When I was pregnant I researched like a mad woman, reading everything I possibly could so that I would be well prepared and ease into this new life adjustment smoothly (ha, well we’re all laughing a bit at that thought now aren’t we?) One of the pieces of advice I received most often – from friends, family and internet forums alike, was:
“X when the baby is napping!”
So these little bundles of joy that come into our lives are supposed to sleep a lot. During all these frequent naps they have, we’re supposed to do the mysterious X. You can replace that with whatever you want really, but the ones I most frequently were told were.
“Nap when the baby naps!”
“Do the dishes when the baby naps!”
“5 minutes of housework whilst the baby is sleeping will keep things clean!”
“Take a shower whilst the baby sleeps!”
“Do your food prep whilst he’s sleeping!”
And so on. All these lovely little productive things that we need to do on a day to day basis like sleeping, cleaning, showering, preparing food, coating sore nipples in lanolin whilst sobbing quietly to ourselves on the sofa can be done quite easily whilst the baby is having a sweet little nap if you believe the internet. You too can be a productive and efficient mummy!
Sorry ladies, it’s all a load of bollocks. Why did other mums tell me this? Have they forgotten?
My son napped irregularly at best and not at all at his worst.
When he was napping as a baby almost anything would wake him up, so cleaning around him was pretty much a no-no.
His favourite spot to nap was pinning me down so that even going to the bathroom was out of the question.
Sleep whilst he’s sleeping? Am I alone in not being able to lay my head down and fall asleep instantly and then wake up 20 minutes later feeling refreshed? It takes me a long time to fall asleep – especially in the middle of the day and then I wake up feeling groggy and disorientated.
And I was too tired to care about the dishes or the cleaning or whether I had clean clothes for tomorrow. In fact, at one point I just ordered more clothes for the baby rather than do a load of laundry. Thanks, Amazon Prime. Food prep? That’s what I call Dominos.
Just Relax – That’s what the advice should say
So my advice, when the baby is sleeping just do whatever the hell you can – but just embrace those precious few moments. Here are the things I tend to do during nap-time:
- Stare at their sleeping face.
- Turn on the aromatherapy diffuser.
- Play a game on your mobile phone.
- Do some breathing exercises.
- Text someone.
- Watch cute cat videos on YouTube.
- Order something on Amazon.
- Browse Instagram.
- Search Deliveroo for takeout.
- Eat a packet of biscuits.
- Take at least 62 photos of your sleeping beauty and send them to everyone to prove that yes, you’re doing it, you’re mothering, and you got this little
devilangel to sleep!
Let the dishes pile up and the laundry overflow. You can always recruit a friend, family member or hire a cleaner if things really go down the pan. Take care of yourself mentally and do what you can – but don’t set yourself all these expectations like I did. I fell into the trap of thinking I could do so many productive things whilst he was napping and then felt frustrated and disappointed in myself when I felt I’d failed. I had set myself up to fail when in fact, I was totally succeeding just by getting him to nap in the first place. They’re alive, warm, well fed and asleep?! You’ve nailed it!
If I was doing it again, I’d tell myself that nap time is not productive time. Nap time is a few minutes of peace, quiet and relaxation. Making a cup of tea and getting to drink it is the crowning nap-time achievement!