Where Does the Time Go?

Way to monopolize your mom’s time, children…

Since my last post, I have become a mother of three- seventeen days ago, to be exact. Before Baby #3 (or Alexandra, as she would probably prefer to be called) was born, I went out and bought her a baby book, as I had for my other two. As a third child myself, I was determined not to short-change my youngest daughter  when it came to recording the memories and milestones of her infancy. In the day or two after her birth I spent some quiet moments in the mother-baby unit filling in the first few pages with details of my pregnancy and her arrival. Since then, despite my best intentions, I have allowed it to sit in a corner of my kitchen amidst a steadily growing pile of junk mail and pre-school drawings.

There are some people who refer to this time as the “Fourth Trimester”. Personally, I think “The Forgotten Weeks” would be an apt name as well. My mind is foggy from sleeping in 2-3 hour stretches. My waking hours often feel like a struggle to survive. Just this evening, while waiting with all three kids for my husband to get home from work, I was dealing with a one-year-old who fell down the steps of the deck face-first and a newborn who pooped through her diaper. In the meantime, dinner was adamantly refusing to cook itself. The days can feel endless, yet somehow the days get away from me. They will continue to get away from me, I know from prior experience, until my newest daughter is a month old, and then two months, and then a year. And so on.

Anyway, in order to answer the question so frequently and hypothetically repeated by parents – “Where does the time go?” – I documented a recent twenty-four hours of my life, then typed up the results in an Excel spreadsheet, then made a pretty pie chart (see below). Because clearly I have time for that.

I learned that nearly a third of my day is spent with a baby physically attached to me, and that I now categorize using the bathroom, showering, and going to Target to purchase cleaning products as “me time”. In fact, aside from treating myself to the luxuries of errands and basic hygiene, none of my time is truly mine.  Turns out, I’ve been asking the wrong question. It isn’t where the time goes that matters, but who I give my time to. I learned, in short, that I have good reason for not finding the time to update the baby book. Scratch that- three good reasons.

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