A New Mom's Life, Minute-By-Minute

by Elizabeth Giguere
Razvan Raz / Shutterstock

One thousand, four hundred and forty minutes in a day, and as a new mom, I’m awake for most of them. Awake again, little one? But it’s 5:30 in the morning, and I swear you were just up two hours ago. Mornings used to be an internal struggle between sleeping in and working-out, but a hungry baby crying for food has no snooze button. I’m tired; minutes go by in a hazy blur of sleep deprivation alleviated by caffeine.

One thousand, four hundred and forty minutes, and another day has gone by where it feels like I’ve accomplished nothing. How is the house messy already? Didn’t I just clean up yesterday? How can one little person who can’t even walk need so many things? More laundry? Life becomes repetitive: The baby sleeps, the baby eats, mom tries to sleep, mom might get to eat, attempt to pick up the house while the baby sleeps, and repeat. Chores used to be something that I fit in before work or at lunch. Laundry was never an insurmountable task that seems to take an entire day.

One thousand, four hundred and forty minutes in a day, but I haven’t even had time to shower. When was the last time I showered? Remember when the day started with a fresh blow dry, a cute outfit and makeup? Today, I’m happy if I remember to change out of my pajamas and brush my teeth. Do I even own clothes that aren’t designed for yoga, because I can’t remember the last time I was wearing pants that zipped, but who’s counting?

One thousand, four hundred and forty minutes in a day, and if I place the value of my day in what I accomplished, my days would seem worthless. When my husband comes home from work, he asks, “What did you do today?” and it’s hard to even express what passed the time. Between feeding the baby, consoling tears, and attempting to not let my house look like an episode of Hoarders, I’ve been busy all day, yet none of it feels measurable. I didn’t complete a big project at work, I haven’t made any progress toward my goals, and if I were to judge how busy I was with chores by how clean the house looks, well then, I’ve done nothing, and we will repeat it all again tomorrow.

One thousand, four hundred and forty minutes in a day: No shower, more laundry, and the house just seems to be getting messier and messier, but I remind myself every day that these moments are ones that I will look back on years from now and wish I could have back. I’m sitting here writing while my 1-month-old son is asleep on my chest. When did that happen? I blinked, and a month went by. If only my last month of pregnancy could have gone by so quickly! In the midst of sleepless nights and dozens of diapers, the early weeks and months of motherhood fly by while I try to figure the whole thing out.

The pace of repetitive days but speedy weeks induces a whirlwind of emotions. I’ve never been this happy and in love, but simultaneously felt so trapped by my house and mildly resentful that my husband gets to leave the house and go to work. I am depressed at the same time that my maternity leave is flying by, and soon, I will have to leave my precious bundle to return to work, but all the while, I think, that I must be crazy, because it can’t be possible to feel all these feeling at once.

But I do feel all of these feelings at once as I am struggling to learn to be present and enjoy these fleeting moments, because it won’t be like this for long. Someday too soon, the baby won’t be crying at 2 a.m. He won’t need me to hold him so that he can fall asleep. The moment when I get to hold him will be far less than the moments that I won’t be able to. It’s so hard to be reminded of how quickly infants become toddlers in the middle of the struggle because there are parts of mothering an infant that make me thankful that it is just a phase, but also parts that I know I will miss.

There are only one thousand, four hundred and forty minutes in a day, and I can’t measure their value by the how long it’s been since I’ve been able to leave the house, how big the pile of laundry is, or what I’ve “accomplished.” Those minutes are measured in snuggles and smiles, because those minutes are too fast and too few, and despite the sleep deprivation, messy house, and crying baby, I am thankful to get to enjoy the journey.