3 Ways to Maximize Productivity During Your Toddler's Naptime
Updated: Mar 28, 2019
The long-awaited, but so quick-to-go 2 hours…
You know what I’m talking about if you are a stay at home mom whose kid actually naps.
I’m so very lucky because my 3 year old son STILL naps for 2 hours a day (don’t worry I will be posting soon about all things nap schedules, including the one we’ve had my son on since he was born!)
Each morning I cannot wait for these 2 hours of solitude that I am granted after tucking my little one into his big boy bed.
But, as soon as I close his door I am met with a storm of overwhelm and anxiety.
WHAT DO I DO FIRST?!
I want to get ALL THE THINGS done, but feel so confined to that 2-hour time span that I worry I will not fully maximize the very short amount of free time I do get.
The inner dialogue goes something like this...
Me to myself: "Do I clean first?"
Well, no because then I’ll be cleaning for like an hour and boom! I only have one hour left at that point.
"Do I get work done? I do have some stuff to get done for my one client…"
"Should I record a YouTube video? Post a blog? Shower? Eat?"
Literally there are a million and one things I could do during this time frame, and I’m sure you can relate to this craziness if you too are a stay at home mom.
Plus, it has gotten slightly more difficult for me to get anything done when my little one is up unless I plop him in the pack and play, which I’m trying to do less & less.
So, what’s a mom to do?!
While I still don’t have a definitive answer to that question (because I find myself dealing with this anxiety on quite a regular basis) I do have a few tips to work towards maximizing those well-won 2 hours that you get while your mini me is napping:
1) Try to stick to doing things that you can ONLY do when your little one is napping.
This one is a bit hard for me lately because like I said I want to do all the things. Plus, the thought of me not being able to see something through to fruition in one sitting drives my perfectionist self insane. For example, I have been taking that first hour of my son’s nap to clean only to realize that maybe I don’t have to do ALL of the cleaning during that time of the day, but to focus in on the activities that can only be done when he’s sleeping.
One of those things for me is vacuuming.
Vacuuming the master bedroom is nearly impossible unless I plop him down in the pack and play. Vacuuming the living room is absolutely impossible when he’s awake unless I sit him down with play dough or something else to keep him contained (hmmm actually that’s not a bad idea!)
Another thing that’s pretty much impossible to do when my son is awake is filming YouTube videos without interruptions.
Trying to do things that require your full attention, or silence, or your little one not getting in the way when they are awake is extremely frustrating and can cause you to act unfavorably.
That’s why I think it is crucial to take a moment, or make a list of the things you can only do when your toddler’s napping so you can utilize this time with the the utmost intention.
2) Be realistic and let go of expectations!
Like I said in my last suggestion, it drives me insane to not feel like I have the time to see everything I want to get done through to fruition, but that's just the reality of this season of life. Therefore, I’ve found it helpful to try to let go of the expectation of getting EVERYTHING done in that short 2-hour span.
If I don’t get something done that I really want to get done in those 2 hours I try my best to either get it done later in the day, or the next day, or try to find a way to break tasks into smaller chunks so it is getting accomplished over time.
There’s NOTHING wrong with taking more time to get something done if you can’t complete the entire task in a shorter amount of time. Make sense?
Bonus Tip: Stop comparing yourself to other people you see on social media who seem to be getting it all done in a short amount of time (especially if they don’t have kids). There is NO rush. Life is a marathon, not a sprint!
3) Prioritize with Intention!
This tip is extra important because I think it is so easy for us moms to strive to be like everyone else. Honestly though, nobody else matters.
If you are spending this precious time involved in activities that you're only doing to gain approval or validation from others, or are things that truly drain you (as in you really don’t want to be doing them) then it is time to get real with yourself and start thinking of things you WANT to be doing.
Now, I’m not suggesting to put off important tasks that might need to get done in order to keep your house + family running smoothly (btw I’ll also be sharing how I fell in love with cleaning pretty soon!) but perhaps you don’t have to spend the WHOLE 2 hours that your child is napping to accomplish those things.
And, if all else fails choose one day/one nap a week to simply indulge in whatever your heart desires.
Clear your schedule for those 2 hours and do what you want at least one day at week, especially if you are feeling in need of a mental reset.
Because when you allow yourself that freedom you will be able to tackle your to-do list with more pep in your step and things will get done faster!
For more tips + tricks on living an intentional mom life with fun and ease check out these resources:
3 Ways to Implement Daily Self-Care as a New Mom [YouTube Video]
How to Adult When Your Toddler is Cranky AF [YouTube Video]
3 Simple Tips to Kiss Mommy Guilt Goodbye for Good [YouTube Video]