As my return to work looms imminently around the corner; we’re talking hours and minutes now no longer weeks and days, I feel it’s only best to write a totes emosh blog piece about what I’ve experienced during my year of maternity leave.
To be totally truthful not only has it been one of the best years of my entire life, it’s also easily been one of the fastest! It’s a common sentence muttered amongst seasoned mothers about the speed ones baby quickly turns into a child and then equally as quickly an adult and initially I shrugged this off as newborn envy; its only now a year in do I see exactly why we should ‘treasure every second’…because it bloody zooms by!
So, in a blur my maternity went something like this; I had a few weeks pre Blossom sunbathing in the garden with Scotty Boy who had conveniently been suspended from the shithole that cannot be named. Then he was sacked, I had a sweep and went into labour.
Blossom arrived early on a Saturday morning whilst I’d spent most of the night in a bath shitting myself! Then we came home and that was the last time both myself and B slept! I breastfed…a lot and while I did this for hours on end I churned out a first draft of that novel I’d been meaning to write.
Then I ran a half marathon and shit myself in my friend Gavin’s car. (I’m aware that shitting myself seems to be a common theme throughout my life and work is in progress to rectify this. Get it?) After pushing my body too hard I rested for a bit. Then it was Christmas and we had the best time. New Year flew around as did Valentine ’s Day, my first mother’s day and then Easter when I forced my family of three into the cutest of cute rabbit suits!
We then went on a caravan holiday; I turned thirty and dressed B up as ET, she learnt to crawl and now all of a bloody sudden out of nowhere it’s time to return to work.
To say I’m traumatised would be an understatement but I’m thankful for both the time I’ve had with the most perfect little girl any one could wish for (bar the non sleeping bit) and the friends we’ve both met along the way.
So, in a summary here’s a list of some of the important things and pearls of wisdom I’d like to pass on regarding maternity leave.
- If possible take a few weeks off pre baby. Bask in the glory that is being pregnant, go to bed when you want and enjoy having a wee undisturbed and at a normal pace. I genuinely think my walk in the park labour was because I’d had time to do absolutely nothing before Blossom arrived.
- Find out what clubs or activities are available for new mothers and new babies. Holed up with a tiny, demanding bundle of joy can be somewhat isolating. The days are long and lonely so fill them up with other new mummies and babies…I wholeheartedly promise you that you will make the best of friends; lifelong friends even!
- Contrary to what my husband believes maternity leave is not a holiday! Its hard going, emotional and times tougher than the daily grind to the point you will consider what the hell you have done so if you want cake for breakfast bloody well have it, if you don’t want to change out of your pyjamas, don’t and if you either don’t want to or just bloody cant clean the house don’t worry about it! Your job is now to look after the little human being you’ve created and in order to do that you need to be in tip top condition and if that means quaffing cake at obscene times of the day…you go for it!
- Go with what you think. You can bog yourself down with Google, books and advice but in the end it all boils down to what you and your mothers intuition believe! I am now an expert in every article ever written on babies and how to make them sleep before finally realising that my baby just didn’t need to sleep and I’d wasted a lot and I mean a lot of time.
- Be prepared to talk about your return to work from the first day of your maternity leave. People are obsessed with when you’re returning, whether you’re returning and why you’re returning! In hindsight, if I had received one pound for every time I changed my mind about my return I wouldn’t ever have to return! Shrug these questions off and do not dwell on that return date…it will be there before you know it and you have no control over it so in the words of the Beatles…Here Comes The Sun!
- Enjoy every single moment. Make the most of your days. Do things and meet people you wouldn’t normally. Hug that tiny body every single day and hold those memories close because they will be the most precious. Embrace the nappies and sleepless nights, relish in having to do every single thing for your baby because one day… you get the picture?