Nap Roulette: A Game For All The Family

The car-to-cot transfer. The premature nap. The Sky Sports snooze. Everywhere you look, you’re running the gauntlet with the mother’s most precious commodity: sleep. This is a game for all the family. The wheel’s always spinning but who’s got the balls? Welcome to Nap Roulette.
Baby Nap Roulette: The Baby Always Wins
My pulse is racing, my palms are sweaty, my jaw is clenched in concentration. I’m throwing in all my chips. I’m about to attempt to transfer the sleeping baby from the car to the cot. It’s the greatest gamble of all. My sanity depends on it.
But as any mother knows, the success of baby naptime is in inverse proportion to how much you need him to sleep. If I’m planning to get my head down while he continues to slumber, his seatbelt clip will grab on to his belt hook as I ease him out and won’t let go till he is fully awake. Or a damn bird will burst into its sweet song and wreck the whole plan. Even if we’re already home, I have tried so many times to “sleep while the baby sleeps” on the advice of some great pranksters, and every time, just as I’m about to drop off, there comes that telltale wail. I have lost again.
Conversely, when you don’t want the baby to go to sleep, as you – with desperate optimism – wish to “save” his nap till later when you’re attending a school assembly / driving 300 miles to your in-laws / having your smear, his little eyes will cutely close while you’re clearing up breakfast. After all, the first rule of Baby Nap Roulette is that The Baby Always Wins. But I can forgive him that, the little angel. Adult Nap Roulette is a different matter, however.
Adult Nap Roulette AKA The Marriage-Wrecker

Nothing lives longer in the marital memory than an unapproved nap.

Most couples work out a way to survive the sleep-deprived years. At the weekend, my husband and I have a tag-team lie-in system. One of us gets to lie in, while the other keeps the children quiet by any means possible; then the other gets a lie-back later. How much later depends on how early the household was raised, what time we have to be out of the house – and how many brownie points have been accrued during the week. For example, if he came home at midnight following “one pint after work” on Friday, I send in the dogs (my heat-seeking missile baby and however many of his brothers can bestir themselves from the box) within the hour.
But this has its flipside. He will get up, sure. But then he will say, “You go back to bed. I’m going to need a nap later, though.”
I’m going to need a nap later?!?  
And there it is.  The gauntlet has been thrown down. The pin has been pulled on the nap timebomb. The ball is rattling in the wheel. We are playing Adult Nap Roulette.
We have a long weekend day ahead of us, filled with such delights as children’s birthday parties, trips to B&Q, and pulling moss out of the stupid lawn with our bare hands – during which, at some undefined point, my husband will fall asleep. I will be cooking lunch, wiping bums, packing the bag for our next outing when I’ll slowly become aware of a silence. A certain absence of sound from the lower register. The children continue to scramble all over the prone form on the sofa, like the Lilliputians over Gulliver. But on closer inspection, I’ll discover he’s done it. He’s snatched a nap.

There is no Poker Face here. There is one face smiling peacefully in slumber on the sofa. And one looking apoplectic as it tries not to swear in front of the children.
A Nap on the Sofa Is Worth Two In The Bed
The Sky Sports snooze exemplifies where our gambling styles differ. He’s a high roller. He’s got the guts to fall asleep in plain sight. He doesn’t waste time trying to get to bed. Regardless of how cross he knows I will be when he wakes up, he can’t help but sink into the short-term solace of the sofa stealth nap.
Believe me, if I could do it, I would. But I simply can’t fall asleep in a room with the children in it. If I hear some anti-protocol parenting occurring, my eyes will snap open. My husband can look after them how he likes – but not in my earshot.
But eventually, my number will come up. While he is an all-or-nothing short-termist, I am playing the long game. I’m banking all my un-taken naps until I have enough for a spa weekend. Which I shall spring upon him at 6am on the day of departure. 

Related posts: I’m so obsessed with naps I was surprised to find I have only written one related post, but here it is:

If you liked my post, and if you so wish, you still have the chance to vote me into the Final of the BritMums Brilliance in Blogging Awards in the Laugh category here. The deadline is this Friday, 16th May at midnight. Not convinced? Try before you vote here: My *Brilliant* Blog Flog.
Brilliant blog posts on


  • Hilarious as aways, Wry. You had me at’ “sleep while the baby sleeps” on the advice of some great pranksters’, (snort – absurd!) but the Gulliver comparison is genius! xxx

  • v familiar and funny! I have to admit, both hubby and I are stealth nappers. We try not to do it at the same time but there’s something about disney films that’s rather too soothing at times!

