When I first had Caspian people kept saying “Don’t worry…things will get better!” This puzzled me at the time (and I still find it a strange thing to say to a new mum, especially one that’s not complaining), because I actually thought things were pretty freaking amazing. I had had a relatively easy water birth, and we took Caspian for his first outing at only four-days-old, mind you just for a quick half an hour at our local coffee shop, but still. He fed well, slept well, and I felt so happy. Why did I need things to get better?
When he was two and half months I started this blog. It was something I had been wanting to do for a long time, and with everything going so well, I felt I had the energy and time (when Caspian was napping) to do it justice. I got so much done over the next couple of months, and felt really proud of what I achieved in that short amount of time. I quickly saw a potential in turning this from a hobby into something more, as it fulfills everything I love about being free-lance: working hours that suit me, creative control, and it’s great fun.
But then Caspian’s naps started getting shorter, he stopped sleeping through from 7 to 11 in the evenings, now waking every hour and the free time I had had to get chores done around the house and write, disappeared almost overnight. This proved frustrating and rather stressful and my health suffered as a consequence along with the house becoming more unmanageable and the blog not getting updated as frequently as I would have liked.
But as I’m never one for giving up and letting life overwhelm me in the long run I took the baby by the nappy and thought up ways that I could at least try and keep the house in check and get work things done despite an often overtired little man, who seems to believe he’s full of beans when he is clearly exhausted. I blame his curious nature (and teething!), that he simply doesn’t like to miss out on anything (a bit like his mummy!).
So here are my top three tips for getting things done, when you have a nap-resisting baby:
- A sling or carrier! This has been an absolute godsend. We went for the ergobaby, as Caspian was a big boy from birth and the weight is distributed evenly between your hips and shoulders, making it a lot easier and more comfortable to carry him. It wasn’t a cheap investment, but definitely worth it in the long run. Now he’s sitting on my front watching every move I make and keeping an eye on the world around us. But it does allow me to hang the laundry, do the dishes (okay, I lie… Daddy Long Legs does the dishes), tidy up or even blog, when he gets clingy and just want to be close to me, which I believe is quite normal for 8-9 months. Plus it’s great for air travel, too, especially if you’re travelling alone with the baby. Trying to fold a buggy one-handed with a strong bubs in the other, is close to impossible. And you might get lucky that your baby will dose off and actually have a little rest with the warmth of your skin and the calming sound of your heart as a soothing lullaby!
- A massive playpen (if you have the space)! We recently bought one of these as Caspian has learnt to crawl. Gone are the days when I could put him down on a blanket by the kitchen door and he would stay there looking up at me with a peaceful smile, while I made myself some lunch or a cup of tea. The reason I recommend a big one is, that it seems he doesn’t feel so trapped and more readily accept being put into it. There’s plenty of space for him to move around and we’ve filled it with toys (both real toys and Caspian’s favourites), so at least he’s occupied for 55 seconds, giving me just enough time to run to the loo.
- Make a to do list! In the unexpected event of a nap, you want to be prepared, so you can make the most of this new found free time. I have been caught off guard a couple of times, which means aimlessly walking around taking in the chaos, mindless surfing on facebook or just starring into empty space while contemplating where to begin. Only to get pulled back to reality by a loud screech from the monitor informing me that the peace and quiet is over and Caspian is ready to go again. With a list to consult I now know what needs my attention first and can actually get things done. The tricky part is I never know how long I actually have as Caspian’s naps vary in length from 5 minutes to 45 mins (if I’m really lucky), but this only tends to make me work faster.
The good thing is that he now sleeps well at night with only the occasional dream feed to see him through. This means that I, at least, get a good night’s sleep, and I’m starting to have more energy in the day. And lastly, I think it’s important to remember that no one’s ever died from a bulging laundry basket (unless they somehow got trapped under it) or from a bit of dust collecting in a corner, so let’s not be too hard on ourselves!
How do you keep your little ones occupied to deal with house chores, get work done or simply have a moment to yourself?
Of course Caspian has no problem sleeping on me for long lengths of time!