Bad days are inevitable, especially when you're a mother. Now that you're responsible for another human being -- and acutely aware that so much is outside your control -- plans will be ruined and best efforts will go to waste and the worst of the worst will, probably, happen. While I realize it's become the cultural norm to suggest a wine at the end of a mom's particularly difficult day, I think the nap positions for every bad day a mom could have is much, much more helpful. Sure you could enjoy your glass of whatever and sit in complete silence, taking liberal sips and wondering how in the hell you just survived the day. Or, you could get some much needed, much-deserved sleep yourself, and put it all behind you.
On average, a new mother lives off just three-and-a-half hours of sleep a night, for the first four months of their baby's life. A reported 94 percent of new mothers said they would rather go to sleep than do anything else (and that includes sex, my friends). So, yeah, a new mom doesn't need a glass of wine at the end of the day, she needs some sweet, sweet sleep. I know that for the first few months (oh hell, years. Who am I kidding, right?) of motherhood, I chose sleep over any other extracurricular activity. A glass of merlot couldn't give me what a few hours of uninterrupted unconsciousness could.
So while it might not be "cool" or considered the "hip" part of mom culture, I think mothers need to start sleeping more and drinking less. I mean, yes, to each their own and you do what you need to do to relax and find neutral and deal with a particularly difficult day. However, if sleeping and rejuvenating your body and mind are high on the priority list, I suggest pairing your difficult days with a few clutch nap positions, and not a glass of wine. In fact, I've suggested the following nap positions for specific circumstances, rated how difficult the day is that would probably call for the sleep position being detailed, and a suggested time in which you should enjoy said sleep position. I'm like a sommelier but much, much better.
The Fetal Position
The fetal position — a long-time favorite — is usually reserved for the days when your kid has thrown one or more epic toddler tantrums (and usually in public). When you simply feel defeated and don't know how you will last another second, I suggest napping in the fetal position; even rocking back and forth while mumbling incoherently to yourself for full effect.
Bad Day Intensity Tracker: 9
Duration Of Nap Needed To Combat The Day's Affects: 1 hour
The "Praying" Position
I didn't know this nap position existed until I started spending so much of my time on my living room floor, facilitating tummy time or playing with my son and his many, many toys. This position occurs when you fall asleep while sitting on the ground, while your face rests ever-so-gently on your couch or chair or some other nearby piece of furniture. From afar, it may look like you're one your knees praying to the procreation gods, asking for a miracle and a somewhat easy day (or just some sleep), but you're really just catching a few necessary minutes of sweet, sweet unconsciousness.
Bad Day Intensity Tracker: 4
Duration Of Nap Needed To Combat The Day's Affects: 10 minutes
The "Faced" Position
This nap position is my personal favorite, and occurs usually when I've had a packed day full of work and children's activities and cooking and more work and I'm just, you know, exhausted. This nap position says, "No one talk to me," which, honestly, is what I want my sleeping positions to tell the world. You'll fall into bed and/or the couch or whatever your sleeping surface may be, and lay face first. Hands at your side, your body in a perfectly straight line, you'll be dead to the world and, you know, you deserve to be after the ridiculously busy day you've had.
Bad Day Intensity Tracker: 6
Duration Of Nap Needed To Combat The Day's Affects: 30 minutes
The "Ready To Go" Position
While this isn't necessarily my favorite nap position, it's usually the one I use the most. This position occurs when you sleep with half the covers on, and half the covers off of your body. You'll probably still have your shoes on and your feet and/or legs off the bed, ready to get back up and do whatever it is you need to do at a moment's notice. This nap position comes in handy when you're in-between social obligations, or if your kid just-so-happened to fall asleep for a few minutes. You can catch a few minutes of sleep, but jump back into the parenting game when the timeout is over.
Bad Day Intensity Tracker: 3
Duration Of Nap Needed To Combat The Day's Affects: 5 minutes (if you're lucky)
The "I Give Up" Position
This position is, in my opinion, for emergencies only. I mean, there are moments when I absolutely feel like giving up on this whole motherhood thing but, you know, I can't. So, I take a nap with my head underneath one (or multiple) pillows, shutting out the outside world. I'm laying stomach down and my hands are firmly placed on top of the pillows that are covering my face, just in case anyone has the ridiculous idea (read: death wish) to remove the pillows and wake me up. This is for those very serious days, when nothing has gone according to plan and you didn't have very much help and you feel like you're failing at absolutely everything that matters to you in your life.
This is the "I'm in need of self-care so pretend I don't exist" position, and one that a mother should never feel afraid to use when she knows she needs to.
Bad Day Intensity Tracker: 10
Duration Of Nap Needed To Combat The Day's Affects: 2 hours (or however long you need to get back to neutral)
The "No One Touch Me" Position
You know those days when you're feeling touched out because you've been breastfeeding and kicked and hit and/or bit and constantly touched by another (albeit cute and tiny) human being? Well, then this is the nap position for you.
If you need a few minutes alone where no one touches you and you can feel like you have some bodily autonomy again, try napping with a pillow fort built around you. Keep your arms stretched out, as if you're being frisked at the airport or telling two people on either side of you not to move a centimeter closer. Surrounded by pillows and with your arms outstretched in a defiant "get the hell away from me" position, your family members will get the hint.
Bad Day Intensity Tracker: 7
Duration Of Nap Needed To Combat The Day's Affects: 15 minutes
The "I'm Dead" Position
This is the perfect position for all you sleep-deprived parents, who can't remember the last time you had a solid eight (or six, or even five?) hours of sleep. The "I'm dead" is you sleeping in your clothes, in whatever position you just-so-happened to fall into bed. Arms and legs will be thrown all over the place, and someone could easily make an outline of your body with chalk and, well, you wouldn't wake up. This will probably be your go-to nap position for the majority of your child's young life, so take advantage of it when you can and use it liberally.
Bad Day Intensity Tracker: 5
Duration Of Nap Needed To Combat The Day's Affects: 20 minutes
The "Not Again" Position
This nap position is one of utter defeat, and one that is probably used on a regular basis. It's not that your day has been particularly bad or that you're feeling particularly downtrodden, it's just that you're tired and you know what's in store for you and you would do some pretty unruly things for a few more minutes of uninterrupted sleep. When sleeping in the "not again" position, you're on your back with your legs straight out and together, and your arms crossed in front of you. Your kid won't notice that this clearly means "Nope," but the universe will. That counts for something, right?
Bad Day Intensity Tracker: 8
Duration Of Nap Needed To Combat The Day's Affects: 45 minutes
The "I Got This" Position
This is the most empowering nap position, and one that really rejuvenates the soul (in my opinion). You sleep with your hands above your head and your legs spread, as if you're celebrating a win. You're saying, while unconscious, that "Yeah, I can do anything," and, "I am already winning before I've even started playing." I suggest using this nap position at night, as well. If you wake up in the morning already feeling like you've conquered the day, you probably will.
Bad Day Intensity Tracker: 2
Duration Of Nap Needed To Combat The Day's Affects: 7 minutes to a full 7 hours
Sleeping Standing Up
This is self-explanatory and, sadly, will probably happen more times than you'll care to admit. I do not fully endorse this sleep position, however I do think that we — as a society — need to acknowledge the fact that this happens because children hate sleep. This can happen to anyone at any time for a number of reasons. If this happens to you, please take the time to find a bed (or a couch, or wherever) and lay down. Immediately.
Bad Day Intensity Tracker: 1
Duration Of Nap Needed To Combat The Day's Affects: a few seconds