Being a new, working mom is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, but it’s also one of the most time-consuming and most stressful. Each day I wake up (usually setting my alarm for 5:30 or 6 a.m. with the goal of exercising but then not actually getting up until 6:30), take 10 minutes to shower and another 10 to get dressed. Then I spend 30 to 40 minutes nursing baby. While I nurse her, I check emails and scan headlines on news apps and Twitter. Once baby is done, I quickly throw my pumping parts together, try to grab something for lunch (if I had a good night, my lunch is packed in the morning, but more often I’m left scrambling or saying ‘forget it, I’ll buy lunch at work’). Then I try to get out the door by 7:30 but it’s usually closer to 7:45.
Luckily the daycare is only about 5 minutes or so away. I get there and give her a quick hug and kiss goodbye, lingering a few seconds longer than I probably should because I am sad to leave her. Then I get on the road to head to work by 8. I work from 8:30 to 5, pumpinh two or three times for 10-30 minutes each throughout the day. Then I have to leave promptly at 5 in order to get to daycare by 5:45 or so; they close at 6 p.m. and I’ll get charged obscene amounts if I’m late.
When I get home, we play for a minute or nurse right away, which usually takes 30-40 minutes. Around 6:30 or 6:45, it’s time to make dinner if my husband hasn’t already started it. So dinner better take less than a half hour to make or else I start to get hangry.
Finally around 7:15 we eat, usually at the table, unless we’re feeling particularly lazy. I eat my own dinner and feed baby something pureed – sweet potatoes, banana, blueberries, etc.
Dinner usually takes until 7:45 or so. If my husband is here, he usually does the dishes and I clean up baby. We play for another half hour or so, then it’s time to wind down for bed. Sometimes she needs a bath. I feed her again around 8:30ish for another 30 minutes or so, and then she’s in bed by 9.
If my husband’s not here, that’s when I do the dishes (including washing the pumping parts and bottles). Back when baby was super little, we’d go to bed at this point, but now that she’s been mostly sleeping through the night, we usually watch an episode of a show and eat a snack or two. I try to be upstairs by 10 and sleeping by 10:30 or 11. I always regret it the next day, but I feel tired no matter what I do, so whatever. YOLO.
So I get maybe an hour (all spent nursing and getting ready) with baby in the morning and about 3 hours (about 1 hour spent nursing) with her in the evening. That’s 4 hours awake a day with my baby and that fact makes me really sad sometimes.
That has forced me to prioritize and it means some things that I normally would do don’t get done. I haven’t finished her baby book and I didn’t buy either of my parents presents for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. I didn’t even get my husband anything. It’s not that I didn’t want to acknowledge him; he is so helpful and does so much for our family. He’s not afraid to cook a meal for us – even a brand-new recipe I just found – and he does the dishes and washes pump and bottle parts 10 times more than I do. But I didn’t know what to buy him. He didn’t voice anything that he wanted and when I asked him what he wanted to do for Father’s Day, he said he wanted to eat steak at home (he grills up an amazing steak). I would’ve tried to put together some craft with my daughter, but let’s face it. At 7.5 months and very mobile, she’s hard to get to sit still for anything, let alone a craft. The weekends are the only time I have to do stuff like that anyway and we’ve been running the last few weekends without much extra time to think about gifts.
Maybe that makes me a bad mother or a bad wife. I tried to at least give my husband time to relax during the day. I even offered to mow the lawn so he didn’t have to, but he declined my offer multiple times. I know he was disappointed I didn’t get him a gift or do anything special, and for a while today I felt bad about it. I feel guilty because things get cut out and I feel like I’m not doing enough.
But really, there’s not enough time in this life to feel bad. Time to put on the big girl pants and move on. There’s not enough time in the day to feel guilty.