Motherly Collective

Hey, you, reading this in the middle of the night. I see you. Scrolling through social media or texting friends who should also be asleep. I see you trying to reclaim some order and control over your day which has largely been overtaken by responsibilities for others—children, spouse, a home, a job—and leaving very little time to spend on yourself. 

As a CEO and founder of Babyation and a mom, I feel this deeply. My penchant for staying up until the wee hours is my own version of self care, and I found out recently there is a name for it: revenge bedtime procrastination. It’s why the overworked and overburdened opt to stay up late because they’re craving some sort of order and control of their time. Instead of sleeping (which all of us need), or being productive (which most of us could do), or connecting with our spouse, friends, family (which can be exhausting), we choose option D: None of the Above. We goof off, snack, read, watch TV, or swipe through our phone. 

We stay up late because we want to reclaim some control in our day and time for ourselves. And then, morning comes, and we’re exhausted, cranky with our kids and spouse. Thus, the cycle begins anew.

Revenge procrastination is another example of why women feel so strapped for time, and why so many of us are struggling. If we want to continue to claw our way out of the pandemic-induced economic “she-cession”, we need to change the way we think about a woman’s time. 

Women have faced significant challenges in recent times, navigating a dynamic landscape marked by the ever-evolving impact of the pandemic. While many have re-entered the workforce, they continue to grapple with multifaceted issues such as return to office (RTO) transitions, rising inflation, and the looming threat of a childcare cliff. Despite improvements in some areas, the intricate web of responsibilities remains, placing strains on mental well-being. As schools and childcare centers operate at regular capacity, women find themselves contending with new forces that demand adaptation and resilience. The narrative has shifted, yet the struggle persists in different forms, urging us to recognize the multifaceted pressures that women continue to face.

A woman’s time—like everyone’s time—is finite. But while we all only have 24 hours in a day, women spend 40% more time caregiving than men. 

We are forced to multitask, which makes us less effective and even more tired. 

We code switch—bouncing between work and kids, which also makes us less effective. 

We lose our “flow,” which is where our creative, deep thinking, masterful work can get done, and it’s hard to get it back. 

And then, as I navigate this intricate dance of balancing work, motherhood and personal well-being, I find myself reassessing my own relationship with time. The challenges women face in the pursuit of financial stability amid persistent gender pay gaps are undeniable. 

However, my journey has led me to reconsider how I approach time management and self-care. In recognizing the need for balance, I’ve explored new ways to reclaim moments for personal growth and relaxation, understanding that prioritizing oneself is not a luxury but a necessity. 

As we collectively reshape the conversation around women’s time, it’s essential to acknowledge the transformative power of self-awareness and intentional time allocation, fostering a narrative that celebrates the strength and resilience inherent in every woman’s journey.

There may not be a magic bullet to fix the way we think about women and their time, but there is a perspective to be gained by understanding just how hard it is to be a woman with kids right now, who is working or financially responsible for feeding and clothing those young kiddos and keeping the roof over their head, or who serves as primary caregiver and the default parent. And we can broaden our perspectives. I’ve found incredible insight from reading and listening people like Blessing Adesiyan of Mother Honestly, Amy Nelson of What’s Her Story Podcast, and Reshma Saujani and her Moms First—all of whom point out the inequities with raw honesty, and offer constructive ways forward. 

It’s not a solution, but it’s a start. In the meantime, go easy on that tired, hungry mama. She’s having a harder day than you may realize.

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother's journey is unique. By amplifying each mother's experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you're interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.