Maternity Leave Will Be A Hoot, Right?
This is a contribution by Rebecca from Daycare Decisions, a blog dedicated to helping parents of young children find the right fit for them.
When you are pregnant, that maternity leave time away from your job can seem soooo long. You think it could be a perfect time to enrol in that study you have been putting off, to undertake some major or minor house renovations or start your own craft business. Maternity leave might mean leaving your work colleagues who you love (except that one guy…but that’s another story) but they’ll be right there when you get back, refreshed and fabulous in your mama role.
Oh yeah, you’ve heard about ‘those’ babies that are fussy, don’t sleep and demand constant attention. But your baby won’t be like that. You practice yoga, you are the ‘chilled’ one the in the relationship and you have pretty much been eating everything organic while pregnant. You haven’t eaten swordfish, soft cheese or sculled champagne since you found out you were pregnant and you haven’t even had a spray tan because you read some study that said spray tans in pregnancy was linked to ADHD? You’ll never have one of “those babies” – your baby will be your best friend, your ally, your “perfect little sleeper”.
And then….you become the mother of ‘that’ baby.
First your child lulls you into a false sense of security and for the first 4-5 days, totally plays the delicious newborn routine. You are on a high, you get out of hospital, wearing your underpants on the outside. I mean you just bloody created a human, how cool are you? You smash yourself with friends and family popping over and spend time cleaning the house and arranging cushions between visits. You get a few early warning signs when the pregnancy hormones start crashing on day 5. You start feeling a bit more human, bub is starting to get a bit fussy but you are still feeling pretty happy with yourself.
Fast-forward to week 6 of your glamourous and fabulous maternity leave and you haven’t worn mascara in 5.5 weeks. You have to wear your baby all the time and you didn’t even sign up for attachment parenting. You caught yourself talking back to the hosts of the morning show and you couldn’t imagine actually having to go to work, let alone DO work. Some days you just hope to achieve more than 1 personal hygiene task. Your leg hairs are long enough to sway gently in the wind… so what, it’s not like you are getting outside that much.
So what did you learn on maternity leave mumma?
My big takeaways from having a baby was that my baby is a human and a boy, and as such totally not receptive to my passive aggressive comments like “Mummy loves you when you are sleeping”, “Mummy wants you to grow and you do that when you are sleeping”. “Have a big feed and then sleep not lots of micro, snap snacks I am not a convenience store”. So on maternity leave I spent a lot of time addressing my expectations. Maybe he wasn’t one of “those babies” maybe I was one of “those mothers”. Either way, consider my expectations adjusted!
I learnt that nothing outside you stays the same, good or bad. You on the other hand are a whole new person. I learned that everyone else at work had stayed the same and I had changed. I learned to lose my power, mojo, hair and body shape and get them back again (well, not the body shape but three out of four….). But the most important lesson I learned was to let go. I didn’t need to do all those things, see all those people, wash all those clothes. I just needed to be. So next time you see a mum about to go on maternity leave planning long lunches in the city, place your hand on theirs and look into their eyes and say…………you go girl! She just might not have one of ‘those’ babies and she just might find out who she is too.