One of the blessings of being retired for me is that I can take a nap whenever I feel like it and not feel guilty. Ever since my first pregnancy, I have been a mid-day napper. It started then and maybe it became a habit more than a necessity, but I never got over it.
It could be a genetic trait. My dad napped every chance he got. He didn't need a lounge chair or a cot. We could be playing cards and a conversation would stall the game. Dad took the chance to doze off. As soon as the game got underway again, we'd say, "Dad, your bid," and he would be instantly alert, put in his bid and the game went on as if uninterrupted.
I worked in a law office the first few years after my marriage and into my first pregnancy. That is when the almost impossible-to-ignore urge to take a nap in early afternoon hit. My boss didn't come back to work after lunch until two o'clock. Like Dad, I could lean back in my chair, drop my head and fall asleep for 20 minutes. When I woke up I was refreshed and ready to get back to work. I never felt I was cheating my employer because I got more accomplished in the first hour after a nap than I could accomplish in two hours without one. And, of course, I was there to answer the phone and the client on the other end of the line didn't know they were interrupting my snooze.
Then the baby was born and I became a full-time stay-a- home mom. There was no problem finding time for a nap. When she napped, so did I. She was four when I once again became pregnant. She was beginning to think she didn't need nap time anymore. She had it anyway, because her mom needed it. I didn't want anyone to know I was such a wimp and never 'fessed up to my guilty secret.
Living seven miles out of town meant it was unusual for anyone to stop in unannounced but I remember one day when it happened. A loud knocking on the front door somewhere between 1 and 2 in the afternoon woke me. It was a friend who lived across the section from us. She was thirty years older than I and had probably not slept in the afternoon since she was a child. She was known as a non-stop worker. That knowledge added to my discomfort at having been caught sleeping. I greeted her and she said, "I'll bet I woke you, didn't I?"
I tried to cover up by lying. "No, I was at the other end of the house so I may not have heard you right away," I said. She had been working in her flowers and handed me a bag of her excess iris bulbs. She stayed just a few minutes and as I closed the door behind her, I glanced into the decorative mirror that hung by my front door. Across the side of my face were three long red marks, pressed there by my chenille bedspread. I hadn't fooled her for a minute.
But now I am retired. It is okay if I am caught napping. I look back and wonder why I ever thought anyone else gave a care whether I slept at odd times or not. No one was neglected and I was causing no problems when I was sacked out on the couch or sprawled across my chenille bedspread.
Friends drop in often now that we live in town. A visitor may interrupt my snooze but I don't mind. Those snoozes are on no schedule. If I get up early, I may take a nap before lunch and again after lunch. I take my naps whenever I want and it makes no difference to me who knows it. I have even taken a nap to get up the energy to go to bed for the night. Ah, the freedom of being retired and old enough to allow myself to be lazy.