As the time draws closer to going back to work, you tend to reflect on how your maternity leave has been. Whilst nine months or even a year seems like such a long time, you blink and it is over. Reflection can be a subject that most people shut from their mind or the one they dread, simply because you maybe did not do all the things you set out to do when you thought you had all the time in the world to do it.
I would say that a lot of first-time mums think maternity leave is going to be brilliant and while it can be, sometimes it’s not all that you expect. Time off to relax, lunch dates with your friends, coffee & buns during a gossip session, plenty of time to clean the house, be the domestic goddess you always believed you could be but in reality its HARD WORK! As for a second-time mum like myself, it’s DOUBLE HARD WORK! The key is organisation and basically, the phrase I’ve lived by these during maternity was “It gets easier”. Smile through it because it does get easier…anyone who quoted this to me the first time around I would not have believed them, Infact I was sick of hearing it. The second time around you know it does get easier as you are a Pro by this stage, right?
So in saying that I will give you a little insight into the reality of maternity leave and why it can be dangerous having this much time off with a plan ~
You eat your way through the day ~~ “oh yes I had peanut butter and rice cakes delicious“, You actually had several cups of tea, 3 kit kats, a handful of white chocolate buttons that belong to your 3 year old which you keep for a treat and maybe a magnum ice cream because it was hot that day. Don’t burn those maternity leggings just yet!
You decide to clear out your clothes ~~ Once babies come along your shape usually changes and most of the time not for the better. You decide to start bagging up your clothes for the charity shop or to sell on gumtree. You look at your bed with the nine bin bags full on it and you look back in the wardrobe and there are 2 pairs of jeans and maybe 6 tops left not forgetting the maternity leggings. Then naturally you say to yourself “I’ve nothing to wear”. you then need to go shopping or else crack open the bin bags and start putting things back in just to make it look full again. It’s a vicious cycle!
The Postman is your Bestie ~~ He/She brings you all the crap you have ordered while up through the night feeding or during nap time while your husband is at work and doesn’t know a think about it then you meet said Postman in Tesco nod your head indicating a silent hello because even they know you order too much and it’s probably not common knowledge!
You become addicted to the TV you never watched before ~~ Be it ‘This Morning’ ‘Loose women’ ‘Judge Judy’ or even ‘Home under the hammer’ from 2001 you have to get your fix. Its series linked. In fact on one occasion I have known someone (its might be me or perhaps not) to record the end of Jeremy Kyle because they were dying to find out if the mans brothers uncle stole from them and could possibly be the dad, while they went out at a toddler group.
You have to make mummy friends ~~ Your friends who haven’t procreated life aren’t interested in talking about colic, milk intake, sleeping patterns, weaning, the colour of poo so you have to find a mummy tribe who will. This normally involves going to parenting groups or classes. It’s like the first day of school when you don’t know anyone and you have to introduce yourself and tell them 3 fun facts about yourself. I have been very lucky where this is concerned and made awesome mum friends but there is always that clique who you have to watch out for..
You become competitive ~~ “My boy rolled at 12 weeks” “My girl sat up at 5 months” “Well my son walked out of the womb” You get the picture! Everyone likes to compare and if you say you don’t then i’ts a lie. You spend some days googling how to get your baby to roll or talk more etc because a mum at the toddler group has told you hers is or yours should be. It’s the biggest load of nonsense but you can’t help it. Babies do what they want when they want and to be perfectly honest if someone was going to carry you from A to B wouldn’t you just let them?!
You hate your house ~~ Hate is maybe a bit strong but you start to notice things that really annoy you about your house that didn’t before. You hate the colour scheme of the living room, you notice painting that needs to be done, where you dumped your shoes wasn’t a problem 7 months ago but it is now and you need an extension on the extension for all the baby and toddler toys. Just get the For Sale sign up as it’s easier to move at this point!
You spend money you don’t have ~~ Maternity pay is pants but yet you need to get out of the house most days so why not go to shopping centres all over the country…the baby sleeps in the car so who cares! You buy accessories for that room you hate at home to make you like it again. you buy kids clothes just because they are cute. you buy a different sandwich because the same thing every day can be boring. You sign up for a bunch of baby classes that cost a bazillion pounds because that’s what your mum clique has done and you are NEVER out of your local supermarket. When you worked you went once a week and got everything, now you are in it at least 4 times a week because you forgot something and the staff now know you by your first name.
Your electricity bill is sky high~~ It’s because the washing machine never stops, you have that TV addiction now and you have to boil the kettle four times before you can actually get a hot cup of tea. It’s simple really.
You become a dreamer ~~ You look at holidays you can’t go because the flight is too long for the baby, you see new restaurants opening but you can only dine at 5pm now due to bedtime being 6.30pm. You see alcoholic drink offers on TV adverts but you can’t afford a hangover with a baby the next day. you look at the living room sofa and remember the days when you use to have a Sunday nap on it while a stupid film on channel 5 played in the background. it then gets to the stage where you look at the toilet and try to remember the last time you pee’d alone without a baby on your hip or a toddler staring at you. We can all dream…the list is endless.