they needed to use the potty at once so we took over the unisex, handicapped bathroom to wrangle them all. The 6 year old thought it was sooooo fun to push the door opener button repeatedly, until he was threatened with an untimely death, then it ceased to be fun. The 5 year old was having trouble with her pink leggings and was too giggly about us all being together in the bathroom. The 4 year old struggled with his belt and required Auntie's help to wrangle his boy-bits out from under his extra long football jersey. And the 1 year old just thought the under-side of the sink was the coolest thing she'd ever come across. Meantime, Auntie and I just about sweated our derrieres off and I wondered why I had chosen to wear light grey sweat/yoga pants. Now I couldn't sit down because when I stood back up all my sweaty grossness would be visible. 
  • Flag football game!!! The kids had a blast.
  • Home for lunch and naps for the kids and Mr. Amen.
  • Laundry
  • Finances
  • Reading
  • NO DINNER PREP!! Well, I mean, I did make sure we had chicken nuggets in the freezer and mac 'n cheese in the cupboard. My parents came over to watch the kids so we could go out for an adult evening!!
  • Eucharistic Adoration of the exposed Sacrament for an hour. I had the chapel all to myself as my holy hour is during Mass at my parish. Sometimes at the beginning of the hour there are a few people finishing up their penance having just come from the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), but not this time. There were 2 other Adorers there when I arrived and they both promptly left at 4pm. No one else even came in until 5pm. It was so refreshing to spend an hour with Jesus and to have Him all to myself :-) Swoon! I'm in love.
  • Dinner and movie date with Mr. Amen. He looked so handsome in his jeans, dress shirt and jacket. He's a snazzy dresser that husband of mine. I wore a nice outfit (should've taken a picture) - maternity jeans (what's up, stretchy waist!?!?), a white tank top, a black maternity/nursing tank over that, with a black sweater with green accents, my green pendant necklace and houndstooth high heels (6-inch). Unfortunately my hair was in a ponytail and I wasn't wearing any makeup, but pregnancy glow, right?
  • Indian food for dinner, Rus.h for the movie. We're Fo.rmula 1 fans, what can we say?
  • Loaded dishwasher, watched some TV, did some more reading.

So a good, productive day, especially considering all the sweating I did early in the morning at football.

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