My Husband's Lunch Break Naps Reminded Me of the Importance of Self-care

One mom explains how her husband's naps helped her self-reflect.

Adult male in casual clothes lying on couch and napping in cozy living room at home
Photo: Martí Sans / Stocksy

A few weeks ago, my husband started a new tradition: he would come home from work during his lunch break and take a nap. The first day he came home for lunch and quietly went upstairs to lay down, I was very kind and understanding. I knew he was feeling under the weather that day and was taking a few minutes to allow his body to rest.

But by day four of his lunch break naps my somewhat angsty and overwhelmed self was annoyed.

I had this inner dialogue as I tiptoed around our home during his precious nap time.

"Oh, don't mind me, I'm just going to fold this mountain of laundry while you rest."

"Will the vacuum be too loud for you? Because our offspring have managed to leave a trail of Cheetos Puffs dust all over the floors."

I would sneak into our bedroom to grab the dirty laundry, tiptoeing Grinch style, as if little Cindy Lou Who would wake to find all her Christmas gifts missing. I cast a glance (glare, maybe?) at him lying on the bed and wondered if he was really sleeping, or just faking it.

Where was all this anger coming from? Why did my husband sleeping make me so furious?

My primary job for the past seven-plus years has been to keep small humans alive, and I have lost endless hours of sleep and a hefty bag's worth of my hair. I have also lost my ability for self-care. So you can understand the root of my resentment.

As I exited our bedroom quietly one more time, my less angsty and slightly more reasonable self announced: "Just because you have zero chill doesn't mean that everyone else should operate that way. Perhaps you should take a page out of your husband's book and allow yourself to rest once in a while."

As you can imagine, I was a bit peeved with this version of myself. How will we ever have clean clothes or food or be up to date on our vaccines if I give my body rest?

Deep down, I always knew how important self-care is as a parent. I even wrote a children's book for moms to remind us that we cannot carry it all on our own, and that self-care is not only great, it is also vital to our well-being. But I, like so many other moms, forgot to prioritize it for myself. It took seeing my husband take that time for himself—even if it was just a nap during his lunch break—to remind myself that I needed to put my to-do list away for a bit and just sit down.

Being frustrated (jealous? angry?) with my husband for prioritizing his well-being is just plain stupid. He is modeling the behavior I should be adopting. By allotting this time for rest, he is doing himself and his people a huge service.

I am proud to admit that I have begun to incorporate these small (OK, baby steps) windows of rest into my days. I've been making time to read more, and I'm trying to stay caught up with my favorite shows, which I watch while our youngest son is at preschool.

I have found that these moments are life-giving. Prioritizing rest and self-care (even if it's in the form of crying your eyes out during an episode of your favorite show) isn't just a sweet catchphrase for a sticker; it is necessary—for yourself and your family.

May my husband's lunch break naps also serve as your reminder that your well-being is important, and worthy of tending to.

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