There are few things more frustrating than having a to do list about three miles long and your sweet baby just needs you right now. Like, right. now. and possibly for an hour or more. This is what we call the "nap-trap" and she's either sleeping, nursing, or just in general refusing to move or allow you to do anything.
So what can you do besides mindless interwebbing?
Grab that phone or computer and re-evaluate what parts of your life can get managed with just your hands free. Luckily there are a bunch of things you can do that require you to mostly/only think about stuff which is pretty much what you are reduced to right now. Here are ten things you can check off that to do list and build productivity without even leaving your chair!
Reserve library books and materials
You can create wonderful experiences for your kids with just a little prior thinking and planning. This is a great time to brainstorm about it! Think about the books you want to read with your kids and reserve them to be picked up later. There are lots of sites online that offer lists of books for different themes or subject areas. You can also reserve music, tablets, DVDs, audio books, language courses and more! You can also take classes at the library and so can your big kids! The library is a wealth of resources for a mom who needs new and free ways to supplement her children’s education or plan enriching activities for herself and her family.
Plan this season’s gifts and occasions
Figure out who has a birthday or an anniversary in the coming months and shop around on deal or creative sites for something fun that you could make or design with one hand by clicking buttons. If you plan way ahead, this will signal to your brain that you are being very productive and creative and will build momentum for when baby wakes up. The bonus is that you'll be able to give a gift that is thoughtful and fun and not something you grabbed at the last minute because life is crazy. Are you in charge of Easter or Christmas dinner, or is there a kid birthday coming up soon? So what if it’s three months away, you are stuck girl so you might as well get a head start on it!
Update your files
Do you have copies of birth certificates and social security cards for everyone? Shot records on hand? If you are planning on putting your children in care outside of your home, you will likely need all or some of those items. Ordering paperwork and printing off copies of things to be filed is an easy way to get organized when you literally can't move.
Okay, I know. This one is a dicey subject because we all know nursing and nap traps have likely already done a number on our bank accounts due to online shopping but what I am suggesting here is smart shopping. Guess what's on sale in the spring? winter coats. Buy a size up for next season. Bathing suits go on sale as do other summer items in the winter. Snag them now for next summer. Another thing to do is to make your grocery list. Thanks to online ordering and pickup, getting your groceries doesn’t have to involve even leaving your car. Many stores offer pickup service for free! You order from your cozy couch and pickup without exiting your vehicle.
But I don't mean gossipy or fun stuff. Don’t me wrong, you need to read the fun stuff too but when you are stuck, I mean actually read something that has some heft. Is there a subject you are passionate about and want to become an expert in? Did you know that if you read thirty minutes a day on that subject, you will be an expert in about a year. What about slowly learning a language? The library can help you there too!
This will save you tons and tons of money and everything you need is right at your fingertips. Pinterest and cooking websites as well as many different varieties of meal planning apps can assist you in using this time you are otherwise occupied to plan healthy and delicious meals for family. In my town, we have actual meal planning services that will assemble all the spices and ingredients for you in a bag and you just add the meat and freeze the bag. Then you pull it out for the crockpot whenever you want and you have meals completely planned for less than you could do it yourself! These companies have changed my life. I was shocked at how easy this has made my life and it also saved a lot of money for us as a family.
Along the same lines of more focused reading, watching some really great documentaries during this time will stimulate your brain and get you thinking in a grown-up direction. It can be so hard when we are around tiny people all day to remember what extraordinary and passionate brains we have! That hasn’t gone away so watch something well done and enjoy having this exclusive time to “adult” and build your knowledge.
Make all the lists. Lists for things to do today, tomorrow, next month, six months. Make lists about home improvement projects, Pinterest projects, decorating ideas, vacation ideas, financial lists, lists about your kids, summer activities, ideas for classes to take etc. Effective list making and planning is a HUGE part of productivity and you are in a prime position to knock that part of your day out right now as your sweet baby sleeps on you.
This actually might be the most powerful and productive thing you can do if you find this type of activity helpful and enjoyable. Doing this will calm you, bring you back to your center, and remind you of how important it is to be present, quiet, and aware of what is happening around you, and inside of you.
So there you have it! Ten ways to clear mental clutter and multi task while you are giving your sweet little one that much-needed cuddle time. Share your ideas about what you do when the nap-trap happens!
Lauren resides in Oklahoma with her husband and two children. She is a birth worker and an aspiring writer. In her spare time, she loves to work out and spend time perusing old and new bookstores.