Friday, August 13, 2010

Farewell Naps

I started writing seriously again about the time I got married. I was in college, working, and figuring out how to be a wife, but I always had time to write if I wanted it. Then I had Dino Boy, and suddenly my time wasn't my own. If he was awake, I likely had to feed, change, bathe, or play with him.

But it was all good, because there was still nap time.

Oh, nap time, you sweet hours of freedom. Dino Boy had two naps at first, like most babies, and so I had basically 4-6 hours to work. Plenty of time to write! Even when he went down to one nap, I could do a lot in three hours.

Then Ninja Girl came two years later. She was a PRO sleeper, like, the kind of baby you worry sleeps too much. She slept through the night (12 hours!) at 9 weeks, AND she still took two 3-hour naps every day.

Those were the glory days. During Ninja Girl's morning nap I'd pop in a movie for Dino Boy and write. And the both slept in the afternoon! For three hours!

No wonder I wrote almost seven books that year. I had a lot more free time, free time in which I couldn't leave the house.

Slowly, things have changed since then. First Dino Boy stopped napping—a sad day, indeed. Then Ninja Girl gave up one of her naps. But it was okay! I still had the afternoon nap. I could distract Dino Boy well enough to make some progress.

Well, today is my last day of nap time.

Tomorrow, we get bunk beds (so we can use the other room for a certain Pirate coming to visit), which means Ninja Girl is out of the crib and there's no way she'll nap during the day AND go down at bedtime.

Feel free to imagine me moping, because I kind of am.

I knew this day would come, but still! Writing during nap time was reliable—I could at least get in 1k words or finish a chapter or something. I suck at writing at night...I usually end up watching anime instead. But maybe I won't have a choice. I guess I could wake up early. *snarf* Yeah, right.

Basically I'm freaking out about how I'll get anything done now. Can you tell?

So I'm asking all the mommy writers out there—how do you write with no napping kids? I need a new plan of attack, and I'm not sure what that'll be yet.


  1. Well, I am a daddy writer with an 8year old boy, a 3 year old boy, and TWIN infants... so I feel your pain.

    For me, since I work two jobs, writing comes in place of my own sleep. When the kids are off to bed, and the wife is watching TV late at night or decides to go off to bed, I have to say "nay" to the desire of sleep, and instead, open my laptop.

  2. Do ROOM TIME!
    they don't have to go to sleep but they need to stay in their room. They can read, listen to music, play or color, but they need to be quiet and they can't come out for at least 2 hours.

    That's what we do when our daughter won't go to sleep.

  3. Michael, that's so not what I wanted to hear! Though, well, I pretty much expected that. But..but...I really like sleep! Hehe.

    Erinn, wait, you mean your kids don't scream bloody murder at the door when you do that? Hmm. Mine are kind of like Golem—but them on a leash (or in a room alone) and they freak out. I'll have to at least try it though.

  4. Like Erinn, we have daily quiet time from about 2-4pm. My almost 5-year-old must play quietly, look at books, and "be bored" (according to him), while 2-year-old daughter and 9-month old son really nap. I can't handle the day without quiet time! And although that's SUPPOSED to be my productive writing time, I usually get distracted by my computer world (*ahem* facebook/twitter). But even just the 2 hour break makes me feel human again. Which is good. I don't like being the alien freak mom... unless it's halloween. =)

  5. It was a dark, dark day when Darcy gave up naps about a year ago. A very dark day...I'm still mourning it.

    However, she does have quiet time and she is used to me ignoring her for certain parts of the day. I make sure to get her outside at least once a day, get her exercise, and feed her all her meals. I also make time to play one-on-one with her. If I do all this it's a good exchange that happens - she leaves me alone for 20 - 45 minute intervals during the day. Then I do my really serious writing after she goes to bed.

    You have my sympathy. Really.

  6. Night time. I have to write after they go to bed. No TV or anything else for me. :( But at least I get my writing done.

  7. Sounds like quite a switch! Not a mommy yet... I'll make sure to savor nap times while they last.

  8. Oh nap time, I miss it too. I agree with Daniella, room time worked for me as well.

    I didn't shut the door or anything, but I did use the baby gate so she couldn't escape. I put a movie in, and whatever toys she wanted to play with and told her I had to go to "work" on the computer until the movie was over. She had her juice, snacks, and her lovey, and of course the first few times she screamed and wanted to get out but I told her no, I had to work. After that I ignored the screams. She got used to it and I had about almost 2 hours to myself. Hope that helps.

  9. Summer has really screwed up my son's naptime. He was still going down for 3-3-1/2 hours up until summer vacation started. And then I didn't set my alarm, which meant i didn't wake him at 7, which meant he slept til he woke me up...and now that's like 9 ish. I can't get him down for a nap unless I want him up till 11 or 12. I am satisfied with him going into bed at 9 at night.

    I sometimes get on the computer after the kid's bedtime...but it depends on what I have to do. If it's writing and creating a new story...I'm good. But editing...forget about it. I get so sleepy.

