Experiments in Naps

So I’ve been napping at naptime. I’m not pregnant. I’m not (always) sick. I don’t have a newborn.

At first I felt kind of guilty about this. I could prep dinner! I could write! I could finish one of the zillion books I’m currently alternating.

But the house grows quiet and I know, now that Pippin is finally taking quiet time instead of naptime (RIP NAP), that I’ve got exactly one hour free.

I ask myself, as I have ever since mastering the simultaneous nap, what would be most sustaining for myself, and often, I lie down. Sometimes I read or write a bit from the horizontal. Usually I transfer a load of laundry or turn on the slow cooker before I lie down. But I generally end up in the same place.

I felt embarrassed, until I confessed my new habit to my husband. He pointed out that stillness often leads to breakthroughs and refreshment. He reminded me that he generally doesn’t listen to anything on his walk to work, and I recalled how he’d often solve difficult problems in his thesis by taking a break and doing something entirely different.

This season has been my season of monastic reading, mostly unintentional. First there was A Canticle for Leibowitzthen In This House of BredeIn the latter, particularly, there’s a tension between the old order nuns and the new, young nuns, who, even in their cloistered order, long for productivity, efficiency.

For several years, I’ve mostly used the St. Benedict Prayer Book. The night prayer includes the psalm: “Ponder on your bed and be still.”

I’m not a good ponderer. Or, I mean, I suppose I’m a person who likes to think (hence this here blog), but I also have a deep commitment to proving my right to take up space through efficiency, output, motion. And the next line, lest we forget, is “Make justice your sacrifice and trust in the Lord.” It is not enough to spend my days lazing, neglecting house and home and justice all in one, but it is valuable, perhaps, for just a beat, to ponder on my bed and be still.

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May we all nap as thoroughly.
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Author: Katherine Grimm Bowers

Babies. Books. Fledgling housewifery. Once and future librarian. Catholic. Always thinking about chocolate ice cream.

4 thoughts on “Experiments in Naps”

  1. This is post came at just the right time for me. I’ve been so, so exhausted lately and feeling guilty about napping when Leo naps or not being productive enough in the evenings or worse, resentful that I can’t get anything done when he’s awake. I keep needing to remind myself that my primary vocation is wife and mother, not writer, small business owner, etc. Not that those aren’t important, but if I can’t rest, then I’m unable to live out my primary vocation well.

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  2. Good for you! I do think it’s funny that you prefaced it with the announcement that it’s not an announcement. Increased napping is one of my pregnancy tells. 🙂

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