9 Stages Of Productivity You Try To Reach (Or Not) While Your Kid Naps

I know that the people who say “sleep when the baby sleeps” mean well, but I’m pretty certain most of them don’t quite remember what a newborn’s sleep schedule actually looks like. At first, nap time is the only chance you have to stop, look around, and pat yourself to make sure all your clothes are still on and all your body parts still in place. Though, somewhere along the way, whether it be after six weeks or six months or 16 months, you'll be able to actually get things done during nap time, I promise (as opposed to just lying on the floor, like I sometimes did).

Once our little’s sleep routine started to even out, I started to use nap time in new and exciting ways ways I never thought possible: emails, cleaning, laundry, chores, food prep, pumping, skydiving, bungee jumping, and even sometimes an occasional nap of my own. Just kidding! I'm not a good enough napper to be able to do it while my son sleeps if there isn't another adult in the house.

Now that my son is well into toddlerhood, naps are a whole new beast. He's down to just one, so you can imagine just how precious those minutes are. Here's a breakdown of what nap time productivity is like in our house:

Nearly Naptime

Since he transitioned to that one nap per day and I’m still in mourning for the loss of the second one. Suffice it to say, I’m always ready for naptime.

You've Laid Them Down

The first few minutes are deceptively glorious, like watching the clock tick down on the last day of school before summer break. An expanse of glorious freedom stretches in front of you, and the world is your oyster.


As his breathing becomes steadier and deeper, mine becomes shorter and more excited. What should I do with these 90 minutes? Dance naked in the living room? Eat all the cheese in the fridge? Throw a one-person, BYOB Netflix party? YES I THINK SO. All of the above.

Reality Sets In

Oh, wait. Maybe I should get a few things done before Netflixing? I start slowly inching toward my computer, or the kitchen, or the laundry room, or whatever else needs some attention.

The Halfway Point


They Stir, But Fall Back Asleep

I’m sweating. I vow to never again waste the first few minutes of his nap, and promise myself that I will always start getting things done immediately after he falls asleep.

Approaching Regular Wake-up Time

The most productive part of my day are the eight minutes leading up to the end of his regular nap window.

Denial As He Starts to Stir

I mean, maybe he will fall back asleep. Maybe he’s just adjusting and getting comfortable. Maybe he’s not going to stand all the way up and start calling for me. Maybe he will stop shouting and crying. Maybe he will lay back down and fall asleep on his own....


I feel slightly irritated until I go and pick him up. Once he relaxes against my shoulder, I'm back in the mom zone. What was I just mad about? I can’t even remember.