Naptime Chill Out

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There always seems to be a pile of bills waiting for me during Veronika’s nap (adulting never ends), but as she moves into a longer, more predictable afternoon nap, I’m reminded that this is a necessary time when I can make room for my own headspace.

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In case you’re struggling to do the same with a baby of about 9 months old, here are a few of my favorite ways to┬áchill out while Veronika naps:

  • Drink an espresso.
  • Do the crossword. You could also read the news, but chances are that might just stress you out more. I stick to the puzzle.Body and Soul (2)
  • Listen to my music. This one is key if we’re on the go during her nap. When it’s just Veronika in the car, her music class CD is always going. When big brother rides along, pop music dominates. But when the kids sleep… mama music! I’m going to date myself but admitting that that means classic rock or classical music on repeat.Body and Soul (3)
  • Finally, remember to do nothing. There is always a room to clean, or a list to make, but sometimes your body and soul benefit best from a little nothing. In five minutes, she will wake up, and I will go back to being a mom. In five minutes, I will be needed again. But right now, I just am.Body and Soul (5)How do you pause and chill out when baby naps? Learn a new language? Meditate? Please share in the comments!

Set the Alarm

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When your baby is a newborn (i.e. the fourth trimester), naps are all over the place. But now at six months old, those naps should hopefully be a bit more predictable. Even Veronika, who naps when and where she can on big brother’s schedule, has settled into a routine of 3 naps a day – a quick morning one, a longer one late morning, and a third one mid-afternoon to get her through to the evening.

One secret about naps is that they are reliably 45 minutes long, unless a baby is startled awake. Why? Because that’s the length of a sleep cycle. When a baby matures enough to fall back asleep, that 45 minutes turns into a full 90 minute nap. That gives you lots of time, if you use it wisely!

And I hear you busy parents; naps are crucial for getting things done! But they’re also crucial for self-care. I’m as guilty as the rest, so here’s a new trick I’m implementing: Set an alarm for 30 minutes, then take time to relax.

She’s out! Time to set the timer.

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For those 30 minutes, I power through whatever needs to get done: bills, writing, cleaning, organizing, you name it. But when the 30 minutes are up, it’s time to relax.

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That might mean having a cup of tea, or reading a book. For me, it’s usually a pot of coffee and a magazine. And then if I’m lucky and she stirs at the 45 minute mark, I can take her in my arms and she might – just might! – settle back in for a second 45 minutes on me. Which is the best.