Parenting

Why Everyone Needs A Minivan

The Most Beautiful Thing  In The World So, one of the stresses about having kids ranging such ages as mine (18 months to 14) is that they need you during different times of day. The overlap is minimal, and sometimes this can severely cramp your Sleep Time. For example, I had to pick up LilZ last night at midnight at a party. I came home and didn’t wind down enough to go to sleep until after 1am. FOUR HOURS LATER…AndyZ wakes up. For the day. Wanting his mother to feed him and change him and generally care for him. This was below the amount of sleep I can function on properly for an entire day, for the record.

When MrZ woke up around 9:30 or so, I immediately passed the baton to him. I knew I needed a nap or I was going to have an emotional breakdown (I’ve not been sleeping well anyway) and tried to decide the optimal napping situation for myself. See…I am a light sleeper. Napping in my room in our small-ish house is not very effective. I hear every cry, every kitchen quest, every phone call. Also – our bedroom sometimes is a high-traffic area. If MrZ needs anything from our bathroom, I get interrupted. From the closet? I wake up.

I was faced with the dilemma…where do you go to sleep if you really need a good power nap. You need maximum sleeping done in minimum clock time. Well…I’ll tell you where I went. TO MY VAN. I reclined the back seats, brought out a blanket (it’s a little chilly this time of year) and set up a pillow. And I napped. VERY WELL. For almost 90 minutes. I only woke up because I had to pee and the one thing my minivan doesn’t have, is a bathroom. Once I came inside I couldn’t really go back out. But you know what? I didn’t need to. I slept beautifully for those 90 minutes. It was the most peaceful nap I’ve ever had.

I keep telling my husband it was the MOST GENIUS IDEA EVER. He thinks I’m just insane for even considering it, much less actually doing it. Which tells me he has never known exhaustion and parenting in the treacherous combinations I have known…or else he would truly understand the value of a quiet napping place. Either that? Or I am honestly insane. But even if I am? I am insane – AND WELL-RESTED.

25 thoughts on “Why Everyone Needs A Minivan”

  1. You, my dear, are a genius.

    I am totally stealing your idea. We don’t have a van, but the next time my family gets on my last nerve, I’m heading out to the truck with a book.

  2. I don’t have a minivan – actually, my car is pretty darn mini and not really designed for good sleeping. However, when I’m sick? The only place I get any good sleep at all is in the bathtub, with pillows and blankets piled in. So I am totally understanding of good sleep in weird places.

  3. Totally genius. I have 3 kids. all boys ages 7,4 and 8 months. And am now considering spending the night in the minivan. Genius, I tell you.

  4. I get a little whacko with sleep deprivation so I can fully see why you resorted to sleeping in the van. But that is also probably the best idea I’ve ever heard.

  5. I’ve also napped in my car and I can’t blame parenthood. I was working on a congressional campaign with insane hours, 7 days a week. I hit a wall one day before I had to drive 2 hrs. I burst into tears because I was so tired and knew I couldn’t drive that far safely. I napped in my car in a Wal-Mart parking lot for 30 minutes. I felt like a hobo, but was so happy to have that brief sleep. I still remember that feeling of gratitude. Sleep deprivation sucks.

  6. My kids are 19 (in college), 16 (just got his license), and 4 (pre-schooler)….I feel your pain with the different schedules!! 🙂

  7. Guess MrZ would think I’m nuts too. I’m not a morning person, and one of my jobs used to have me there pretty early. On my lunch hour, if I was tired, I would stretch my seat all the way out and grab a quick power nap. It was wonderful! The sun would be beaming down on me and that helped me sleep even better. Don’t have kids so I can’t even use that as an excuse!

  8. OK so I am not a fan of the minivan, until now that is. That just might be the best selling feature ever!

  9. I regularly sleep in my car at work. I even keep a pillow in my car for the purpose! I function better with nap time. It’s nice in the winter when there’s a strong sun, but here in Germany we have a garage so I’m underground and it gets downright cold in the winter. I definitely need to add the blanket to my arsenal.

  10. I think your idea is great, but you know what is also great? Earplugs! I just started using them and they are like little miracles. And you still have access to the bathroom. 🙂

  11. I drove to Scotland to go to a camp and slept in the back seat of my Fiat Seicento – it was soooo comfy! Even better than my air bed that I had to sleep on for the rest of the week – I should have just slept in the car rather than do the hike up the hill back to the tent from the meeting hall.

    All in all car naps are good!

  12. ha!! I do this in my van at least twice a week AT LUNCH! is a great refresher…glad you have found the secret to a good nappy!

  13. I love sleeping in my car. When I was a kid, I’d get so dozey on the car ride home from somewhere, that I’d just stay in the car and sleep sometimes. And now I occasionally take short naps in my car at work. If I had time to nap during the day and if there were too many distractions in the house, hell yeah I’d go out to my car!

  14. Have you ever heard the song by the Austin Lounge Lizards called “Hey Little Minivan”?

    Now the wife and I hardly ever date
    ‘Cause our baby sitter has to be home by 8
    We hurry through dinner and go out and park
    With the fold-down seats we can nap till dark
    I dream of Barracudas and souped-up ‘Vettes
    Crazy games of chicken and drag race bets
    Then she wakes me up and says, “Honey, don’t be sad
    Our van’s the classic Woody you never had”

    You can listen to it here, I think. If that doesn’t work google it, it’s worth it.

  15. Love it!!! Every mommy needs a reliable napping place.
    BTW- will you tell me what kind of van you have and if you like it? We are in the market for one now… you can email or post it on my blog. 🙂

  16. I’ve napped in my car on multiple occassions (a Jetta, which I’m guessing is less comfy and less roomy than a minivan). I’ve never done it in my driveway… well, because I don’t have a driveway, for one thing, and I don’t have kids, for another… but I do think there’s something strangely restful about sleeping in the car. Especially when it’s kind of chilly out, and the car is warm with the sun shining through… I’d totally do this if the house were too demanding. And if we didn’t have to park our car on the street.

  17. It’s probably a good thing that your van doesn’t have a bathroom or you might have been disturbed when someone came in to use it!

    I’ve used my van at lunchtime at work to go out and close my eyes. I’ve had to catch myself from drifting off because I’d totally not wake up until it was time to go home.

    As for the nighttime insomnia…have you tried Calms Forté by Hylands? No drugs, so no waking up feeling drugged. Homeopathic. My Walgreens had them. I also found them behind the counter (because it’s not a regular stock item and the cashiers can’t ring them up) in the Target pharmacy. Health food stores carry the line of products as well. The ‘Calms’ version helps calm stress and anxiety. the ‘Forté’ version helps with sleep issues.

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