Counting Down ‘Til Bedtime

I have been a mother for ten weeks, five days, and four hours.

Yes, I know this for a fact, because many days I sit and watch the minutes tick by until bed time. We made it 24 hours. No one has died, no one has gone crazy (yet), and except for the minor disagreement over the swaddle, we are mostly happy. In my new world of swaddles and bumbos and sleep training, making it to bedtime without any international incidents, major meltdowns, or physical harm goes into the “win” column. Except…

At the end of day, guilt starts to trickle into my thoughts.

Guilt is sneaky that way. I prefer the in your face anger that my little angel spits at me when I’m not feeding her correctly. No subtlety or sneakiness, just plain and honest emotion. Guilt has none of the in your face confrontational skills that my ten week old has mastered. Guilt takes the side route and attacks my vulnerabilities.

Many thousand times a day, I feel trapped– by motherhood, by the enormity of it, the expectations of others, the emotional chaos that came with that seven pound bundle of joy. Shouldn’t I just bask in the joy, knowing so many others would want what I have? Guilt whispers this in my ear.

Postpartum depression, like guilt, is a tricky illness. It comes and goes in severity. It does get better, but slowly. And then sometimes it gets worse again. My entire life has been flipped upside down; will I raise her correctly? Will she hate me? What if she gets eaten by wolves? Or worse, what if she turns out like Miley Cyrus?

Hazel is my light and my heart, but there are some days where I want her to take a 15 hour nap so that I can do something reasonable. Like cook with two hands. Or take a shower. Or, God forbid, sleep.

Today, I will have to settle for knowing that it’s 5.5 hours to bedtime and no one has died yet.


Related post: Why I’m Embracing The Mommy Guilt 

About the writer

Jenni Smith is a former recruiter and a new mom from Birmingham, Alabama.  Since the birth of her baby girl, she divides her hour of free time between trying to remember what sleep feels like, occasionally journaling and pinning things to Pinterest that she will never, ever get around to making. You can follow her journey through Pregnancy, Recovery, Motherhood and the Occasional Book Review at

From Around the Web


Amy Teske Jesse 12 months ago

So glad I’m not the only one. Though for me it’s been more since he became mobile and now a feisty toddler.

Jude Hoppenbrouwers 12 months ago

I so want to hug this author! Thank you

Allison Devroy 12 months ago

I thought it was just me.

Jen Good 12 months ago

Bed time is best time.

Michele Hamilton 12 months ago

wow, I felt so guilty for this.

Lee-Ann Henderson 12 months ago

I love my kids but hurray for bedtime :-)

Ananya Sk 12 months ago

Did she only have one baby?!?!

Tarina Harrison Baker 12 months ago


Carole Plowchin 12 months ago

My 1 st daughter didn’t sleep thru the nite till she was 2 and she didn’t nap either !

Hannah Chambers Trickett 12 months ago

So true!

Laura Alfano Victoria 12 months ago

Not a “new” mother and still hanging on by the skin of my teeth. Kids are 9, 5 and 3.

Melissa Dierna 12 months ago

Didn’t have postpartum but I’ve always counted down the minutes to bedtime even though she barely slept (I still do) and felt guilty or trapped more times than I can count.

Coleen Lamprecht 12 months ago

This is totally me at this point… baby is also 10 weeks…

Cath Bruyning 12 months ago

Parenting is the ultimate ambivalence. To freely quote Louis CK :”I love my daughter more than life, it is an ever expanding love, that grows constantly and stretches out over time; it has made me love my parents more and their parents. And at the same time I regret every decision that has led to her being born.”

Chrissy Vasquez 12 months ago

Yup, 6 month old and 3 1/2 year old. Neither really sleep during the day, other than a cat nap here and there and it’s a total Christmas miracle if they both sleep at the same time for 45 minutes or more. When bed time comes there’s this inner joy at the possibility of rest for a couple of hours before the next crazy day begins of tantrums, “food fights” to see who’s more messy, when the baby needs a new outfit so does the toddler, the endless play with me the moment I start feeding the infant, etc. wouldn’t trade those crazy moments for anything though.

Ryan Short DeVito 12 months ago

I was so happy to read this! I thought I was the only person who felt that way my first time around. Don’t get me wrong. I adored my little guy as an infant but woo! Those first 3 months motherhood were a real challenge to my emotions, independence and sanity! 2nd time around has been much better. I have fewer expectations of myself and don’t care as much about others expectations of me. Just more relaxed all around which is helping me actually enjoy my time home with my little lady!

Lana Ross 12 months ago

I am yet to meet a mommy who does NOT count to bedtime. We love them to death, but let’s be honest by the end of the day it’s our sanity we are counting down to. (two kids here, 1 and 4)..

