Experiment: Relaxing at Home with a Baby

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relaxing with a babyCan you have a relaxing day with a baby?

Short Answer: Most definitely not, you loser.

Long Answer: Well I doubt it, but I couldn’t say for sure – I guess I’ve never properly tried… It would be amazing if it were possible.

Let’s see!


  1. One tired and frazzled Mummy
  2. One adorable and feral infant

Laboratory environment:

A messy house, with all doors and windows barred. Or, to comply with Health & Safety, perhaps just closed. The participants are to be observed in their home environment in order to test the proposed theory accurately and, to truly relax, must stay indoors. DUN DUN DER!

Part One

Have tired and frazzled mummy (TAFM) attempt to lie on the sofa whilst adorable and feral infant (AAFI) watches CBeebies and plays contentedly with his toys.  Aim for 30 minutes of down time for TAFM, as AAFI really is of an age where he can entertain himself for a little while, especially if secure in the knowledge that TAFM is close by. Monitor.

Observations: Three minutes into the experiment, AAFI approaches TAFM for a cuddle. Although off-plan, it is a welcome advance and considered beneficial to both parties. After clambouring onto TAFM and briefly snuggling, AAFI begins to bash her repeatedly over the head with a wooden piece of puzzle he had been harbouring on his person. It is unclear whether the attack was planned and masqueraded with affection, or if it was merely a fortunate by-product of good timing and keen wit from AAFI.

Outcome: TAFM has a sore forehead and feels neither relaxed nor safe. The pair quickly move on to a joint activity of riding around the living room like horses, at AAFI’s request. TAFM thinks at least she can see her attacker clearly and any weapons he may be concealing now. AAFI appears to be very happy with the outcome, TAFM is less so and reports that pretending to be a horse does not fall under relaxing activities.

Part Two

Instead of her usual hurried shower, have TAFM attempt a bath as a relaxing soak will soothe her aching back. TAFM of course realises that this will be no mini-spa break and that AAFI will be in the vicinity, but understands she must seize her moment when she can. AAFI is enjoying the brief gap between needing to be fed, changed or put to sleep so the time is right. Have TAFM arrange AAFI’s bath toys nearby, so that he can play happily whilst she has a brief relax and time-out. Monitor the situation.

Observations: TAFM enjoys laying in the bath by herself for 90 seconds. AAFI initially appears most amused at the sight of TAFM laid in his tub, and has a giggle at the beached shape before him.  He wanders off long enough to turn on every noisy toy he owns before coming back to generously share all his bath toys with TAFM, who surely must be a little bored just lying there. TAFM has 5 rubber ducks, 2 frogs, one crocodile and three bouncy balls thrown at her. She appears vulnerable, unsure what will hit her next, but is attempting to embrace the hot water nonetheless and the fact that she is lying down.

Approximately 10 seconds after AAFI has chucked in his last bath toy, he adds his socks, teddy and crusty wet bib to the bath. He has also become fascinated with the bubbles and, the allure clearly becoming too much, demands to join TAFM for a soak. TAFM makes some efforts to divert his attention elsewhere by chucking his toys as far as she can throw, in order for him to have something to chase after. AAFI will not be deterred though, his volume increasing at an alarming rate. His yells, plus every noisy toy in the world cranking at full volume together with her bruised forehead have given TAFM an aching head. She sighs with a little resignation and brings AAFI into the bath with her, not before adding lots of cool water and noting that a lukewarm bath does not a pamper make.

This part of the experiment quickly draws to a close as, upon entering the bath (somewhat delightedly); AAFI does a wee and turns the water yellow. TAFM begins her exit plan, but not before AAFI has the best splashing session of his life and ensures that there is lukewarm yellow matter over everything and everyone.

Outcome: TAFM has urine in her eye and no doubt soaked into her skin. She does not feel relaxed. AAFI is noted to be as happy as ever, and revels in breaking away from TAFI as she tries to dry and dress him. It is also to be recorded that the upstairs looks a little like a toy shop tsunami.

Part Three

After lunch, have TAFM put AAFI to bed for his nap. This should allow around a two hour window for TAFM to properly relax and recharge. Monitor.

Observations: AAFI will not go to bed. He will not lie down. He will not be persuaded to rest. He blows raspberries, chats a whole lot of nonsense and is generally what TAFM refers to as a complete pest. AAFI screams when TAFM tries to lay him in his cot and she realises, regrettably, she has not tired AAFI out enough thanks to their “relaxing” morning at home. TAFM reports the irony of feeling more exhausted than ever when her aim was to take it easy.

Outcome: Having had quite enough of failing miserably at relaxing, and no longer being able to stand the sight of her bombsite of a house, TAFM takes AAFI to the park, where they both actually have a very nice time and, like dogs, happily sniff the fresh air and taste of freedom. AAFI naps in his pram on the way back and TAFM hopes he stays asleep long enough once home for her to make a sandwich and have a quick tidy. He does not.