  • I generally MAKE the baby have a nap for 5 minutes peace. This consists of bear hugging her and rocking until she nods off. It usually gives me just enough time to up my caffeine intake, but not enough time for a nap!
    I have the Saturday morning lie in weather hubby likes ut ir not. I simply don’t get up xx

  • Anonymous says:

    I nearly fell off my chair laughing but didn’t want to miss a word! ‘Nothing lives longer in the memory…’ – invidious to pick one phrase but that had me howling. You deserve that award for this post alone, brilliant, hilarious, and I love your long-term Spa strategy. Start choosing the leisure outfits now.

  • So so true – it is ALL about naps. We had a glorious year where both kids were having a 1pm nap and every weekend we all napped at that time Saturday and Sunday! I miss those days. Sigh x

  • That year must have turned everything around. Naps for Survival! x

  • Older Mum says:

    This brought back memories…. it used to drive me bonkers when my other half would just fall asleep anywhere. I know it isn’t a competition but I was defo the most sleep deprived compared to my deeply sleeping husband. Grrrrr. Great post. X

  • Genna Millar says:

    Oh yes – the success of a nap is very much directly proportionate to how much you need it! I remember it well! I would do anything, and I mean anything, to prolong my son’s nap from the car to the house…my dog would always ruin it for me by tripping me while I was carrying him, or sniffing his face as I laid him on the sofa…arsehole.
    And then there was the inappropriate baby nap times – just as he had a docs appointment (meaning he’d be horrible for the rest of the day because of missing a nap or a shortened nap) Or worse, a later than usual nap, meaning he’d be awake even later into the evening, upsetting the carefully balanced routine for night sleep.

    Sheesh, I used to lament that my kids didn’t nap anymore, but actually, I don’t miss this! And yes to the annoying husband who has sneaky naps. That used to burn me from the inside out! Ha ha!

  • Ting Dalton says:

    Very funny, and too true. I am always the loser of nap roulette… always. I like the idea of your long game. Hope your numbers come up soon! And I’ve often been too scared to do the car-to-cot transfer. So have just stayed in the car. A worried lady once knocked on the window to see if we were both alive! #sharewithme

  • Aargh! My husband works a mixed bag of shifts and so he trumps me every single time on the nap front and I never even get a tag team lie in! That was really bad planning on my part. Its funny how he needs to nap til at least 11.30 am whether he’s on a late shift, or getting over a late shift, or even getting ready for a late shift in two days time. Sob! Your description of a man just dropping off in a noisy room full of children reminds me of my brother in law though – how do they do that??? #sharewithme

  • I love a good nap. I used to be great at catch up on a few zzzs while Buba took naps but when Missy Moo was born I started blogging and now the only time I have to blog is when they are napping or in bed at night. So it’s long been gone my naptime. Although the bags under my eyes aren’t agreeing with me. Love this post as always your post are amazing and I love reading them each week on Share With Me Thank you so much for linking up again. Appreciate the support. I hope that you saw you were last week’s favorite post on Share With Me, I tweeted but wasn’t sure it went through. Love your writing good luck in the Bibs you deserve it. #sharewithme

  • Haha – the nap issue. It is a test for many a strong marriage. This is so funny. My husband wouldn’t dare DARE to drop off!! Extra sleep is more precious than a diamond necklace. Brilliant post #sharewithme

  • Wally Mummy says:

    And yet once they disappear completely you’d do anything to have them back! lol x *sobs a bit* x

  • You should count yourself lucky that you even get to play! No napping in our house, no-one else wants to! Maybe if I made my hubby get up through the night he would change his way of thinking!… #sharewithme

  • pixiedusk says:

    This is our secret I nap a bit in the afternoon before I wash the dishes. So that I have energy to pick my son up. Stealth napper =P #brilliantblogpost

  • Honest Mum says:

    Haha hilarious, nap-lover here and sofa naps are gorgeous aren’t they! Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge