This has probably been my hardest parenting hurdle. For a few short months, I had blissful afternoons. With both munchkins snoozing for about two hours at the same time, I could do the chores in peace, bake, waste time on social media and drink as many HOT cups of tea as I liked. It was even possibly to occasionally have a nap myself!
But no more…
I started to realise that when the two-year-old munchkin had a long arvo kip, she was up at all hours of the night singing and talking. Suddenly my great 12-hour sleeper was one no more.
But afternoon naps?? What about MY time???
This was why it was the hardest parenting decision. I consulted all my friends who have older kiddies and gathered ideas. As one of the wise mums at playgroup pointed out, it’s psychologically difficult for the stay-at-home parent – in practice, it’s just another step. Another step up that parenting ladder.
So this is what we did:
- I explained to big munchkin that sometimes Mummy is busy and has to do some things by herself. At that time, it can be her ‘quiet time’.
- We changed her cot into a bed, so that she can get in and out as she pleases. Just in case she wants an arvo nap.
- We bought a CD player and I burnt a whole lot of kids CDs. I taught her how to use it herself.
- We put pretty lights up in her room for a bit of fun and ambiance.
- We made an ikea hack learning tower so she can help me with dinner prep.
- All her crafty things (play-doh, stickers, pencils, paper, etc) are accessible, so she can help herself.
And does it work?
As with everything, sometimes yes and sometimes no. I probably get at least 30-45 mins (but sometimes longer if I’m lucky) each arvo when she plays quietly in her room. Every now and again (once a week or fortnight) she might have a snooze – not always in bed (see photo below)! When nothing is working, the garden usually does. And I still get wifi in the backyard.
I also try to be very hands-on in the morning, so she seems more accepting of my personal time in the afternoons. I think I’m also better at getting my chores done super-efficiently: multiple loads of washing don’t get hung out until they’re all washed, dishes get done and the dishwasher gets (un)packed whilst the two of them are eating lunch and tidying up happens whilst we play!
What happens when the next one stops napping??? EEK! That’s something for future Sof to worry about.
If you have any other good ‘quiet time’ activities that have worked for you… please comment below.