Tuesday, March 4, 2014

the nap time hustle

A few months ago, my afternoon routine went something like this:  After the baby's lunch I would take him upstairs and put him down for a nap.  Then I would race downstairs, clean up his high chair, bib, and other lunch things.  Most of his toys had disappeared under furniture and his books were spread across the room, so I would locate them all and put them back on the correct shelves.  Then I'd vacuum our two main rooms (has anyone else noticed that toddlers are basically crumb-machines?).  If I needed to do any work for my volunteer job as key spouse for our squadron, I'd try to do it during this time.  It usually involved making a couple phone calls or sending some quick emails.  After that was done, I'd make my own lunch and try to multitask as I ate.  I usually read one of the books I was reviewing, wrote (or journaled), or caught up on a TV show.  When I was done eating, I'd finish whatever other household chores needed to be done.

But it seemed like most days I was just finishing lunch when Hadden started crying and my alone time was gone.  I never accomplished as much as I wanted to during those fleeting minutes.  At that time I was reading a parenting book and I kept thinking, "If you would just sleep a little longer, you would probably wake up to a better parent!"  Basically, from the moment he went down for a nap, I was on a race against his internal clock.  I call it the nap time hustle.

Since then I've gotten much better at getting things done while he's awake.  I always eat lunch when he does and I'm teaching him to help pick up his toys so I don't have to do that.  Today I was cleaning out the refrigerator while simultaneously making a meal plan and grocery list in my head.  Hadden was right there "helping" me.  Additionally, I've had less to do during nap time because my husband has been encouraging me to take time alone in the evening or on the weekends to write, read, and reflect. Because while I can juggle the household tasks and parenting, good writing really comes from solitude.  I used to feel like I was gasping for breath when Hadden went down for a nap.  Like I just needed a few moments alone to put things back in order and just think.  But since I've been getting that time alone in the evenings, I haven't felt quite so desperate for nap time.

So even though I'm balancing more as Hadden naps, I still fantasize about all the things I would LIKE to get done during nap time.  Here are the some of the usual items on my nap time hustle list.

- Clean the fridge
- Vacuum
- Watch TV
- Read!
- Eat lunch
- Respond to emails
- Write?
- Plan meals for the week
- Make a grocery list
- Do our online shopping for the month (we almost always buy gifts online and ship them directly to the recipient and I have a few other items that we have shipped from Amazon, like our diaper liners)
- Catch up on Key Spouse work
- Laundry (especially folding!)
- Read the news
- Clean up the toys
And (for those days when I'm sick) - Take a quick nap??

I understand that moms of multiple children do this all the time and make it look easy.  I'm not there yet!  :)

Since January, I've been learning exactly what I can do when Hadden is awake.  For instance, he he loves to be next to me while I do household chores and tries his hardest to help with whatever I'm doing.  But also realizing that some of these things are much better left until I can have a little alone time (e.g. writing and anything else that requires an open computer - Hadden thinks it's an invitation for him to type).

I know I'm not the only mom who feels this way!  What types of things do you have on your nap time (or bed time) hustle list?


  1. Cleaning! That's the main one for me. Dishes, vacuuming, laundry, and I always like to throw in something that isn't done quite as often, like organizing closets or magic erasing the walls. If and when I get done I enjoy resting and catching up with my mom via phone. Soon I'll have the pleasure of doing all those tasks along with school work. Fun!

  2. yep, cleaning is hard. Especially, as you pointed out, those random cleaning tasks that need to get done. One word of encouragement, though, once Julia gets a little older the cleaning gets a little easier. When Hadden was that age I couldn't do much while he's awake, but now I'm able to get more done with him. So hopefully that will make it easier on you when you need to start doing homework in addition to your regular stuff!

  3. I think lots of writer-mamas write in the stolen moments, but it sounds like you're especially busy during nap time!

    p.s. here's a link to a family friend who talks about writing with four little ones at home! i've re-read it several times and it always encourages me to keep trying. :) http://annkroeker.com/2013/08/20/writing-conditions-are-never-perfect/


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