Self-Care with Small Children: Naptime Edition

It’s Sunday afternoon and I have a laundry list of things I want to do during naptime… including laundry. There are a couple of things I want to buy online, there’s football on TV for the first time in 8 months (nevermind that my team is losing), I’m 9 months pregnant and can’t reach my toes (desperately need a pedi). I have a journal I haven’t written in all week. I have a stack of Real Simple magazines I want to read. My self-care list will never get done while the kid is awake. If I want them done, now is the time.

I sit down with my phone and the blue light is flashing at me. I see my notifications include a comment from a friend on IG on the post I made yesterday. It’s sweet, and makes me laugh, and I check my other notifications. I start scrolling without even thinking. When the toddler cries halfway through his nap, I snap out of my IG scroll and look at the clock in disgust. None of my to-dos have been checked off, none of my self has been cared for.

Self care during naptime

I know I’m not the only one this happens to. Kids or no kids, you have a block of time when you know you can be productive, and you waste it on your phone like you’re setting money on fire. What can you do to make the most of your “free” time? I’ve tried a couple of different things, but what I’ve found to be most helpful to avoid a wasted naptime is to make a list.

I love a good list, and this type of make-ahead list is just what you need to help you through naptime. It’s best if you put it on paper if you can, so that you don’t pull out your phone to look at your list and immediately get distracted. Brain dump everything you want/need/have to do during naptime onto the list, and then number the list according to your priorities. Need that shirt to be clean for tomorrow? Laundry might be higher on the list.

RVA Kids photographer

Once you’ve set your priorities, designate an amount of time for each item and set a timer (use the microwave timer if you don’t want to use your phone), and then move on to the next thing when your timer goes off.

I know it sounds super simple and kind of elementary – lists and timers – but I’ve found that this works for me, and I don’t spend an hour of a two-hour nap floundering around trying to figure out how to take care of myself.

What are some of your tips for taking care of you during naptime? Tell me below! (PS: “Sleep when they sleep” doesn’t count.)

One thought on “Self-Care with Small Children: Naptime Edition

  1. I’m a list maker, but I’ve never tried the addition of using a timer. Great idea. I really like crossing things off the list. I’ll even keep an old list just so I can cross out what I’ve finally accomplished!!
    Mama says there’ll be days like this….

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