From juggling a dozen things at once to mastering the art of multitasking (even in our sleep), motherhood is all about stretching your minutes while simultaneously wondering how it's all going So. Dang. Fast.
And while a quick break to feed the baby here or a halt to comfort a crying toddler there may seem insubstantial, when you add everything up, there's no denying it: We're busy.
What is harder to tally up are all those moments spent on the little tasks that paint the big picture of motherhood.
Based on our experience, here are how many minutes we suspect the average mama of little ones spends on this beautiful, exhausting privilege of a job each year.
Snuggling in bed in the hope they'll let you sleep longer: 12 minutes a day or 4,380 minutes a year
Playing make-believe or reading stories before the sun is up: 25 minutes a day or 9,125 minutes a year
Breastfeeding, pumping or feeding: 120 minutes a day for mamas of babies or 43,800 minutes a year
Wiping things—counters, cheeks and booties: 20 minutes a day or 7,300 minutes a year
Getting yourself ready while trying to forget about whatever is happening in the other room: 5 minutes a day or 1,825 minutes a year
Reheating coffee: 3 minutes a day or 1,095 minutes a year
Preparing meals they may or may not eat: 40 minutes a day or 14,600 minutes a year
Picking up toys and then picking up toys again: 8 minutes a day or 2,920 minutes a year
Driving—chauffeuring, commuting or just going in circles around the block to help the baby sleep: 90 minutes a day or 32,850 minutes a year
Calling the doctor, sitting in the office and picking up prescriptions for yet another ear infection: 240 minutes a month or 2,880 minutes a year
Worrying, Googling and worrying some more: Some days 5 minutes some days all day for an average of 50 minutes a day or 18,250 minutes a year
Watching kids shows and then trying to get the theme songs out of your head: 35 minutes a day or 12,600 minutes a yearWrestling kids in and out of car seats: 10 minutes a day or 3,650 minutes a year
Negotiating with an irrational toddler: 45 minutes a day or 16,425 minutes a year
Wiping tears—yours or theirs: 3 minutes a day or 1,095 minutes a year
Laughing about the wild, amazing things they say: 35 minutes a day or 12,775 minutes a year
Pointing out things to a kid before realizing the kid isn't even there: 1 minute a day or 365 minutes a year
Swapping outgrown clothes for new ones: 30 minutes a month or 360 minutes a year
Feeling sad about how quickly your kids are growing: 10 minutes a day or 3,650 minutes a year
Wishing your kids were *just a bit* bigger: 4 minutes a day or 1,460 minutes a year
Getting kids dressed: 10 minutes a day or 3,650 minutes a year
Getting kids dressed in new clothes when they promptly made a mess: 5 minutes a day or 1,825 minutes a year
Searching for a lost toy they need right now: 7 minutes a day or 2,555 minutes a year
Shutting yourself in the bathroom to scroll through Instagram in peace: 5 minutes a day or 1,825 minutes a year
Pinning things to Pinterest you'll never actually do: 16 minutes a day or 5,840 minutes a year
Ordering kids' things on Amazon you suddenly decide you can't live without: 5 minutes a day or 1,825 minutes a year
Saying things you never thought you'd say: 25 minutes a day or 9,125 minutes a year
Answering questions: 55 minutes a day or 20,075 minutes a year
Bathing, brushing teeth and tucking them in: 38 minutes a day or 13,870 minutes a year
Reading stories: 45 minutes a day or 16,425 minutes a year
Rocking, soothing or singing lullabies: 60 minutes a day or 21,900 minutes a year
Sitting by them as they fall asleep: 15 minutes a day or 5,475 minutes a year
Watching them sleep: 8 minutes a day or 2,920 minutes a year
Looking at baby pictures after bedtime: 10 minutes a day or 3,650 minutes a year
Thinking about who'll they'll grow up to be: 12 minutes a day or 4,380 minutes a year
Doubting yourself: 15 minutes a day or 5,475 minutes a year
Feeling proud of yourself: 10 minutes a day or 3,650
Wondering what you used to do with all your spare time: 2 minutes a day or 730 minutes a year
Thinking about how you wouldn't trade this chaos for anything: 8 minutes a day or 2,920
Tallied up, that's 311,857 minutes a year—or 5,198 hours a year.
And while that's an *exhausting* list, it sure isn't exhaustive. Chances are you are doing even more than that—from the moment the kids start to stir until long after they've gone to sleep (and often time in between).
So, just in case you don't tell yourself this enough, remember: You are amazing. And you've got this.