November 27, 2023

Babies and Time.

I realized I started this blog wanting to talk about women and technology and time and I'm currently talking a lot about babies.  Mostly because I cannot really string a coherent thought together.  However... I will try!

One topic that emerges repeatedly in discussions of women's labour is the notion that women's work is the mental load and the all encompassing bits of keeping a household running. Men block their work into chunks... women consider the million tiny and unrecognized pieces of daily life.  The common trope is that men mow the lawn - a project that may take a good hour but can be done anytime.  Women pick kids up from school, or pickup a sick kid, or remember to get bin bags, or remember to pack the right lunch or to get teacher gifts... projects that take a similar amount of time to mowing the lawn but do so via tiny fragments of time.

Babies are this.  My entire day (24 hours) is now reduced to 2-3 hour intervals between feeds.  I know when the babies need to go to sleep.  I try and fit a task or two into the potential naps.. naps which last 30 minutes to 2 hours randomly.  At night they will be awake 1 to 10 times for 1 to 10 hours. 

Babies (and children) shatter time into thousands of pieces.

Andy's time is definitely shattered too. He's not doing much fun stuff now either.  We are both in full on newborn triage mode, while also watching the big two and trying to keep them fed and moderately happy. But while his time has been fractured it's not quite as fractured as mine, because I am around these babies 24/7 and he has the opportunity to... do things.  Take the big kids to the bike park.  Go to work for the day.  

I am not trying to complain about this split - it's just different.  It's different because I'm the one at home.  Maybe it's different because I'm the mom?  It's different because of our feeding choices.  But it's still different.

I think the trouble comes when the split doesn't right itself later.  It's very easy to take this new small world of hours and minutes and make this my reality long term. It's hard to realize when life has changed and when the mechanisms needed for survival are not as needed anymore.  

I am acutely aware of my time now - but I wasn't aware of it five years ago.  If I hadn't stumbled upon the gender split thinkers and time management thinkers in 2021 I may still be living life in 2 hour increments from Isaac baby times.

Also, as I think about goals. just because something is hard doesn't mean it needs changing.  The current situation is hard.  It will eventually be less hard.  I am looking forward to using November 2024 to reflect on where my time is going and what I want for 2025.  

4 Weeks old today:


  1. Yes to this: Babies (and children) shatter time into thousands of pieces.

    And that picture of the girls. Absolutely melts the heart! Four weeks is a HUGE milestone.

    1. I mentally highlighted that sentence, as well.

      Happy 4 weeks!

      Rachel, you're so wise to be aware that the Hard Now doesn't have to turn into the Hard Forever. Hang in there, and you'll be able to change what you need to when it's time.

  2. Four weeks of the new babies! It's gone so fast.

    There's nothing I can say except that yes this is a hard time. Some day time will move from a million tiny shards into larger, fewer pieces. It will eventually be less hard....

  3. That picture is everything. When my daughter was little, my husband was working on his PhD and I was working, so his time was a lot more flexible than mine. Those broken up bits of time were conducive to things like grocery store runs or taking her for a walk in her stroller, but not so much for getting good mental work done on his dissertation. So I would imagine he would really identify with this post. Prior to me going back to work, when she was still nursing, I was the one with the more broken schedule. At least you have experience so you know that it will get easier. These early days are so hard, and so sweet. I feel like I say that a lot, but that's how I remember them. Long, exhausting, fleeting, and sweet.

  4. This was so interesting to read and think about. I don't know if I have ever considered that time operates differently for me and my husband, but it makes complete sense.

    Four weeks old! They are darling.

  5. A month? Already? I am sure time moved fast and slow for you at the same time. And yes to the shattering of time... I hope the chunks get bigger ;)