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One of the things that new moms hear all the time is "sleep when the baby sleeps". Which sounds like great advice! In theory. We're sure moms would love nothing more than to drop what they're doing and hit the sack every time the baby falls asleep. But in all honesty, it's just not very realistic! Babies sleep a lot in those first weeks, and require so much of your attention when they're actually awake. So you're getting nothing done when they're awake, and then taking several naps throughout the day? Who has time for that?! Moms need to learn very quickly to be very good at multitasking and prioritizing. Which means making the most of their time when the baby is asleep. Sure, some days you can swing a nap during nap time. But most days, those precious few hours throughout the day are used for anything BUT sleep.
Maybe it's been so long since you've showered that your hair is basically one solid chunk of dry shampoo. Perhaps your older kid had to bust out a Halloween costume to wear to school because laundry has piled up. Or maybe you haven't had a solid meal in two weeks and the random snack here and there just isn't cutting anymore. We know you're tired, but we also know that stuff needs to get done! It's hard to take care of yourself and maintain a household when you've only got one free hand and arm. So when the baby is asleep and you suddenly get both your arms back? It's go time. The possibilities are endless! But you have to work fast: that baby will be up before you know it.
When you have a baby, your list of priorities goes a little wonky. Who needs an actual shower when you have baby wipes and dry shampoo?! But a shower can be about more than getting clean. A nice hot shower can release tension in your body, invigorate your mind, and make you feel like a new person. Plus, you can express some milk in the shower and relieve the melon-boob situation you've got going on. And it is a scientific fact that NOTHING feels as good as washing your hair after 4+ days of dry shampoo. It's practically orgasmic. So as soon as that baby's eyes are shut and their breathing gets deep, get your butt in the shower. If you play your cards right, you might even have time to shave your legs!
Have you ever been so hungry that you sort of stop being hungry? It's like a gnawing feeling in your belly that becomes just a part of your daily life. The ironic thing about motherhood, especially during that crucial postpartum period, is that you need constant nourishment but have zero time to actually eat. Handfuls of Goldfish crackers and the occasional bite of a warm meal just don't cut it. So when the baby is asleep, it's the perfect time to eat an actual meal. Moms use that quiet time to feed only themselves, which is a rare treat. And with two free hands to shovel food into your face and no baby to hold, you can make up a lot of lost ground. Plus you don't have to worry about dropping food on your sleeping baby.
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Suuuuuuuure, you could take a nap. Or eat a meal. Or take a shower. But have you considered doing none of those things and just vegging out on the couch for some quality Netflix time? Because that sounds amazing. Just you, the remote, and a few episodes of your favorite show. This is an excellent way to spend the time, because you can do it from bed! Or the couch, while the baby sleeps in the bassinet. Or their nursery, while you rock yourself into a lull on your phone. It might not be the most productive use of baby's sleep time, but who says we have to be productive every single hour of the day?
We don't recommend being this productive during every nap time, but sure, you can perform some actual adult duties during nap time. We suppose you could finally take that trash mountain out. Or wash all the bottles since you only have one clean one left. If your baby can sleep through white noise, you can even vacuum, if you wanted! After all, your floors have started to produce dust bunnies the size of small puppies, and your toddler ate some couch crackers the other day that had probably been there for weeks. It's definitely a responsible use of your time, so feel free to use baby sleep time to clean. But not more than once every couple of weeks, let's not get crazy.
You got that gorgeous manicure before you went into the hospital to have your baby, but 4 weeks later the gel is hanging tight in some places and chipped in others. It's been weeks since you properly washed your face and used all of the expensive potions and lotions you've amassed over time. Your eyebrows look like they're about to crawl right off your face and begin their metamorphosis into beautiful butterflies. In other words, it's been a hot minute since you've devoted any time at all to your personal upkeep. So once the baby is snoozing, bust out the masks and tweezers and get to work! You'll feel so much better.
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And no, we don't mean actual tea. Although please have a nice hot cup of that if you're in the mood! We mean THE TEA. All the happenings they've missed in their friend circle and social lives. Who's done what and with whom and who said what to whom. The tea, ladies! Listen, we certainly aren't advocating being a busybody gossip. But you can miss a lot when you're elbow-deep in baby life! It's so important to stay connected to your friends and outside life in those first weeks and months. It helps you keep that part of your life active, and gives you a nice respite from the monotony of motherhood. Get that text thread fired up when baby goes down, and give your social life your full attention.
This excellent use of sleeping baby time requires a bit of pre-planning. Because you can't just leave the baby home alone, right? Of course not! So line up a grandma or a sister or a sitter or your partner to man the fort, feed the baby, get the baby to sleep, and GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. Alone. Completely and totally alone. No kids, no worries, no obligations. Go get a cup of fancy coffee! Get your nails or hair done! Enjoy a nice quiet lunch at your favorite cafe! Or aimlessly wander the aisles of Target with some Starbucks and popcorn. As much as you love your baby, you need to spend a little time by yourself. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?
