Don't do anything while your baby is asleep, that you could do while they are awake.
It is very easy for new parents to feel like every second that their baby is awake, they need to be interacting with them, entertaining them, stimulating them… We put so much pressure on ourselves to do it right, focus all of our energy on our little ones, and then try to cram as many chores as we can into nap times or after they go to bed at night.
You know what that is, my friends? It’s an absolute recipe for burnout. It’s totally unsustainable. And as an aside, it’s probably not great for your baby’s development either! So I’d like to invite you into a mindset shift which could be great not just for your baby, but also (maybe more importantly) really important for you.
The world is phenomenally interesting for babies and toddlers. Very boring things can be fascinating. They can spend whole chunks of a day investigating their own limbs, or the shadows on the wall, or the sound of a dog in the distance… if they are given the opportunity to.
Self-led play and exploration of the world is so valuable for development. Being allowed the opportunity to interact with someone when they want interaction, and explore in their own way when they want to do that - it is a real gift for babies.
So I invite you to spend less time entertaining your baby, and more time getting on with your day while they are awake. Engage them if they seek engagement: narrate what you’re doing, wear them in a baby carrier. But you might find that they are really happy to lie on a may nearby, and watch. Or to do their own thing!
If your baby or toddler has always been used to being entertained, then they may not have developed their natural capacities for independent play in quite the same way. So if this is a new idea for you, go slow. Start small - with just a minute or two - and build up from there.
Making this mindset shift will allow you more time to actually REST when the opportunity is available. Your little one’s nap time should be time for your own recharging, too. What would it take for you to reclaim some of this time as your own - not to get jobs done, but to top yourself up?
If you'd like some more ideas about how to make things on the domestic front more manageable during this intense phase of parenting, check out my free guide "Lightening the Domestic Load."