Former LM columnist Jennifer Eyre White has developed quite a following for her hilarious columns about having three kids. As the mother of three, Jennifer knows all about sleep deprivation; in fact she's made it her muse.
LM founding editor Sophia Raday checks in with Jennifer about her new humorous gift book, The Practical Napper: Tips, Facts, and Quotes for the Avidly Recumbent.
Hey Jennifer, if sleep is the new sex, is your book like a kama sutra for nappers?
That's an excellent description of my book, Sophia, and can I just say that I'm so glad you put the words "Kama Sutra" in this interview, for SEO reasons. But to answer your question, in The Practical Napper I explain - among other things - that if "sleeping together" is a euphemism for having sex, then napping together is essentially foreplay. As you and I both know, "foreplay" can bring a whole new level of intimacy to a fledgling romance and add zing to mature relationships, even after many years of marriage. So when people ask you and your spouse what you did over the weekend, feel free to answer, "Well, you know, nothing productive, mostly just foreplay. Usually we set an alarm clock so we don't waste the whole afternoon, but on Sunday, hoo boy--we really lost track of time!"
Since we are some of the most sleep-deprived people on the planet, what are your napping tips for mothers?
My position is that napping is critical to surviving the early years of parenting, and by "early" I mean all of them. This starts from the moment of conception (yours or the baby's, either is fine). If you're pregnant, you already know you shouldn't really eat for two because you will end up looking like Totoro. But you may not know that you should definitely nap for two--or better yet, for six, because who knows what's incubating in there, especially if there's a chance you've been abducted by space aliens. Of course, after the baby is born, napping becomes even more critical. Did you know that new babies cause their parents to lose 400-750 hours of sleep in the first year alone? It's horrendous. If you have multiple kids, as I do, you could wind up being down by several thousand hours of sleep and having the effective IQ of a kiwifruit. It's important to be proactive and take steps to mitigate the damage. Nap early and often.
Rumor has it that you were once an electrical engineer. How has that influenced your writing?
I would say that engineering and napping are highly compatible activities. In fact, I believe it was in an undergraduate electromagnetics class that my passion for napping really started to reveal itself. This makes sense because research shows that when you sleep, your brain can process new information learned during the day. I remember many times during engineering school (and later, in work meetings, especially those involving PowerPoint) when I just couldn't wait to start processing what I was learning.
As you know I'm really interested in politics and relationships. Are the joys of napping one topic with bipartisan appeal?
Well Sophia, that's an interesting question. You probably know that both sides of the aisle frequently report that the other side has been "caught napping," which suggests a certain level of napping disapproval. Yet I believe that pro-nap legislation could help address the thorny social, political, and environmental challenges facing the world today. For example, in my book I explain that napping promotes world peace--because when you're napping, you're not behaving like imperialist swine, calling other countries mean names, or trying to convert other people to your religion or political system or fashion sense. That's just so important. Also, napping can make you more cheerful and increase your productivity levels, so you're less likely to develop weapons of mass destruction or need a bailout. I hope one day the two sides will stand together and promote the message that, when you don't nap, the terrorists win.
Thanks Jennifer, and Congratulations this fun and funny book!
Sleep well, Literary Mamas!
Sophia Raday is the author of Love in Condition Yellow.
Interested in reading The Practical Napper? To celebrate its June 7th release, Jennifer will send one book to a lucky LM reader. Leave a comment below before July 20th -- and don't forget your email address so she can contact you.