"What I've learned about new motherhood? Time is not on my side."

Today’s post is the third in a series by guest writer Tragic Sandwich. You can read the first two posts in the series here.

time flies, clock hands close-up

Time is of the essence. Tempus fugit. One thing’s for sure–time is not on my side.

Before Baguette was born, I heard horror stories about how long it could take to get a baby out of the house. I checked and re-checked her diaper bag half a dozen times in the days before we wound up going to the hospital for her birth. I was prepared.

And as it turned out, most of the time, getting out of the house wasn’t so bad, as long as I gave myself a little bit of prep time. (Mind you, there were plenty of times we turned around at the door to change a diaper one more time before leaving.)

Even once I went back to work, I developed routines that helped me stay on track. Over the weekend, I set out Baguette’s clothes for the next day. I try to cook at least one big meal so that there are some leftovers as the week progresses. I get her bag and mine ready the night before.

But that’s the routine. I can do routine. Variations? That’s a whole different story.

You’re having a birthday. Did I RSVP to your party? Probably not. It isn’t that I don’t care, or that I don’t want to let you know whether I can be there. It’s that I needed to check with Mr. Sandwich to see if he had any plans for that weekend, but I lost control of my email. Oh, and your card is going to be late. Happy Birthday!

That book everyone is recommending? I went to Amazon, put it in my shopping cart, and never actually bought it. I will notice this in a week, after wondering why the package hasn’t arrived.

I wasn’t always like this. Yes, my desk was always covered in paper, but I always knew exactly where everything was, and I never missed a deadline. And believe me, not sending RSVPs was one of my pet peeves. I know exactly how annoying this is.

It’s just that between a full-time job, a long commute, and a small child who Will. Not. Sleep, I find myself responding in the moment. I can click “Purchase” in an hour or a day or a week. Baguette has stubbed her toe right now. I need to stop her from exiting the house via the dog door right now.

I don’t like it, either. An awful lot of the time, this new tendency affects others and not just me. I’m very aware of that.

But just as it wasn’t always like this, it won’t always be like this in the future. I know that because of how many other things have changed.

That big meal I cook on the weekends? A year ago, I couldn’t do that. Baguette needed too much attention for me to plan and prepare food on a regular basis. Today I can use the slow-cooker. Sometimes I even get to use the stand mixer.

We went through a long period when we didn’t firmly commit to anything, because we didn’t know what would happen from one day to the next. Now I accept invitations based on how many other things are on the calendar, and whether the event is in the afternoon (and therefore likely to conflict with the nap that Baguette may or may not take).

Someday, Baguette will be better at entertaining herself. She won’t always need a nap. Maybe–just maybe–I won’t always have this commute. And that will mean that I can use my time in different ways, and base our schedule on different criteria.

So if you’ll bear with me for the moment, I’ll probably seem much more responsible in the future. In the meantime, I have to work with the circumstances I have, and I’m doing the best I can.

We all are. Let’s be a little more forgiving of ourselves. After all, it’s only a phase.

Photo: tyo on Flickr, via Creative Commons license

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