Almost every new mother has received the sage advice to sleep when the baby sleeps. This is a wonderful piece of advice if only life weren’t filled with complexities and exceptions. Some of these exceptions include moms who have a toddler or two or more underfoot who will not sleep at the same time as the baby is sleeping, or the mom who is juggling working from home who needs that precious naptime to catch up on email or return a phone call, or the mom (almost every mom) who needs to manage the overwhelming needs of her household including paying the bills on time, scheduling doctor/dentist appointments, unloading the dishwasher, folding the laundry, and the list goes on!
But take heart dear momma; this post isn’t meant to remind you of all the many things you need to squeeze in during baby’s nap-time. This post is meant to serve as an encouragement and to provide you with a few simple tricks to find some rejuvenation during this season of mothering little ones.
If You Can’t Sleep When the Baby Sleeps, These Ideas May Help
- Establish Priorities – setting just one or at most two tasks to complete each day will help eliminate feelings of inadequacy and help you focus and feel productive, and remain sane during the years you have little ones underfoot. Whenever we set too many tasks for a day and fall short of those tasks, we can’t help but feel stressed or overwhelmed.
- Alternate Forms of Relaxation –brew cup of tea or coffee and sip it slow, breathe in and out several times, sit down and put your feet up even just a short time may help you feel a bit more refreshed, or call a friend or family member. All of the above can be tricky with a toddler(s) present but can still be doable if you set the toddler up with something to do such as a craft or project or a TV show so you can catch a short break.
- Plan an Outing so you have something to look forward to. It can be so easy to lose yourself in the process of mothering little ones that you forget to take precious time to yourself. This neglect of self can lead to a mirage of negative feelings such as bitterness, anger or depression. Planning an outing can really help ease negative feelings and act as a lifeline. **Note if you are suffering from Postpartum depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder an outing alone is not enough, and you should not be ashamed to seek support.
- Take it Easy on Yourself – when you feel the stress mounting, remember that this is just a “season” of time and before long you will be the one telling another mom to relax, it will all be ok and you may even miss these hectic, joyful times!
- Ask For Help – If you have family or a close friend nearby, it’s perfectly ok to ask for help so you can take a nap, shower, go grocery shopping or run errands. Or if you do not have family or friends available, services like Care For Moms offer flexible in-home support to moms who may just need someone to come once or twice a week to help with household chores, play with your toddler, run some errand for/or with you (we can stay in the car while you run in) or just so you can take that much needed nap!
So yeah, you may not get to “sleep” when the baby sleeps but you can find ways to rest and relax throughout this season of raising little ones.