Part Four

Noting that the experiment was undoubtedly a massive fail, have TAFM and AAFI continue the rest of their day as normal. Monitor – or don’t – it doesn’t really matter anymore as this definitely isn’t going anywhere good.

Observations: They sing songs and dance silly dances – especially TAFM – and have fun, particularly favouring Old McDonald, performing it 32 times. AAFI also has six strops, always over a whole lot of nothing but they get past it, like they do every day. They visit a friend and another AAFI for a change of scenery and for the chance to snatch at adult conversation in between saying “share… gentle” 2,000 times in one hour.

Returning home to their typical routine of dinner and bath, TAFM continues to firstly: – be unable to get anything done or, secondly – relax, due to AAFI’s noisy, funny and unreasonable demands. But it is okay. She is okay.

Outcome: As evening falls and the pretence of doing housework has passed for another day, TAFM sits with AAFI cuddled on her lap watching In The Night Garden. He squeals with excitement at the bizarreness before him and TAFM sighs, feeling content. Soon AAFI will be tucked up asleep and TAFM can finally unwind and rest before the funfair of tomorrow begins.

But for now, she has a lively and happy little boy in her charge, they survived another day mostly unscathed and… you know what? She feels pretty relaxed.*

*It is a shame really that AAFI refused to go to sleep until 9 PM, but you win some, you lose a lot more.


It can be concluded, without any reasonable doubt, that it is definitely not possible to relaxing with a baby. It is however, possible to be attacked, injured and urinated on. Related findings from today’s study show that it is also possible for a parent to spend at least 20% of their day – every day – imitating an animal, or several. It may not be relaxing, but it certainly is entertaining, albeit for entirely the wrong reasons.

So, has anyone ever managed a relaxing day with a small? Please share your secrets – although your horror stories are of course also welcome!

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16 thoughts on “Experiment: Relaxing at Home with a Baby

    • Thank you very much! Believe me, there was nothing clever about thinking I could chill out with a baby – what a doofus!

  1. Brilliant! Luckily my little girl went down for a long morning nap so I got my relaxing bath today, however it went down hill from there! There was lunch all over me and I have snot covered clothes.. So relaxing haha xx

    • Haha, I can so relate to the snot / food outfit – I rock it most days even when he doesn’t have a cold (weird!) I’m glad you got your bath – we need to cling to these victories, however small! Good luck ‘relaxing’ today!

  2. This is such a funny post! I LOVE it! (not that I love you didn’t get to relax, but your writing is so fab!)
    It is clearly not possible to relax with a baby but I applaud you for you scientific investigation into the matter 🙂 x

    • Awe, thank you so much! Well, I do like to do my bit for science… I have also tested whether it is possible to go to the loo alone or drink a cup of tea whilst in the presence of a little one and can confirm it most definitely is not! Thanks again 🙂

  3. Ha, love it! I was kind of hoping you would be unveiling some magical secret that made relaxing with a baby possible, but you made me laugh instead and that’s almost as good!

    • Yes, sorry about that! I think if you remember that basically nothing I say around babies is of any use, you won’t get your hopes raised! 😉

  4. Very funny post and so true. I can count on one hand the number of baths I’ve had since becoming a mum and my eldest is 5! I used to practically live in the bath before it came home to plastic toys and crocodile shaped bath mats!

  5. This is hilarious!
    My grubby monster is 2.5 now, and we’ve just discovered the joys of an afternoon upstairs, where I can sit on my bed and read, and S plays with toys in her bedroom. Every now and then, she comes in to see me, and might sit on my bed with me to play for a few minutes before going back to the more fun things in her own room. The first time it happened, I felt like “I finally cracked this parenting lark!”
    It doesn’t happen often, but it’s a start!

    • That sounds AMAZING! I can totally imagine what an amazing moment that was – life changing I would say haha! It sounds lovely too – as well as getting to lie down and read (luxury) – having her come in and sit with you now and again then trot back off happily, very sweet!

  6. There seem to be two schools of thought regarding nap time: a) Quick! Do all the house work whilst they can’t mess it up again in thirty seconds flat! and b) Quick! Go to bed (or relax) whilst you can!
    I flit between the two. You are of the latter group?

    • I usually race to do my writing during nap time, and grudgingly some housework too (now and then!). I had a cold on the day I tried to relax, which obviously must have skewed my logic and sense of reason, thinking that I could spend even part of the day chilling out while he was awake!! I think flitting between the two is a good balance as, in all seriousness, they can be pretty exhausting – especially after a bad night – and it is important to look after ourselves too… if possible!

  7. Love this post – so funny and so very true. I feel your pain here. I have to confess that when I was pregnant with Sophie, I did manage to occasionally achieve what was known in our house as ‘the CBeebies nap’ – somehow Jessica was distracted for long enough for me to have a power nap but I have no idea just why it worked. It certainly isn’t possible now – Sophie would no doubt hit me with toys and Jessica just shouts ‘Wake up Mummy!’ the minute I try to close my eyes!

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