Forget Perfect: Why do women begrudge men a nap?

If you want to infuriate your wife, try taking a nap on a Saturday afternoon just as she's revving up the to-do list.

Forget about sex, communication, in-laws and the toilet seat wars. If you really want to stir up a hornet's next inside a marriage, just bring up the subject of naps.

Men love them and women despise them.

Actually, let me rephrase, men love to take them and women despise them for enjoying it.

"But why?" says the man. "Haven't I earned it? Don't I deserve it? Isn't your home supposed to be where you relax?"

Well, sort of.

This is yet another case of where the opposite sexes - opposite being the operative word here - have a completely different perspective and our unspoken assumptions collide on Saturday afternoon.

It's pretty simple; men view their home as a refuge while women think it's the place where the real work gets done.

When a woman sees a pile of dirty dishes and laundry strewn about the floor, we don't just see a mess, we literally feel failure. We could have spent the day brokering world peace, but if our home isn't running smoothly, we feel out of whack. It might not make sense, but it's the way most of us are wired.

For men, home is a place to escape from work. When he walks in, he doesn't see a system out of balance, disorganized supplies or poorly maintained equipment. All he sees is a long soft comfortable surface - which if you knock the pizza boxes and old newspapers off - is the perfect place to lay down.

Neither is right or wrong, and everyone doesn't always fall into these stereotypes, but for most of us, hubby's afternoon nap is more likely to generate heavy sighs and eye rolls than an offer to fluff his pillows.

You can't eliminate the differences between men and women; but you can try to see the world through your partner's eyes.

Men, imagine you're on a deadline at work. It's years away, but this is the most important project of your life, so you leave nothing to chance. You create a detailed schedule of what must be done by when and you set benchmarks for your team, because you know if you slack off, even for a minute, you will fail.

Now, imagine you've been busy all week and you're behind. So you set aside an entire day to work on this huge life-defining multi-year project - the one that will determine the success or failure of your entire organization - and just as you're ready to get started, your partner, the co-leader of the entire project, says, "I think I'll take a nap."

Guys, you can argue all you want about whether or not leaving the screen door broken for another week is going to derail your family. But when your wife is hardwired to keep her project rolling and you conk out, it feels like you just don't care.

Yes, you deserve a nap, but life will be more peaceful if you tell her how long you'll be down, and exactly which tasks you'll be delighted to do when you wake up.

As for women: Imagine you're at a spa and just as you're about to pull on a comfy robe, the manager says, "Great, you're just in time to scrub the floor."

Cut your man some slack. Do what I do - just tape the to-do list to his forehead while he's asleep.

Snellville resident Lisa Earle McLeod is a nationally recognized speaker and the author of "Forget Perfect." Contact her at www.forgetperfect.com.