How to Stimulate a Baby-Rattled Mind.

My mind is at capacity right now.

It's full up thinking about my baby and my nest. It's all the calculating I do - how long between feedings, how long between naps, how to utilize my time during said naps, scheduling the all-important tummy time, figuring out when to give him his vitamins and how often we should bathe him, tracking his develops and making sure I'm helping him to grow, trying to squeak in house chores when I can, constantly recalibrating the week's shopping list. This stuff takes up all the space in my brain. And then of course any spare corners are filled with lovey dovey new mom emotions and hormones. I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS. So many that they sometimes overflow and pour out of me (sorry, husband).

How we spend most of our time.
Although my mind is bursting at the seams, I have to find a little more space for something else. Anything else. To be a healthy mom (and just a generally healthy adult woman), I need to stake off a little area for Other Interests. I know this will become easier as this perfect little baby gets older, and this new life we're building becomes more habitual for both of us. But I have to start working on finding and cultivating that brain space now!

So here's my plan:

1. Watch and invest in TV shows and movies after the nugget goes to bed. 
I know this seems silly - isn't watching TV all you do when you can't leave the house at night? Yes, but by the time you've eaten dinner, cleaned up from the day, and done your miscellaneous chores, you're a zombie. So you usually put on something frivolous (late night talk shows, Chopped, etc) and then you fall asleep on the couch. BUT I want to make a real effort to watch the shows I already love, to start some new series (serieses?) this summer, and to make it through a full movie once in a while (even if it's over the course of three nights). Because the art of entertainment is my true passion, and I honestly feel the void right now! Last weekend for the first time since March 17 I managed to stay up through a whole movie (Sleepwalk With Me, which we both really liked). And I felt like a new person! The synapses in my brain were on rapid fire for days after! So I know I'm missing this and I know it's good for me. 

2. Read a book. 
It may be slowly. It may be off my phone while nursing. But by God, I am going to read a book. Thankfully, I just started a great just-had-a-baby sort of book. My friend Maurissa chose Tiny Beautiful Things for our book club, and it's perfect. It's a collection of the "Dear Sugar" advice columns Cheryl Strayed (author of Wild) wrote. So not only is it fantastic and super well written, it's also in bite-size chunks - each chapter is a letter from a reader and Cheryl's response. It's my goal to finish this by the end of June. I think I can do it!

3. Read worthy stuff on the internet.
Another thing I can do while nursing is surf the internet. Usually I end up reading a lot of nonsense like Facebook posts and Buzzfeed lists, but I am trying harder to save up good stuff to read during these times. Good stuff includes my favorite blogs, interesting articles people send me, anything on Grantland or Vulture or Vox, and, most recently, the Skimm. My sister turned me onto the Skimm - it's bite-size daily news delivered to your email that keeps you current on world events. You can click through to longer articles and more info, or you can just read the funny little blurbs they write and feel mildly in the know. When you're on maternity leave, it's easy to get enveloped in your little bubble and forget that the rest of the world is going through some highs and lows around you. Good internetting (as opposed to the FB nonsense) keeps me connected to that bigger world.

4. Listen to new podcasts.
Jack and I spend a lot of time each day on walks, for all the obvious reasons (exercise, gets us out of the house, grocery shopping, blah blah blah). He usually takes this opportunity to fall asleep. I've decided to take this opportunity to try out new podcasts. Not that there's anything wrong with my old standby This American Life...but I've got to give my brain something new! So my friends Julie and Vy recently clued me into The Lively Show and After the Jump, respectively. They are both women-centric podcasts that dive into the blog/design/creative/small business stratosphere. Some episodes are better than others (as with any podcast), but I do very much love hearing about how other women deal with work/life balance, and I get inspired by the small business tips and creative ideas!

5. And of course, WRITE MORE.
I've been averaging one post per work. And I'm not knocking that - I'm proud of myself for continuing to blog amidst all the life changes. But I truly miss writing more, and I want to up it to two posts a week, if I can. I'm not gonna do it at the expense of my sanity...rather, I'd like to do it for my sanity. Fingers crossed I can swing this!

Hope my list inspires you to dust out a little corner of your brain and use it for something new, even if your life is crazy busy right now. And, if you have other ideas on how to keep your mind well-rounded or firing on all cylinders or sharp or fresh or active or whatever description you like to use, I'd love to hear them!

I just want to feel as mind-blown as Keanu all the time.