I know I absolutely ignored this advice as a new mom and here I am, still ignoring it!
Cut to today, my kids go to bed and I’m dog tired…but do I go to sleep??? Ya Freaking Right! (LOL)
I feel like this advice should be taken away because when my babes were teeny tiny, I felt wrong for doing things while they were napping. The only reason I felt bad or guilty for getting stuff done around the house was because I kept hearing everyone under the damn sun, telling me to sleep when the baby sleeps. Yes, I was tired and probably should have slept, but that also mean when the baby woke up, I would be doing other things like cleaning the kitchen, folding the laundry, figuring out what was for dinner…all the things. When for me, it made more sense to do that while the baby was sleeping that way I could focus on them when they were awake.
Doing anything while my baby slept didn’t feel normal at that point because I was going against what other people said. I listened to the advice, didn’t agree with it, but still felt wrong in making my own choices.
This is exactly how we’ve set up motherhood. Everything we do now turns into this second-guessing game and it’s not fair. For me, cleaning the house and catching up on work (I was finishing my master’s at the time) was a priority and it was a nonnegotiable.
Some women need their house to feel tidy in order to reduce their anxiety, which means getting it cleaned while the baby is sleeping. There’s nothing wrong with that. All people are different and we shouldn’t feel obligated (especially during our motherhood journey) to listen and implement all the advice.
We as a society need to find away to stop making moms feel guilty for making a decision of their own. There isn’t anywhere that it says you HAVE to do these things when you’re a mom, but you’ll be damned if you don’t because that mom guilt & the mom shame will set in real quick and never leave. So here’s a simple shift when talking to a new mom about “sleeping when the baby sleeps.”
CHALLENGE: If you’re going to say this to a mom let’s rephrase it shall we…
TRY THIS INSTEAD: “Can I come over when (______) takes a nap to tidy up your house so you can take a nap?” Or “can I come over when (___) takes a nap so you can have some time to yourself?”
Help a new mom (and a seasoned one) feel like they are supported. Help her to start the healthy habits of self-care. Be there for her because you remember how lonely those first couple of months felt. Let’s do more supporting and LESS dictating.
To the new mama: do whatever feels right for you. If you’re able to sleep while your baby is sleeping, by all means do it! If that’s not what will make you feel at east, then don’t. As in all motherhood, you need to do whatever feels right and what’s working for you and baby. Ignore all the noise and feel comfortable with your choices.