Chicago mom’s secret affair with Javier

I was supposed to get it all together this school year. With three children finally in full-day programs, I planned to join the gym, do more freelance writing, and decorate my entire home. I would be fit, with spending money. My home would resemble a Pier 1 showroom. With hours and hours of free time, I could also volunteer, hold sick babies, and write research grants for hospitals.

Stop laughing.

Sadly, I quickly discovered that my chances of finding a cure for cancer were nil. No baby seal would be saved on my watch.


I napped.

After years of rapid-fire baby production, potty training, colicky infants, pushing kids on swings, pulling kids in wagons and wiping everything that leaked, I was exhausted. It was as though years of adrenaline and Red Bull had finally worn off and it was now time to crash.

And boy, did I crash.


My new routine was established. Starting at 6 a.m., I would spend the better part of two hours readying my boys for school, making lunches, hustling people out the door, and driving to various drop-off locations. I would then arrive back at home, run the dishwasher and start a load of laundry.

After that?

I had a standing date with my Tempur-Pedic.

Or as I called him, “Javier.”

Javier and I knew what we were doing was wrong. Stay-at-home moms weren’t supposed to nap. Naps put us in the same category as slackers, loafers and members of Congress. No, we must never admit to our untoward affair, no matter how good it felt afterward.

Despite the initial guilt, I cherished these naps. Other moms would call and try to get me on-board with their crack-of-dawn fitness regimens. Some moms suggested I needed to go back to work. Even my husband grew suspicious when I became systematically unreachable between 8:30 and 10 a.m.

But here’s the thing: I am not a slacker. My three boys have extremely active and full lives that require my participation, administrative aptitude, shuttling abilities and time. From the moment they get home until bedtime (about six hours), it is go, go, go.

I consider motherhood to be the best job I have ever had. Yet it took years of working in corporate America to realize that the non-stop worker bee approach is not the way to go. Worker bees inevitably become martyrs, clinging to the hope that their sacrifices will be celebrated and appreciated. Instead of achieving job satisfaction, they become resentful and isolated. Their co-workers avoid them and nobody ever invites them to lunch.

I did not want to be a resentful worker bee mom. I wanted to go to Mr. Sub with my kids and have everyone happy to be there. I did not want to spend years groaning about how everything I did was for my children, and not for me.

And that is why I nap.

That is also why you should never ever call me between 8:30 and 10 a.m.

Javier wouldn’t like it.

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