Is it just me, or do those of you with kids find yourself aimlessly walking around the house while they nap? As soon as that little head hits the pillow and the lights are out, I find myself standing in the kitchen, mind racing with all of the things I could be getting done. 9 times out of 10 I check zero things off my list… Dishes need to be washed, laundry to be folded, dog needs a good brush (and I mean a goood brush), floors are filthy, toys everywhere, toilets need scrubbing (ahh the most humbling job in my repertoire), there are design jobs to finish, the list goes on and on. Don’t even get me started on the missing items list that continually seems to grow in this house. Keys, remotes, more keys, sunglasses, shoes. I feel like it’s my kids job to hide stuff. Not to mention the fact that I smell like pickles and peanut butter from the last meal Henry inadvertently smeared on my shirt. I could use a shower, maybe even a nap. But what do I find myself doing? Sitting there staring at the tv (which is off by the way), or frantically trying to tackle everything on my list in the hour and a half nap that Henry may or may not take.
It has taken me an entire year to finally figure out the best way to spend nap time. Don’t get me wrong, I love my child more than tea loves milk and honey (and that’s saying a lot), but when he goes down for a nap, this girl gets to recharge, relax, and enjoy her quiet time. As a person that recharges alone, this time is essential to staying sane throughout the day. I do have to throw out there that I am incredibly lucky that my child does take naps. For those of you that aren’t privy to this part of the day, I feel for you.
Here is my secret. I have 4 so-called ‘categories’:
Category 1: Me time. Don’t be fooled, this is not an open invitation to sit back and watch a movie, read a book, or take a nap - this is back to fundamentals. Wash, shave, change, maybe brush my hair, paint nails (if I’m lucky), etc.
Category 2: Chores. Probably my least favorite of the four. This includes a lovely array of scrubbing toilets, vacuuming, washing floors, cleaning dishes, folding laundry, blah blah blah more boring stuff. You get the picture.
Category 3: Projects. This can include my design projects, craft ideas that I have been waiting months to see through, painting walls, planning parties - the fun shtuff.
Category 4: Veg. By far my most cherished ‘category’. This includes, but is not limited to - sitting/laying on the couch, napping, watching a movie, eating chocolate, reading a book, contemplating why we have eyebrows. Anything my heart desires for as long as that munchkin is down for the count.
The trick is to just rotate through these ‘categories’ each nap. First I take some ‘Me Time’, next nap I get some ‘Chores’ done, and so on and so forth. This may seem pretty straight forward to you super star Mums (and Dads) out there that can clean toilets, answer emails, knit socks, smell like fresh linen and unicorns, all while whistling the star spangled banner during your babies nap time. But for me, who sometimes feels like she has a brain the size of a sweet pea (a frozen pea at that), needs to compartmentalize my nap time life into ‘categories’. I do shower each day incase you were starting to think I only ever wash every 4 naps… This system just helps me make sure I am spending an equal amount of time on all things.
If you are anything like me and have a tough go at prioritizing your time while baby sleeps, I highly recommend creating a system that works for you. It may sound silly when I break it down like this, but the more productive, rested, and fulfilled I am while my child naps, the more undivided love and attention I can spend on him when he is awake. I don’t have 47 things racing through my brain (because let’s be honest, that’s about all it can take these days), knowing that it will get done at some point. That is until he decides to stop taking naps…
Now I am guessing you have already figured out that I am currently residing in category 3, which is coming to a close as the little prince has started to stir from his slumber. But, I will leave you with this - no matter how busy the rest of my day gets, however many poopy butts I change, or how many squished cherry tomatoes I have to clean out of a high chair, I know that when little man takes his next nap I will be (yep you guessed it), vegging.