naptime guilt

Now that my dissertation is done, or at least turned in to my committee (they may yet suggest revisions, but I doubt any of them have read it yet), Daniel's naptime is now my free time again. True, I have a big recital in just over three weeks, but I don't risk practicing while he's sleeping any more. (Usually I get most practicing done on the weekend and in the early evening when Stuart's home from work, and if I need extra time, I have the sitter come over.)

This feels weird, this hour or so in the middle of the day when I can do what I want. Daniel was a terrible napper until early this summer. At that time, first-trimester fatigue had me so wiped out I would either sit on the couch staring into space or nod off while he slept. By the time he started sleeping more than 30 minutes in a stretch (though still at completely unpredictable times), I was frantically writing every chance I got, so his naptime wasn't a "break" so much as a free hour to work on my paper (by "free," I mean I wasn't paying a sitter--it really adds up, you know). And now, I'm not sure what to do with myself. I usually get some cleaning done, and take care of laundry or diaper-washing, and if I'm feeling particularly motivated and housewifely, I might even get dinner started. Sometimes there is important school-related emailing to do as well.

But if I let myself read a book or knit or putter around online for more than five or ten minutes at a time instead of doing those eye-crossingly boring yet essential tasks, I feel a sense of something not right. I guess it's guilt, that feeling of spending my time relaxing in the middle of a perfectly good workday, knowing I could get other things accomplished. I even feel a little guilty about blogging right now, even though I got a solid practice session in this morning and the dishes are clean...but the diapers in the washing machine need another cycle and there is a mess on the computer desk that is mostly mine, and we need another batch of bread and there are probably 100 other mundane things I could think of to do that would make me feel like I'm not lazy if I actually do them.

I'm not looking for re-assurance here. Everyone who reads this could say "Susan, you deserve that break! You need it! Just relax!"; heaven knows enough people have told me that already--my mom, my husband, my friends who also have kids. It won't change anything, though. I will still feel like I'm being unproductive and that it's somehow wrong.


Animal said…
Okay...I'll just commisserate (geez, that's tough to spell! Prolly still wrong...) and agree that unproductive free time feels wrong. I'm luckily up north spending time with family & friends, so there are lots of people who want to hold The Rozzle...and, therefore, I can more-or-less read my bloglist guilt-free. At home, though...nope. Gotta be doin' SUMTHIN'.

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