“Sometimes what you don’t do is just as important as what you do.”
– Greg McKeown
When I had a newborn, everyone told me to “sleep when your baby sleeps.” This is perhaps the best advice I DIDN’T follow.
Even though I’m disabled and have close to no energy some days, I have a very hard time sitting still— especially when my house is a mess. I used to regularly find myself tidying, cleaning and filing during naptime, even when I was sick and weak. Then, when naptime was up, I’d find myself drained, irritable and pouty. By the end of the day, this exhaustion generally translated to a good, old-fashioned mama meltdown.
As I strive to become a more emotionally healthy mom, I’ve had to rethink they way I do pretty much everything, including naptime. Naptime is virtually the only time all day that I can have any sort of “me” time. Why was I frittering it away on meaningless, never-ending tasks?
In the past year or so, I’ve learned to stop and think about this time and how to best use it. As a result, naptime truly has become a sacred rhythm in my day.
3 Simple Questions I Ask Myself At Naptime:
1. Is there any way I can do this activity while my kid is awake?
If the answer is ‘yes,’ I’m learning to drop it and go recharge.
For instance, I used to empty the dishwasher, switch loads of laundry and do countless other household tasks during naptime. But then I realized– I can do those things while my daughter’s with me. Yes, it’s slow and sometimes frustrating, but in doing so, I am teaching her new skills and not wasting my special naptime minutes.
2. Do I enjoy this activity?
Some activities can be done with your child present, but are much more fun when you are by yourself, such as doing makeup or journaling. If you enjoy an activity more without your child, it might be an okay thing to save for nap and treasure it!
3. Does this activity refresh me?
Your kid’s naptime should be refreshing for either your mind, body or soul. Anything that drains you should be kept at arms length, if possible.
Now, I know what you are thinking– there’s no way I can get everything done if I rest while my kid naps. In some ways you are right. Particularly if you work from home, you will have to make your own pact with yourself. You very well might not be able to rest for your child’s entire nap.
If that’s the case for you, try carving out a sliver of naptime to refresh– even just long enough to drink a cup of coffee in silence. I guarantee this small sacrifice of time will pay dividends eventually.
Practicing “sacred naptime” isn’t easy, especially if you are a driven person. Learning to savor stillness and take care of yourself is going to take practice. However, whenever I ask these questions and pay attention to my own answers, I find refreshment and rest for my weary soul.
I now look forward to naptime in a way that’s hard to describe. It’s truly a respite from the storm that is daily life as a mom. I drink coffee, read books, watch my favorite shows and pull out my hygge tray while I rest. Yes, some days I get distracted. Some days, I end up working all nap and have to press ‘reset’ on this habit. But for the most part, it has become part of my rhythm of soul care and I can honestly say — it makes me a better mom.
Nap time truly is the most precious time of the day. Don’t waste it, mama.
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