As a new parent, time is not on your side. You wake up to a crying baby, care for their needs, and spend the remainder of your day snuggling your baby, stroking their chubby cheeks and soft arms. Rinse and repeat. That's it. But what to do once they’re asleep? I mean, you’ve been doing the same thing every four hours (give or take), so what do you do with all this freedom? Personally, I say you just pick from the list of things new parents do when their baby fall asleep if you're lacking ideas, because while every parent and every baby is different, us parents can all relate to that, "Well, now what?" feeling you experience after your baby finally snoozes.
In retrospect, I wish I’d kept a list of things I had to do on my phone back when I was a new parent. Now that I’m mother to a toddler and working from home, that list exists, and it definitely helps keep me organized. These days, my list involves getting the kiddo ready for preschool, downing something resembling breakfast, and immediately getting to work writing articles like, well, this one. In between that, I do a short workout video, take a shower, and maybe even eat lunch while watching a TV show.
However, back when I was a brand new mom my main To Do was just shower. That was it, and usually that shower came at the end of the day when I actually had a few moments to myself. So, what else was I doing as a new mom while my little one snoozed? Here's just a few:
Catch Up On Sleep
New parents don’t sleep. It’s a fact of life. OK, so maybe they sleep some, but that’s the first thing on your mind every chance you get.
Catch Up On Sex
New parents, that are finally ready (and able) to have sex again, might use the time their baby is sleeping as an opportunity to get it on. Masturbation is also a good option. Of course, that’s assuming you don’t fall asleep while getting undressed. It’s been known to happen.
Eat A Decent Meal
It’s not that you don’t eat while your baby is awake, because (hopefully) you do. It's just that you don’t eat mindfully. Instead, you’re running around looking for clean diapers while you munch on a protein bar, or you’re driving home from the doctor and pass by a fast-food window.
So, if you need to, take the opportunity to eat something actually substantial.
Catch Up On “Adult-Oriented” TV & Movies
I mean, I was kinda watching adult-oriented stuff when my kid was a newborn anyway, but I always had to keep it on mute and read the captions. But when they’re asleep? I can totally watch every episode of whatever is on HBO without batting an eyelash.
Catch Up On Cleaning
Cleaning sucks, especially when you have a newborn. OK, actually it sucks more when you have a toddler, honestly, but I certainly didn’t enjoy it back then, either. So many tiny socks, you guys.
Curse A Lot More
I know some parents don’t care about swearing in front of their kids. Honestly, I do it inadvertently and always followed by, “But don’t you say that. That word is for adults.” But back then, when I was a brand new mom, I was still beating myself up about becoming World’s Better-Than-OK Mom, so I saved my expletives for when my kid was in REM.
Indulge In Vices
I quit smoking cigarettes a long, long time ago, thankfully (I was only ever a social smoker, anyway). However, I still partake in other vices, and they aren’t always the sort of thing you should be doing around an infant. So, you know, wait till the little one sleeps before you drink your beer or, um, whatever.
Brush Up On My Hygiene & Self-Care
If you think squeezing a short shower in when you're caring for an infant is rough, try remembering to do all the other things aside from quickly scrubbing soap and shampoo on yourself. Clipping nails? Brushing teeth? Shaving anything? Using deodorant? Plucking anything, um, additional you don’t want on you? Moisturizing? Yeah, those things don't magically just happen.
Play Violent Or Otherwise Explicit Video Games
This is more for my husband than for me, honestly. I don’t really play many video games unless they’re simply puzzles like Peggle or Zuma. But for the parents who play stuff like Grand Theft Auto or whatever, save it for later.
It is impossible to read books as a parent (unless they’re kid’s books). I am convinced of this, actually, because your child will undoubtedly need you the minute you finish the first paragraph. Never fails. Doesn’t mean I didn’t try, though.
Watch The Baby Sleep
At the end of the day, you’re in love with your baby. It happens. It’s alright. It also means even when they’re asleep and you’re "free," you’re really not free at all. Oh, but aren’t they just the cutest when they sigh in their sleep? Damn. There goes shaving my legs again.