Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Intentionality meets naptime

Ah, naptime. That peaceful pocket of the day where all is quiet and I can finally do those important tasks that cannot be done while the girls are awake.

Those important tasks? For a year now have mostly been play on the internet and eat chocolate chips.

And somehow the end of that peaceful time left me feeling anything but peaceful. After zoning out in front of the screen, I lurch out of my chair and realize I haven't done anything on my list! Not even send emails - even though I have checked my email every five minutes for the last 90 minutes. It's bad, folks.

So I decided to shake things up. I decided to be intentional about naptime. And I did two things that completely revolutionized my afternoons. Two things that made naptime a time where we are all recharged and refreshed.

And guess what - neither of those two things was even giving up the internet. Are you ready? Here they are.

1. Making naptime nursing into Bible reading time.

For years and years I have wanted to read the entire Bible, but just never had (made) time for it. Finally I heard a speaker who advised to just focus on the Gospels, and after you've got a good handle on that, go from there. Which is a good idea because starting with Genesis has never gotten me out of the Pentateuch. I've dwelled on the four Gospels for quite a while now, and was ready to move onto the rest of the New Testament, but where would I find the time?

Every afternoon, it turns out. And even though I sometimes think I have the world's fastest nursling, in the past couple months alone I've made it through a huge chunk of the New Testament - I started in Romans and I'm already in Hebrews. That's a full 13 books in just 5-20 minutes a day!

Boppy, burp cloth, Bible. I'm ready to nurse!

2. Starting naptime with prayer.

I usually get somewhere from 20-40 minutes a day of overlapping naptimes. That's not a lot of time, so I have to admit it was initially a bit tough to take those first couple minutes for prayer. But that's what I do, and I pray specifically that God will tell me what I should do during that half hour.

It sounds silly, doesn't it? To think that God would really care about how I spend a measly half hour? Turns out He does, much to my delight. It's not like He tells me specifically what to do every day, but when I pray through my options, usually I am clearly drawn to one of them. Occasionally something completely different will pop into my head and I'll go with that. So one day I might blog, one day I might do dishes, one day I might write, one day I might sew, one day I might nap. On the days where I don't feel any pull to do any of the things I'm considering, I take that as my free pass to do whatever I want... although usually that just indicates that Cecilia is about to wake up so there's not much time for anything anyway!

It's not like I've become amazingly productive during naptime - there are still overdue emails and projects laying around half-finished and tons of blog posts I haven't gotten around to writing or commenting on. But the guilt that used to nag me about them? Completely gone. I'm using my time the way God wants me to (well, at least naptime - I'm not so sure about the rest of the day), and it's a really freeing feeling.

So that's it! Between starting naptime with the rosary for all of us, taking time for personal prayer for direction, and sliding scripture in the middle of it, the afternoon is now a time I savor. For several months now I've been able to finish naptime feeling like it was time truly well spent.

I'm always looking for more tips, though. How do you make the most of your downtime?


  1. I'm the biggest time waster during nap time - it's usually my facebook time or writing time. The best I usually do is transfer over some laundry. I'm much better about making good use of my commute - I listen to Catholic Radio during the Divine Mercy Chaplet, can knock a rosary if I get off early enough, or just take some time to read or work on a project.

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