Tackling Baby’s Naptime (or Lack Thereof)

I had a post written last week about our traffic debacle trying to get home in a thunderstorm, but I must have signed out at some point or closed down the laptop and lost the post. Womp, womp. To summarize, Rose and I dodged it all by stopping at Jamey’s office. After saying hello to a few people, Rose did what any employee at work wishes they could do on a daily basis: she took a nap.

Rose at Benefitfocus

Office work is overrated.

Onward and upward.

Much of what I do these days revolves around what I can get done while Rose is napping. (For example: this post has taken me about four (update: five) hours to write, with one midsized nap that started it all to where we are now two hours later. (We’re here now another two hours later, with her passed out in my lap.)

It’s an interesting struggle to have, since Rose’s naps and naptimes are unpredictable. She is also not a baby who takes big, multi hour-long naps. Will she lie down an hour after a morning feed? Is it going to take a car ride or stroller walk to wear her out first? Is this door shutting going to startle her awake? (Yes.) Will she ever so slightly open her eyes and get distracted by the ceiling fan enough to wake herself up? (75% of the time, yes, but at least it results in baby giggles for 15 or so minutes before she realizes she is awake and I’m not holding her. Listening to her laughter and coos through the baby monitor make up for the lost naptime minutes.) There are so many scenarios that impact just how much time she will go down, so I always have to be prepared for the long and short of it, so I’ve put together a system to tackle naptimes.

New mom tips: Prioritizing baby naptime

Nap time à la stroller.

Many new moms, from what I have read, get very overwhelmed by what they can accomplish during baby’s naptime–if they even have the energy to do so. I’m going to assume most moms (in the beginning) are like me at first: Baby’s finally asleep! Hooray! I can take a shower. No, wait–I’m hungry. What can I eat with two hands free? I haven’t washed the cherries yet. Darn it, the dishwasher is full. Guess I need to empty it first before I make lunch. What should I do with this tupperware container? I need to remember to give it back to so and so thanking them for bringing us dinner. Shoot, I forgot to write a thank you note to that other person for their darling gift. I’ll go ahead and get out my cards and start the “Dear So and So” so at least I remember later to write them. Well, I’ll go ahead and write it now. The mail hasn’t come yet. I’m almost out of stamps! I guess going to the post office would be a good errand. What if she freaks out while we’re standing in line there? Wow, it’s really nice out today. I wonder if we can take a stroller walk later. Oh look, UPS came! Presents! Ohmigosh, that is the CUTEST onesie I have ever seen. Wait, what’s that? Baby is awake and crying? Ok, ok, I’m coming, little one. Oh, no! I forgot to make lunch. I’m still hungry. And I stink 😦

I think Jamey came home one day after I had an afternoon like this. There were opened boxes and their contents scattered all over the house, I was probably wearing the same clothes I was in when he left that morning, and burp cloths, barely started thank you notes, and diaper changing stations were found in every room–not to mention the actual disarray of how I left the house in my attempts to clean, meaning vacuum cleaners, rags and cleaning solutions were left out all around the house. After taking in the scene, Jamey made a suggestion I took to heart and have repeated to myself daily, and made my naptime strategy:

Get just one thing done per day. 

It’s amazing how this mantra has helped cool my new mom-ness. Instead of following my stream of consciousness to get things done, I start the day with one prime to-do item I want to accomplish. For example, this might be I want to print pictures for our gallery wall. It’s important note that this is only one bullet of the whole project’s steps. I don’t aim to have all the pictures trimmed, framed and hung; those are to-do items for future days.

After choosing the to-do to check off, I create a list in my head of others and rank them in order of importance. From there, I create a comparative list of what I can get done with or without baby. It looks something like this:

Without Baby (a.k.a. Baby Naptime) With Baby
Start a load of laundry Put clean clothes away
Write a blog post Call pediatrician
Prep veggies for dinner Wrap a baby shower present

I then go down the list do one at a time. If I don’t get them all finished, it’s fine; most likely I can get at least the top one complete and still take a shower. (Seriously, showering needs to be NUMBER ONE on every new mom’s list. There are no excuses. Not only does it give you time to yourself, but being clean is important for your little one’s health. Who wants a brand new baby pressed up against–let alone feeding from–a germy mom??)

After all of this, it’s important to not beat yourself up over what you may or may not get done. Remember, baby is your number one priority. As long as she is eating frequently, gaining weight, and giving you enough dirty diapers to make you immune to poop, you’re doing great.

I downloaded the Todoist app for my phone to help the mom brain (a.k.a. sleep deprivation) remember my lists, but so far I’m not sure it’s right for this type of listmaking–or at least the free version isn’t–and you know how I am about not purchasing something until I’ve fully researched all options. Therefore, if you have a to do-like app to recommend that is also web based, please let me know what it is.

Another tactic to the naptime priority list is to stay focused on that single task until it is complete. With the stream of consciousness thought, I would interrupt myself to venture off to another project I’d been meaning to start or finish. Of course, this meant I never would get any of the itemized list accomplished, and the day would end with me feeling scattered, exhausted and overwhelmed. It’s must better to take one item at a time.

There you have it. This strategy has gotten me through the eighth week of baby’s life, and it’s made life at home much calmer–and more importantly left me feeling good about myself AND baby as we venture down this road of parenthood together.


2 thoughts on “Tackling Baby’s Naptime (or Lack Thereof)


    Also, I have fond memories of you helping me with my writing class at 4 am in Preston’s selfmade topfloor common room. Your blog brings back these memories;) Thanks once more!


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