    Carve out whatever time you can. I'm hoping my son will go back to at least a short nap in the afternoon once school starts.

  10. I started waking up early in the morning, once my son's nap times were over. Of course, once school started, I had some time back again.

  11. Man, sounds like a lot of people do quiet time! *crosses fingers it works for me*

  12. I have no children that demand my attention. For this I am thankful :p

  13. In the summer, I get out the slip n slide or the little pool, pop them all in suits, and let them go to town while I follow the shade around the yard and attempt to see the laptop screen in the light.

    In the not-summer? You have no idea how much I'm looking forward to pre-school. Otherwise, it's write two sentences, help get play-doh out of hair, write half a sentence, take daughters on potty break, write one sentence, figure out why someone's crying... etc.

    Speaking of that, someone's crying.

  14. This summer, the only way I got anything done was BABYSITTER.

    As of right now, I will have two days a week while they are all three in school (total of eight hours). If I get hired on for anymore days at the preschool, I will have to resort to hiding myself away as soon as hubby comes home at night, which means I will miss my fave shows. :(

    Quiet time doesn't work for me because my kids are never quiet.

    Hope you can find something that works for you!

    (my word ver. is "napanse" LOL)

  15. Oh, the end of nap time. It is the worst. Thank goodness for the upcoming halcyon preschool days...

    I write a lot on Saturdays. And at night, even though my brain is so, so tired by then.

    You're amazing.

  16. Music is the key... mickey mouse club house, phineas and freb, princess and the frog, if you're really desperate, wonder pets... but pop in a CD of music they know, or BETTER yet, a kids book on CD, and let them listen to that while they are in the room.

    DON'T DO YO GABBA GABBA.., it's not a bad show but the music on the CD is awful.

    Don't use the word nap.. "that's what babies do and you're a big kid."

    If you're lucky, room time can last until they're 5 or 6.
    Then after that, they can get jobs or something.

  17. A thousand words during naptime?!?!? Who are you? Some crazy speed writing ninja? Really?

    I get 1-hour of "quiet time" from #1 (he's four) and two hours of nap time from #2 (she's two). When do you clean...and stuff?

  18. When nap time ended, my world shattered. But I put my kids in front of a movie every day that I'm writing. I never liked the TV as a babysitter, but one movie works for me. They're entertained, I write in the same room with earphones, and everybody is happy.

    Good luck! :D


  19. Wait until Ninja girl and Dino boy have kids of their own. You'd think your time would be your own. No such luck. Granddads and grandmoms are busy people with far too little time to write.

  20. What do I do? Fortunately my wife is at home also and is willing to give me a couple hours a day, most days. Obviously that doesn't help you.

    Quiet time is the best suggestion here (we have that too, but I use it to take a nap because all one hundred of our boys get up at 6). It might be hard to get them into it at first, but if you're willing to police for a few days, they should get used to it.

    And if you can hold out for a couple more years, there's school.

  21. Alas for the naps! Those halcyon days are long gone around here, and with the arrival of #3 are feeling extra dreamy.

    With two, we enforced quiet time from early on. Our oldest could do whatever he wanted in his room as long as he was quiet and didn't come out. Our youngest still has the long nap, but we're about to have the shared room scenario going on, so I'm not sure how that will work out. Have you thought to have quiet time/naps in two different rooms? Put one in the master bedroom one in their room?

    All that to say, I still never got any writing time done during naps - just too drained. The only way I can write at night is if I go out - somehow I can rally through the tiredness if I know I can get a couple of hours at Starbucks.

    The best writing time I have is on one weekend day. My husband and I split it for our own personal down time. Either of us can do whatever we want for four hours or so and the other will man the kids. I admit, it's often hard to turn down an afternoon of browsing at the bookstore or something else lowkey, but really having that chunk of writing time has allowed me to write regularly. And both of us end up being much more refreshed after.

    Good luck! It's tough with little ones. Sometimes I wonder if the sleep deprivation is what keeps the creativity going - ha!

  22. You're sacrificing nap time for ME? That's probably the nicest thing anyone's done for me in a long, long time.


  23. I don't have kids myself yet, but my mom, who's a composer, used to sit down at her piano after the dinner dishes every night. She'd play for an hour or two, and we were all trained in the ways of interrupt-Mom-and-she'll-lose-her-melody-and-then-kill-us. It was harder for the little guys, but my dad was around to help corral everyone. Half the time we ended up sitting around listening to her anyway. :)
    She was also a practitioner of quiet room time.

  24. Oh, Daily Nap, how I miss thee . . .

    I dedicated 30 minutes play time for them during the day (or I popped in a 30-minute video every now and then when play time wasn't working out).

    My sons were willing to play in their room and my daughter was happy being with me no matter what we're doing, so I would give her some paper and crayons and she would draw or write while I did.

    You have to get a little more creative, but it is possible. There were (and are) days I didn't get any time to write, but I can usually find an hour. As they get older and can entertain themselves more, you'll be able to get more time for writing.

  25. Awww I feel for you. Good luck!