Doing dishes - primarily bottles. There are lots of little pieces and after 2 feedings, the soapy water bucket in our sink seems to be full and things need to be washed. I've purchased a whole slew of bottles to try to reduce how often I actually need to wash stuff, and to increase the number of things that can go through the dishwasher at the end of the day without needing to be washed and used before then.
Milk Management - pumping, measuring, pouring, mixing with a calorie supplement (because my girls need extra calories), labeling, reportioning out to freeze, etc etc. We're starting to nurse directly from the breast, but sheesh there's a lot of milk management when you pump! Good news - I have a ton of extra milk. I'm producing enough for 3 babies and I only have 2, so we're getting a nice frozen supply built up. But when you're stuck to a machine for a few hours a day and you're in pain if you wait too long to hook yourself up, it's amazing how much time it seems to take up.
Shopping/Researching - so much internet time is now spent trying to find a product to assist with some sort of inconvenience. A bottle that's more like the breast. A swaddler that will fit properly and be easier than just a blanket. Coupons for diapers. So instead of talking to people and continuing with your adult life, new moms are using their internet time for figuring stuff out and buying other stuff.
General housework - This one shocks the hell outta me. I hate housework. I'd rather sit in a dirty house than do housework. In the 7 years I've been married, I've done very little housework because honestly, I just don't care. But now? CLEAN ALL THE THINGS!!! Organize this, arrange that, wipe down that other thing. It will take me 45 minutes to walk the 20 feet to the bathroom because I find a dozen little cleaning and arranging tasks to do along the way. Wanna know what I have for just about the first time in years? A clean fridge. Yup, I put bottles in there and sorry fridge shelf, you're just too gross and must be cleaned before a bottle can sit upon you. I'm terrified to fall behind in some way because it might make functioning tomorrow really difficult.
Fixing and making things - Let's see, I've converted an old bassinet into a double feeding station. I'd show the picture of K feeding both the girls in it, but his shirt was off and he's a bit modest and would probably prefer that I not use that picture. Again, this is not a SIDS safe napping station - this is strictly a place to hold both of them while I hover over them for feeding. If I need to step away for a potty break or something, I take them out of this nice gushy soft thing and put them in safe, flat, nothing to suffocate on bassinet.
I've rearranged the diaper changing station a few times, I've put together a snack bucket to keep at my pumping station, and one of these days I'm going to pull out my sewing machine and some old clothing that I kept for the fabric and make some extra swaddlers similar to the style I like. I've taped a box to the side of the fridge to hold some containers because the counter was getting too full to hold everything we need to keep there.
PS - we were given 2 of just about every style of swaddle/sleepsack in existence so we could test what we like. By far, our favorite is the Loving Baby Swaddle Blanket. It's easy and seems to secure them the best. Just so ya know.
Doctors appointments - who decided that babies need to see doctors every few days or so? It sure seems like that's the case. As if we aren't confused about what day it is anyway, now they want new parents to get their babies into a car and see a doctor for a checkup a few days after birth, a week or so later for a growth check (at least my preemies needed that), the one month appointment, etc etc. Keep the kids on a schedule my ass!
As for why we disappear in person and not just online - we're not dressed. Seriously. Most of us are probably in some sort of pajamas, or maternity pants with a nursing tank top combo (if we're the ambitious sort), or we're just walking around in a nursing bra and yoga pants.
Oh, and uh, we smell. Yup. There is a variety of funk ingredients that could be emanating from us at any given point in time. Here's a few that can be mixed and matched to create your own personal stench - your standard 4 days since your last shower BO, sour milk that dripped on your pants a few days ago but these are your most comfortable pants so you don't want to lose them to the laundry for a day, the tape and the fact that your skin folds over and traps moisture at your C-Section scar (I swear I'm making sure to cleanse every day but good lord this part of my body is stinky at the moment), that not so fresh feeling in the panties because you've been having a period for several weeks straight, and a vast array of baby goos and poos that could be smeared on you without your knowledge.
And last but not least of what is taking up our time - negotiating. Trying to come up with a game plan for tonight that will give the most participants the maximum amount of sleep, and going over what worked and what failed last night. Then the new game plan doesn't do any better, so you end up napping a significant portion of the day away in 90 minute chunks.
Oh yeah, I totally forgot, there are a few minutes spent changing diapers, holding a bottle or nursing, and snuggling hoping the little one will go back to sleep momentarily. But really, the snuggling isn't nearly as much of your day as you would have hoped it would be. And it's usually around 3am when a baby has decided that being quiet is only possible when being held. So there you are, holding a baby and it's the most calming and serene scene imaginable and for safety reasons, you're not allowed to fall asleep! So the last thing you want to be doing is snuggling and behaving in a drowsy, calm manner because it takes every bit of fight in you to stay awake while doing it when all you really want to do is put the baby down and go back to sleep.
And here's a picture of me and the babies. I love this picture, but don't think this is actually how I'm spending my time. Do we take pictures of what we spend most of our time doing? No, we take a picture when we come across a very rare moment and need proof that it actually happened. So here's mine. Proof that for one fleeting moment, things were beautiful on my couch.
Excuse me, I just heard a sputter and I'm seeing little legs twist in the air. It's diaper changing / feeding time.