What is it about having a baby that immediately quadruples your laundry duties?! It seems like you do a load a day, and while you might be able to steal a few minutes here and there to pop a load in, there's no way you can find the time every day to actually fold it and put it away. You show me a home with a baby that doesn't have a laundry mountain in one (or several) rooms, and I will show you a magical place that does not exist. Eventually, unless you all want to live in your underwear, it's going to need to be handled. The great thing about folding and putting away laundry is that you can watch TV while you do it.
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So many Instagrams photos to like, so little time! It can feel like you lose touch with the outside world when you have a baby, and staying active on social media is a great way to stay connected. This is another one of those things that is probably not the most productive use of your time, but again: we can't kill the game 24-7. We need some dumb vices that just let our brains turn to mush for a bit. Check out what's new on Facebook and Twitter, post those baby photos you've been hanging onto for two weeks until you had the time, check in on your favorite celebs to see what they're up to. Luckily for us, the algorithms for these networks are completely ass-backward, and you will totally be able to see the last three weeks worth of posts.
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You see each other every day. You talk and text and eat meals together. Hell, you sleep in the same bed most nights, for crying out loud! But when's the last time you actually got to just enjoy each other's company? No interruptions, no kids, no babies to tend to. Just solid cuddling and chatting like two grown people. It's been a hot minute, right? Well, if you're both home and that baby is sleeping, have some YOU time! Pop open a bottle of wine, dim the lights, and reconnect with your partner. There doesn't even have to be any funny business. Just some time where the two of you can bond as partners. That is SO important.
Sure, you can connect and talk and cuddle. That's wonderful! Or you can get down and dirty and scratch that itch that's been on your mind for the last few weeks. When you have a baby, you have to get creative. There will be plenty of night where you both go to bed at different times, or one of you is up and down with the baby. Or you're just too goddamn exhausted to do anything at the end of the night but sleep. So think outside the box! Baby down for a nap? That's plenty of time for a quickie. You gotta keep those fires burning even when your regular sex habits have been disrupted. Who needs a bed at night when you have a couch at noon? No one, that's who.
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Ohhhhhhh, our poor older children, LOL. Listen, it's not forever, so don't beat yourself up when a new baby arrives and you suddenly don't have tons of time to spend one-on-one with your older kids. It's a big adjustment, for everyone! Stealing little moments away with your bigs can be such a good use of your time. And when the baby is asleep, you can get some uninterrupted quality time with them. Do a craft, or watch a show! Or just hang out and snuggle and catch up on what's been happening. Things will settle down and soon enough, you'll get into a groove and have time for everyone in your family. But in the beginning, make sure to carve out some special time for the ones who came first.
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We get it: you're on maternity leave, you haven't left the house to shop in weeks, and all the people who need to contact you (that you actually want to hear from) can text you. So that inbox has probably been a little neglected. When the baby is sleeping, you can sit down with a cup of hot coffee and start unraveling the mess. Or, you can just declare email bankruptcy and mass delete the entire batch. That feels really good sometimes, trust us. But probably don't make a habit of it. There's bound to be one or two important emails in the bunch on occasion.
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You are enamored of this little person who you made, and you just can't get enough! Totally, 100% relatable. We've all been there, and we've all spent an insane amount of time just staring at our sleeping kids. Or checking to make sure they're still breathing. Or readjusting their swaddle or blanket when it gets all mussed up. You might have tons of ideas on how to spend your sleeping baby time, but then you go and put the baby down and OH GOD THEY JUST LOOK SO CUTE. So you stand there for a bit and stare. And then your legs get tired so you pull the glider over to the crib and stare some more. And the suddenly it's been two hours and your baby is awake and you never even left the room. It happens.
You've got a stack and books and magazines on your nightstand that you collected to read during those nursing sessions. And then you realized how hard it was to actually hold a baby to your boob in one arm, and hold a book and turn the page in the other. But you have to keep your brain fresh! Reading is a great escape, and lots of us wish we had more time to do it. Use that baby sleeping time to start that book you've been meaning to start, or read all about celeb gossip in that trashy magazine you picked up at the drugstore. Just a nice, quiet activity that doesn't require much, but can really help you unwind.
It's a novel concept, we know! Actually sleeping when the baby is sleeping, who does that?! Well, every mom should do it every once in a while. You're not getting much sleep any other time, so you need to catch up somehow, and your body needs the rest. All this other stuff is all well and good, but really, try to get some sleep sometimes! Even a nice co-sleeping nap with your baby is an option. You might as well get a little shut eye to revitalize yourself for whatever the day brings next. The good thing is, you'll still have plenty of time to do some of this other stuff, since babies take so many naps!