I remember just before I finished work for maternity leave, the thought of having 9 months off seemed like such a long time. I suppose it is a long time but it goes unbelievably fast when you are enjoying your new baby!
Some days you dread the thought of returning back to work and other days you want to go back just for that break from normality! Maternity leave is expensive. Once your mat pay starts to dwindle, all those coffees and lunches out start eating a hole in your purse, especially when you have multiple friends on mat leave at the same time. Think of other ideas like going round to each others houses for coffee and take in turns cooking lunch, it saves so much money and it’s definitely easier when your baby just isn’t having a good day or you have had the night from hell.
I have kept myself really busy during mat leave. I think this is down to having a good group of friends who are also on mat leave at the same time.. good timing girls! If we aren’t meeting up then I’m taking Felix out for walks, driving to the centre for a look around, spending time with my family who i’m lucky enough to all live within 10 mins f me, or doing the never-ending jobs to be done at home. Don’t get me wrong I have those days where I don’t even get out of my pyjamas or get a shower but who doesn’t?! I also take Felix to our local baby sensory regularly and do baby classes with him. So far we have done baby massage and we are just about to start mother and baby yoga and swimming!
Maternity leave is a competitive game. People are always quick to write about how there baby is doing something new so early, how much weight they have already lost, or how perfect their lives are. Honestly though I think this is a first time mum thing and you soon realise every baby is so different. When you go to baby classes with people you don’t know they are quick to discuss their babies sleeping pattern.. I mean I’m all for talking baby but I would rather swap gossip every now and then!
The biggest shock to the system after having your baby.. sleep deprivation. It pushes you to your very lowest where you feel physically ill and mentally drained but have no other option but to carry on as normal, making the feeling even worse when you’ve gone through three nights in a row sleeping just 3/4 hours a night (my current situation with a poorly baba). Babies don’t sleep for long in the day unless they’re being constantly pushed in their pram. This is tough. There were days were I wanted to be at home, getting stuff done in the house, but Felix, just like all babies wanted to be held, CONSTANTLY. Because that’s what babies do. They don’t really like those bouncer chairs for more than 2 minutes 24 seconds and no one can shower and wash their hair that quickly, never mind shave their legs. Don’t get me wrong I’m mainly focusing on when he was younger.. It’s a lot easier now I can stick him in his jumperoo or let him roll around on the floor with his toys.
You will feel like a failure and that you can’t do it, mothers all over the world are thinking the same thing. And no one said it was easy, and maternity leave is on some days boring, and lonely and fulfilling. And you crave your old life, and the job you left behind because you used your intelligent brain and felt stimulated. But you are doing just fine. Who cares if your baby is wearing a stained baby grow. All your baby knows and needs is you. And that can feel overwhelming in itself. And the sleep does get better, and adjusting to motherhood takes time, plenty of time. Share your fears and anxieties with your mum mates because we need to be sisterly in all of this and be honest with one another.
I have around 3 months left of maternity but my work is shift work so I can still spend 5/6 days a week at home with Felix and still get in 40 hours a week at work from working a day or two and a night or two.. long hours but rewarding & so good for your home life! I’m looking forward to have something to go back to and work harder, build myself up (hopefully do another foundation or different uni course) and show Felix the importance of it all. Everyone is different but that’s just my viewpoint and how I want to raise my child, I personally couldn’t stay at home full time as It would just bore me and I wouldn’t be mentally satisfied.. but everyone is different and once again their is nothing wrong with that.
How was your maternity leave and your feelings about going back to work? x