By Cheryl Bac
E-mail Cheryl Bac
About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl... (More)
About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons including Chicago and Boston. Exercise is an integral part of my life. I hope to one day go back to long distance running and tackle the New York City Marathon. Right now I run after my one year old son. Although I am a stay-at-home mom, we are rarely "at home." My mom also stayed at home with my brother and me. She warned me that, although rewarding, it can be isolating. So, with her help, I learned the importance of getting out into the community and meeting other mothers. On the rare occasion when I am at home and have a hand or two free, I squeeze in time to scrapbook. As a new mom, many challenges are thrown my way. I hope my opinions, triumphs, and struggles help experienced parents reminisce, new parents cope, and parents-to-be get an honest glimpse of what the first years of motherhood can entail. (Hide)
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We've all heard that new parents should "sleep when baby sleeps." However, if you've ever been a new parent you know that this advice is not always easy to follow. When baby falls asleep, it can be tempting to use that time to eat a meal, take a shower, answer email, fold clothes, watch TV, etc. And it can be frustrating to lie down and start to drift off to sleep only to be awoken by a crying and wide awake baby.
When my son was a newborn I attended a group with other first-time moms. The facilitator listened to our excuses about why we couldn't sleep when baby slept..."he cat-naps," "he only sleeps in my arms," "I don't enjoy napping," etc. Her advice was to just lie down whenever baby slept. Don't worry about falling asleep. Just rest and try to stay off of your feet.
I found her advice to be even more helpful when tending to both a toddler and a newborn. I couldn't sleep whenever baby slept, but I could rest - read books with my toddler, color, etc. And when our toddler took his afternoon nap, I helped our daughter take a longer nap as well - by keeping her room quiet, nursing her, swaddling her, etc. Most of the time I was able to sync their naps enough to take a catnap myself. Yes, sometimes it was only 15 minutes and I didn't always fall asleep, but I felt like the time was best spent resting rather than cooking, cleaning, etc.
After a few weeks I no longer needed that afternoon nap but I still put in the effort to sync their naps. When both kids were napping I could focus on completing tasks that reenergized me. Sometimes that meant taking a shower. Sometimes that meant exercising. And sometimes that meant reading a book.
I'm thankful that I was able to sync their naps when our daughter was a newborn. It gave me the energy I need to keep up with my toddler now that he has dropped his final nap.
Did you try to sleep when your baby slept? Sync your kids' naps? Were you successful?