One of the best practical pieces of advice I have received as a new momma has been, when baby is napping, do what you can only do if baby is napping. I can tidy while Shepherd is awake. I can talk to people on the phone while Shepherd is awake. I can sometimes feed myself while Shepherd is awake. While he is awake I cannot: read a book, do computer work, exercise, start a ska band, learn calligraphy, watch Friends, take a nap, or cook anything more complex than eggs + sandwiches.
During Shepherd's nap today, I tried a little HIIT exercise (holy glutes, batman!) and then collapsed on the couch for "cool down" and found myself on the social medias. Scrolling, scrolling, panting, scrolling. And I caught myself wasting nap time. This one precious little window of time that is for me and only me.
You may not have a napping baby time constraint. It may be that you just have a lunch hour, or a little time after work or between classes to take care of your own human self. You make think there's only time to catch up on all that's happened on instagram since yesterday and drive through to pick up an iced latte. But really, the brevity of the time shouldn't determine how much we get out of it. With a few parameters laid out ahead of time we can make those little windows of time WORK FOR US.
As of now, nap time is for three things. All three if possible, but at least one of the three, if not : taking care of my body, taking care of my mind, and taking care of my spirit. Scrolling on instagram is not good for any of those categories for me. Tidying may be good for your mind, it is not good for mine. Online shopping probably isn't really good for any of those either. Here are some of the ways I'm planning to maximize nap time.
taking care of my body: For me, this looks like intentionally feeding myself, not just finishing off what's left of Shep's yogurt. I make myself something that's yummy and good for me, and I put it on a nice plate and I pay attention while eating it. Sometimes I light a candle. I get very fancy with this business. I do a little exercise where no one can see me. I take a shower and put on some lavender lotion. I paint my toenails. These are all sleeping-baby-only activities and they make me feel more ready to give him my full attention when he wakes up. There's something about clean hair that just makes you feel like a fully functioning human.
taking care of my mind: For me this looks like journaling or writing on the blog, reading a book, learning a new skill, or making something. You know what makes your brain feel happy. Do those things, even if it's just for a little while.
taking care of my spirit: This is for those life-giving disciplines... reading Scripture, praying, meditating, giving thanks. Some of my best times for this one are when Shep is asleep in the backseat. I've also noticed that beauty is good for my spirit. I drive out to Round Top pretty frequently, and there's just something about cows and yellow wildflowers and a whole lot of open space that helps everything slide back into place for me.
So there it is! The nap time manifesto. I hope it helps you to pick out those little bits of time you have during your day and make them work for you.