As naps go, an hour isn’t considered a long stretch, but I’d take an hour over 20 minutes any day. An hour is enough time to take a deep, quiet breath, and restore your sanity. I know how sorely tempting it is to just sit there and stare into space until the lights on the baby monitor start flashing. There were days when that was all I was capable of doing.
Other times, I whirled through our house like a dervish, trying to get 10 things done at once. Of course, that flawed strategy meant I rarely completed even one chore completely.
I decided that a smarter – and ultimately, more satisfying – use of this precious time was to focus on getting one quantifiable task completed. There was a thrill of accomplishment even if all I did was pay a few bills.
What else can you get done in just one hour? Here are some ideas:
Get some of the prep work done by chopping up veggies, or assemble a healthy, colorful salad. Search the web for meals (Check out www.thenaptimechef.com). You can start early in the day and finish in the evening.
Fold and put away the laundry.
Or similarly, accomplish a task which baby might be tempted to “help” you with, but would only hinder your progress. My cousin only empties the dishwasher when her son in napping. When he’s awake, he crawls right over, drawn like a magnet to those shiny utensils on the bottom shelf.
Clean one room.
Just one. The one farthest from the room where your child is sleeping, so the noise won’t wake him or her. While the rest of the house might look post-apocalyptic, you can retreat to that one room and breathe in the sweet smell of order among chaos.
There are plenty of 15-minute workout DVDs on the market. It’s never my first choice for free time, but I have to admit, elevating my heart rate energizes me and puts me in a better mood. It’s exactly the fortification I needed when my daughter woke up with a diaper explosion.
Converse with another grown-up.
Take advantage of the silence. This is the best time to talk with someone without background disruptions. And while I did sometimes make a leisurely call to catch up with a friend, I would more frequently spend the time to call the insurance company about a claim, get estimates for a chimney sweep, or schedule a play date.
Traci L. Suppa thinks time travel is the only explanation for her son turning 13 this year. Her six-year old daughter brings the glam to their crazy household. In addition to her own family travel blog, Go BIG or Go Home, Traci is a contributing blogger for FamilyVacationCritic.com and has written for WomansDay.com and NewParent.com.