Why I Don’t Do Housework During Naptime
As a mom doing all the things, it seems like there’s never enough time during the day to get everything done–cleaning, cooking, food prep, putting away toys, and laundry. There’s always something that needs to be addressed and seemingly not enough time to do it.
When my daughter was first born, I’d use her nap time to feel accomplished, hoping to keep on top of it all. It was exhausting.
So many moms use nap time to do the invisible labor of keeping everything in check. A natural break in the day to catch up without screams, whines, or ankle-biters clinging to your body.
I quickly realized what a mistake this was for me, for so many reasons.
Now I’m a strong advocate of not doing housework during nap time. Here’s why…
In my house, nap time is “me time”.
Self-care is essential to being a happy, healthy person. For me, much of that self-care comes during nap time. It’s a sacred block during my busy day of keeping house, childminding, and side hustling to take a break and do something for myself.
People balk when they hear I don’t do housework during nap time. I get it. It seems unnatural in our hustle culture to accept that we can create space in our day for ourselves.
It feels unfair to hear that another mom spends this time luxuriating in a mid-day bath rather than scrubbing the tub and cleaning counters.
But, I don’t do housework during nap time because that’s my self-care time.
Naptime is the space I take for myself. While my husband has an hour before work to shower, poop without an audience, and scroll through social media, I don’t.
My daughter is an early waker, which means that unless I’m waking up at 5 am (no thanks) my morning starts with diaper changes, breakfast, and constant demands for attention from her and the dog.
When nap time rolls around, I’m already spent. So I use that opportunity to fill up my cup and do things for me.
I shower, take a bath, meditate, exercise, sit outside, or do anything else that makes me happy without my kiddo in tow.
I deserve a break.
If I was on the clock for a boss, there would be a legal obligation to give me a break. Office workers, service professionals, and union workers? They all get breaks.
Why shouldn’t mama get a break?
The fact that I’m not being paid for my labor doesn’t mean I don’t get a break. It’s just the opposite.
The work I do is measured in hugs and love, not dollars and cents. I’m supporting my children physically and emotionally. Target runs aside, I may not be contributing directly to the corporate world, but I’m raising functional members of society.
With every sandwich, play date, wiped nose, and pile of clean laundry, I’m working.
And just like any other worker, I deserve a break.
Not only do I deserve a break; I also need a break.
Research shows that we’re more productive when we have time to step back, rest our minds and bodies, and disconnect from work. This applies to parenting as well.
When we don’t take breaks, we suffer. And when we suffer, our kids suffer too.
I don’t have endless patience. I physically and emotionally can only take so much before I lose my mind. Some days I’m ready to scream before breakfast is even over.
If I don’t take time for myself during nap time, I struggle.
I love my daughter and I want to feel love for her. That means I need to take “me time” while she naps. When my daughter wakes up, she gets a happy, refreshed mama who prioritized herself.
One day she’ll feel the stress of life too. Knowing that prioritizing yourself is a normal part of life will make it easier for her to do the same.
This brings me to my next point…
I don’t do housework during nap time because I don’t believe in invisible labor.
The work of keeping a house and kids clean and happy isn’t magic, it’s WORK. And that work should be visible.
Part of our job as parents is to create functioning members of society and that includes ensuring that our kids know the responsibility that goes into adulting.
Houses don’t clean themselves. Toys don’t magically tidy up. Laundry fairies only exist in our dreams.
Children must learn personal responsibility–cleaning up messes, putting away toys, and pitching in with housework.
If we’re doing it all while they’re sleeping, when will they learn?
Also, nap time doesn’t last forever.
No one looks back at their life wishing they did more housework.
One day your kids will drop their nap and that potential alone time you have will be gone. If you’re lucky you can work rest time into their day, but the solid blocks of kiddos in dreamland, while the sun is up, will one day be gone.
And you’ll wish you had taken the time to yourself.