The Secret Life of Parents

When I was a kid, I wondered what my parents did after I went to bed.  I imagined all sorts of fun things going on.  The only thing that I remember is my mom spilling a glass of Diet Coke on the white living room carpet once after I had gone to bed.  I heard about it the next day.  Even that sounded fun and interesting.  After all, I knew how much trouble I’d get into it if I spilled something like that on the white carpet.

Now I can see my daughter starting to think about this.  For example, sometimes when we put her down for a nap, she’ll instruct us on what to do, which is usually to take a nap of our own.  Recently she even told my husband to put on his pajamas and go lie down under the covers.  We laugh about it.  After all, what parent wouldn’t love a two-hour afternoon nap?  But, napping is not what usually happens.  I’ve been thinking about this secret life of parents.  Nap time and bed time are sometimes the times that we live for.  Here’s some of what we do in our secret lives from the kiddos.

1. Housework.  Toddlers love to be helpful.  Mine wants to help with everything, which is very nice, but also sometimes inhibiting.  So, I save some housework tasks for when she’s asleep for her safety and my sanity.

2. Work.  Most of her nap times are when I do my work.

3. Eat.  Yes, we eat together, but I have breakfast before she gets up (this is my alone time and my time to get started on my to-do list for the day).  I also sometimes wait and eat lunch after she goes down for her nap so that I can eat in peace and maybe even do something sort of fun like watch a few minutes of a favorite TV show.

4. Shower.  Yep, I do this when she is asleep.  It’s easier that way.

5. Play games.  Maybe not all parents do this, but we are gamers, so when she’s snoozing, we get a chance to play games.  That said, this doesn’t happen nearly as often as I’d like.

6. Watch television/a movie.  On Sunday afternoons, especially, we are apt to hang out on the couch together and watch something while the kiddo naps.

7. Nap.  Occasionally this happens.  I love the times I get to nap when she is.  I just like naps.  I only wish I got them more often.

8. Run errands.  OK, this obviously doesn’t happen when I’m home alone with her, but sometimes when my husband is working from home, I can use her nap time to do things on my own like get a hair cut.

9. Pick up toys.  While the kiddo is working on picking up her own toys these days, we have times where we need to help get things back on track.  Doing so when she’s sleeping is much easier.

10. Write blog posts.  This kind of falls into the work category, but I really wanted the list to be a nice even number, so I wanted to add a number 10.  Sometimes I have written blog posts while she’s awake, but for the most part, I do them when she’s asleep.

Like all kids, mine will continue to wonder what we do while she’s asleep.  She’ll imagine fun and glamor, perhaps.  And sometimes fun does happen, but most of the time it’s work of some sort.  We don’t play with her toys, read her books or even sit on the floor to play.  The things we call fun, she wouldn’t anyway.  And so we do these things in our secret lives when she’s asleep.

What do you do when your kids are asleep?

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