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Fatherhood and the joy of naps

Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

I remember reading somewhere that, in Japan, napping on the job is not frowned upon. It’s taken as a sign that the employee has been working so hard they literally need to take that break to recharge. While I don’t like the idea of anyone working so long and hard they literally collapse from exhaustion, I do like the idea of work naps not being frowned upon. 

I’ve always thrived best in a deadline driven – rather than a daily schedule driven – work environment. I’ve had a few jobs where my employer didn’t care when or how I worked, as long as everything was completed by a due date, and I’ve generally thrived in those types of environments. This flexibility, in the best cases, included having no qualms about propping my feet up on my desk and closing my eyes for a bit if I needed to. (I was young, and night life was much more important to me than it is today.) 

Today, of course, I work mostly from home, which has its own benefits and challenges. There are so many more distractions when the procrastination bug hits. For instance, I really need to change those upstairs outlets. Maybe I should just step away from the keyboard for a minute and… 

But the very best part of working from home has to be getting to lie down and snooze for a few minutes with the toddler. Whether we stretch out on the couch or, more often than not, cuddle up under the quilt on the bed, it’s something I look forward to every day. Even when I have work that I need to finish, or am not particularly tired, I make it a point to lie down with him for a little while.

Sure, there is a practical aspect to this. The longer I cuddle him, the deeper he sleeps, and the easier it is for me to sneak out of bed without waking him – letting him get the good nap he needs and allowing me to get some uninterrupted work time. 

But it’s more than the pragmatic. I’m sure this will come as no shock to any other parents out there, but as a first time parent I was not prepared for just how doggone happy it makes me to watch him sleep. The shuddering of his little hands while he dreams, the drowsy exhalations and tiny snorts, the way he reaches out in his sleep to make sure you’re still there and pet your arm – people have been preparing me since day one to cherish these things because they won’t last. So, I’m not missing any of it I don’t have to. 

I know that I’m beyond blessed that I get to spend so much time with him, and that is isn’t a privilege most other jobs would afford me. 

I also know the justifications for naps are entirely different between a middle-aged, slacker editor/dad and a dedicated Japanese businessman, but I think the Japanese are definitely onto something with these nap breaks. I know I’ll keep taking them as long as the baby allows it. 

Jeremy D. Wells can be reached at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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