Nap Guilt

Yesterday, after returning from a five day long trip which required leaving my wife at home with both kids, I took a nap.  Now before you call the police, I want you to know it was an accident. There was no premeditation involved, so at worst I’m guilty only of involuntary napping. I fell asleep with my coat on and the only thing more indicative of an unwitting snooze is dozing off while standing.

My wife was nice enough not to wake me up and say, “Um…no.” At the same time, she didn’t put a blanket on me, dim the lights or even hush the children. If I were to nap, I would have to do so within a hostile environment while clad in winter gear. I agree, it’s only fair. Nor was she particularly nurturing upon my waking. “Wow, I took a nap.” I said, innocently. From inside the blanket tent in which she was playing Candy Land with a three year-old wielding a flashlight, she responded with a monotone, “Yup, you did.” I wasn’t necessarily in trouble and no charges would be filed, but I was clearly indebted.

Furthering my defense of this heinously selfish act, you should know that we’d just returned from an exhausting visit to the Liberty Science Center where we crawled through 80 feet of dark tunnels and I ate a cheeseburger in 42 seconds. Plus, I was (and still am) on west coast time. Yes, technically it was only noon on the west coast but there’s this thing called jet lag, which at times can cause even the most dedicated and loving father to shirk his parenting responsibilities.

It’s actually amazing that I nap as infrequently as I do. Falling asleep is in my genes. Sure it’s in everyone’s genes, but in mine it plays a more prominent role. My most salient childhood memories are those of my father napping on our blue sofa in his underwear. He might have been wearing clothes but my brain has a tendency to take things from the past and punch them up a bit. My mother, by contrast, has never been seen lying down during the day. If I witnessed her in any such position, I would immediately call the paramedics. Like a normal person she sits, stands or walks until it’s bedtime, then she goes about a predictable routine and slips into a comfortable bed where she sleeps without moving until she wakes as if in a Lunesta commercial: happy, energetic and ready to tackle the day. So I’m a mix of that: part of me tries to sit and be alert when the sun is up, while another equally powerful element compels me to tilt my head back and snore like a cartoon character.

But oh what a tremendous dad I was after that nap. I’m not sure if it was driven by guilt or an hour of REM sleep, but I built forts, played indoor tag replete with “goofy running,” read Mac and Cheese books and even played a card game called “Slamwich”until well after 9pm. My wife took that opportunity to don her bedtime pants and practice Temple Run Brave on her iPhone.

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Jil says:

OMFG SLAMMICH.

My husband and I have owned this for 4 years.  We do not have kids.

KatyA says:

My husband knows the consequences of falling asleep on the job. 1) Facebook will see pics or it will be the new wallpaper on his phone. 2) No quarter will be given, but vacuuming and dishes will happen … loudly. 3) He will be teased mercilessly when he wakes up. Unless he let me sleep in. Then he gets a 45-min pass. I still daydream about the days I used to sleep till noon.

That great bit of fatherhood you had? That was guilt.

Anh Tran says:

You are right on all the time! I feel guilty laughing everyday without contributing. How do we show our support? Is there a book to buy? Peddle something!

Jason says:

The naps I’ve tried to take have ended in eye gouging, assault with a 3YO’s weapon, pulling the pillow from under my head to the sound of a Dr. Evil laugh, etc. I now fall asleep at my own peril, and I know it. Oh, and I get the monotone answers thereafter as well, so you’re not alone.

Jason
The Cheeky Daddy

Theodore Rodrigo McLane says:

I laughed so hard at this one. I will no longer wage a war with my spouse when he passes out cold in the middle of the floor during the day. I can’t say that I’ll be able to catch our 20-month old in time as she pushes Play-doh into his hair.

Jennifer Bailey Moe says:

This was HYSTERICAL! I try to nap as much as I can with a 2 & 3 year old and never for a moment feel guilty. :0)

Stacy Horton Harris says:

I get the dreaded sleep hangover, while my husband cab nap for three hours straight and feel great after. So jealous of people who can nap!! Dave Harris – you must read this one!!

Kelly-Sue Gatti says:

I would agree with Angela that my husband could write this but he totally wouldn’t … Looks like your wife is lucky you atleast feel guilty about it! lol

Nancy says:

I have never intentionally done anything nasty to poor Daddy when he falls asleep during the day. However, I was once very unsympathetic when our then 18-month old whacked napping Daddy with a metal spoon and actually gave the man a black eye. I was making dinner and doing 10 other things, so when the kid asked for a big spoon I handed it over. I can’t be held responsible for what happened after that.

Angela Leisen Seeley says:

This could have been written by my husband, he “accidentally” naps all the time!

Ruby Claire Matheny says:

Jason Good you are agreeable with the level of sarcasm I prefer. Like, every blog post. Kudos.

Lauren Kapitan says:

We take a family nap on the weekend when everyone is home. Its just us and our three year old, so maybe when he is older they will fade away.

Krissie Reds says:

Haha!! That was great!

Jody Good says:

Now do you understand the rubber hammer?

Well, atleast you “made up for it”…: )