We asked real moms, authors, and experts for their tips on how to maximize your time while Baby sleeps.
Not surprisingly, the most-mentioned advice had nothing to do with housework.
"Don't forget me-time," says Dr. Jim Sears, pediatrician, author, and co-host of TV show The Doctors. "Baby needs a happy mom much more than a clean house."
Heather Gibbs Flett, co-author of The Rookie Mom's Handbook, agrees. "Moms need to put on their own oxygen mask first. Ask yourself what you need to do today for yourself and do that."
That may mean mean putting the bills, breakfast dishes, and bottles on the back burner—but not off the stove completely. "Give yourself permission to add your own name to your to-do list," says Elizabeth Pantley, mother of four and author of The No-Cry Nap Solution; Guaranteed Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems. "To be a healthy, happy person, you must take good care of yourself."
And me-time is not necessarily as selfish as you might think. Says Pantley, "You'll have more enthusiasm and energy to be able to take care of your child when she wakes up—and everyone else, too."