Kara Salacki 12 months ago

3 boys- 5, 2, and 3 months. I’m there too.

Kara Salacki 12 months ago

I can relate! I didn’t feel this way until baby #2 though. A lot of mommy guilt with my then 3 year old. But now, as a mom of 3 boys ages 5, 2, and 3 months I feel completely trapped. I don’t go anywhere because god forbid I have to feed the baby while the toddler is with me, you would think I was making the kid sit through a tattoo the way he wails! I would rather stay at home, un-showered, and spend my “free” time napping with both of the little ones on me.
But I promise- it gets better. And before you know it they’re 5 and going to kindergarten and you wonder where the time went. You can’t remember the sleepless nights, the colic, the gas pains, the teething.. All you wonder is “when did they get so big”

Brandi-Lee Mouck 12 months ago

I’m a SAHM and I have a 4 year old, a 1 year old and pregnant with number 3. I have started counting making it to meal times without an issue from the kids or an exhausted mommy a “win”. If we make it to bed time with no major blow outs and I haven’t had a complete meltdown, I consider that a damn fine day!

Liz 12 months ago

YEP. I feel like I wrote this. Or you crawled inside my brain and wrote what you found there. Nice work.

Nicole Woods-Sisk 12 months ago

PPD is an evil Son-a-of-a-bitch. I have an almost 3 year old and 18 week old. Both go to sleep awesome and thru the night. But with the PPD I have horrible insomnia… figures!

Teresa Heath 12 months ago

I just wanted to hug this author. Mine just started kindergarten, and some days I still feel like this.

Jessika Marie 12 months ago

Win!! Haha

Hilde M. Vonk 12 months ago

Hang in there!

Hilde M. Vonk 12 months ago

Yup. Whenever someone’s child turns one, I say: congratulations! You’ve made it through the first year! People usually appreciate the understanding. :-)

Megan 12 months ago

I remember thinking when my daughter was little “God, please let thus day end with both of us in one piece.” She would scream from sun up until sun down. (We found out she was allergic to her formula) For months, I thought I would lose my mind! Thank goodness I had a great doctor who prescribed anidepressants for post-pardem depression. Now she is almost 5, just started Kindergarten, and we are still in one piece!

Kristen Livingston 12 months ago

I can totally relate!

Tara Anderson 12 months ago

Seems like forever ago since my first was born (15 years) I can still remember thinking I had no idea what I was doing. It gets easier after you have more than one. Mostly because you know what to expect. Your first baby is pretty scary but you get through somehow 😉

Heather Jones 12 months ago

I have 2 year old twins…….been there, almost daily lately :)

Tania Carfa Tarshishi 12 months ago

I have an almost 3 year old and an almost 6 month old. Totally get it. I take things one hour at a time. It’s been really really challenging, lately.

Em Rohrer 12 months ago

We considered our daughter’s 1st birthday party as a “come celebrate that we’ve managed to keep everyone alive for a whole year!” party :)

Dani Keller 12 months ago

bedtime was the WORST time of the day when my son was a newborn! I would dread it and would cry :(

Carrie Best 12 months ago

I wish I could have read this six years ago!

Kerry Redding 12 months ago

6, 4, and 17 months. Yeah. I get it.

Elaine Cullingham Foltz 12 months ago

Every single day.

Linzi Blakey 12 months ago

Love this x

Jenn Pagach 12 months ago

This is spot on!

Heather 12 months ago

A to the men!

Lucy Farmer 12 months ago

Total win when everyone makes it to the end of the day in one place!

Amor Delsol Laluz 12 months ago

I still feel the same way sometimes and my sour patch kid is 5 lol.

Leigh 12 months ago

This post is great. I can completely relate. I remember watching Louis C.k. When I was struggling. It was the first time I understood that it’s okay to love your children with all your heart and still think life sucks with them sometimes. Thank you for sharing your own raw reality. Letting go of expectations and avoiding sanctimonious moms has done wonders for me personally.

Tania Mitchell 12 months ago

Lol couldn’t be more true

Karen 12 months ago

I used to feel this way every day. Thanks to therapy, anti-depressants, and support groups I now only feel this way sometimes. Just this week it was “we made it to a year and nobody died.” Thanks for writing this post, hope it helps you feel better about how you feel.

Em R. 12 months ago

I love this post, my daughter is 2 now and I still feel that way some days. It’s really hard to live with the pressure in my own head, much less comparing myself to other moms who seem to have it more together, are doing “more” with their own kids. Know that you’re not alone in the mommy guilt, no one thinks they’re doing it 100% right!