I don’t know what I was thinking. In the back of my head I thought this will be some well deserve time off from work. In my brain (first time mother syndrome is to blame for this) I though that baby will go down for naps and pretty much nap 24/7. Boy did reality shock me out of that real fast, real quick. So let me tell you future mothers, especially you first time mothers, that maternity leave is work not paid for one year vacation but hard work, emotionally mentally and physically.
Maybe I was naive but in my head. I thought that raising a baby in my one year maternity leave would be a walk in the park. All you need to do is feed baby, burp baby, put baby to sleep for naps, bath babies …and..repeat. It is like that for the first 3 months and then all of a sudden baby wants to play. Not only that but you have to maintain the house and yourself. As soon as baby goes down for a nap I know I have a 2 hour window and I have to figure out what will I do. Should I be productive and clean,cook and do laundry orrr do I say screw this and sleep . Nine times out of ten sleep wins. I know they say to sleep when baby sleep and I do suggest that every mother get that extra sleep in but after 4 months your okay to sleep some nap and not on others.
Its funny just before my Mat leave a customer said to me “enjoy your vacation”. As I sit here and write this post. I want to stress that maternity leave is not a vacation ( he was a guy of course they would say something like that). There is so much work to be done from the moment baby wakes up till the moment that they go down to sleep for the night. By the time the day is down your exhausted and ready to hit the hay. So, to the first time mothers out there mat leave isn’t a vacation don’t make the same mistake I did and think this will be effortless, and for the guys that have no clue. Dude you have no clue. Don’t believe me here’s a lovely post from scarymommy that ties it all up together sooo, eloquently. You’ve been warned.
*Note: you can find the link to the article below*
Why My Maternity Leave Isn’t A Freaking Vacation
I am not hard to please. I don’t need fancy restaurants or spa days or luxurious accommodations to feel like I’m on a vacation. But describing my maternity leave as a vacation is going so far into the land of clueless that I’m not sure you will be able to find your way back.
If you have just grown an entire human being inside of your body and then it rudely exits and begins to cry for three months, you should not be further insulted by someone calling that three months of trying to keep that crying newborn alive, again,with your body, a freaking vacation.
Let me break it down for you:
1. The Sleep
Vacation: Waking up naturally with the sun high in the sky and smiling sleepily at your partner. Spending a lazy morning deciding what self-indulgent thing you want to do that day.
NOT vacation: Waking up every one to three hours to feed a baby piranha with the sucking power of a Dyson V6. Whimpering as you see your mangled self in the bathroom mirror and thinking that you might die soon if you don’t get to close your eyes.
2. The Boobs
Vacation: Your boobs are happy on vacation. Part of them may even get to see the sun while you lie on the warm sand, shading your eyes with one hand, peering over your happy, swimsuit-clad boobs into the lovely horizon.
NOT vacation: Your boobs are very very sad on maternity leave, whether you decide to breastfeed or not. They get swollen and sore and cracked and sore and humungous and sore. And if you get mastitis (which I did—twice), well, then you get to place that live baby piranha on your infected, red, horror-show of a boob even more.
3. The Drinks
Vacation: Whatever you want, whenever you want.
NOT vacation: A tub-sized portion of water every day so that you are able to produce enough milk to keep your baby human alive. You will never want to see water again.
4. The Companions
Vacation: Hopefully a loving partner or friends who are just as excited to be there as you are.
NOT vacation: A tiny, hollering, baby who isn’t real sure about planet Earth yet.
5. The Scenery
Vacation: You walk around saying things like, “I can’t believe I’m here!”
NOT vacation: You still walk around saying, “I can’t believe I’m here!” But you are probably crying because “here” is your bedroom and you haven’t left it all day, and you are starving and cold and the baby is awake again, and you aren’t even sure that intelligent life exists anymore.
6. The Bodily Functions
Vacation: You deal with your own, that’s it.
NOT vacation: You deal with your own, but it’s pretty much like caring for a frightening alien-being that you’ve never seen before. You also deal with a brand new baby body that often doesn’t even know how to eat food or digest food or poop out food without it being a major life-altering event.
7. The Emotions
Vacation: You are most likely very happy. You may shed a tear upon leaving.
NOT vacation: You will probably cry for three hours straight while cleaning your home in an obsession-induced rampage one day while your partner looks on helplessly wondering if you are OK, and no, you are not OK and nothing is OK and it may never be OK again.
8. The Self-Image
Vacation: Who knows? Who cares? You are on vacation.
NOT vacation: I remember freaking out on the lady at the maternity shirt store because clearly I had already had the baby and I should not be feeling like Moby Dick anymore. And then I proceeded to buy the most expensive, drapey, extra-large, nursing shirt that they had and refused to wear anything else for the next 12 weeks.
9. The Food
Vacation: Delicious food paired with even more delicious drinks.
NOT vacation: You don’t even know where the kitchen is. And you are afraid to eat normal things like broccoli and chocolate cake because the baby has never had those things, and if they get a tummy ache, it’s another sleepless night. If your baby starts crying, you question everything: dairy, caffeine, citrus, peanuts, wheat. It’s the opposite of fun.
10. The Sex
Vacation: Yes, please.
NOT vacation: If you come near me, I may castrate you myself.
Babies are wonderful in their own sweet, soft, newborn way, but they are most definitely not a vacation. Let’s just all agree on that.