Maternity leave is a time to spend nurturing and bonding with your new baby, recovering from childbirth and accomplishing some of those pesty incomplete tasks on your to-do list. For working mothers, their to-do list seems to be never-ending, so maternity leave is a perfect time to tackle some of those items!
Here are some common myths I’ve come to understand and (partially) accept since being on maternity leave for the second time now.
You will get Things Done
You’ve taken several weeks off, so you anticipate that during that time you’ll be able to accomplish a lot, right? Wrong. You might as well throw that to-do list away, because you’ll soon realize that it’s incredibly difficult to get things done while on maternity leave. Don’t get discouraged if you only get one thing checked off your to-do list. Just rejoice in the fact that you kept baby fed, clean and alive each day. 🙂
Time to See Friends, Finally!
You figure since you have several weeks off of work that you have time to hang out with your friends. Think again! Even though you have time to hang out with your friends some, if not most, of them work so they’re not free until after work. Maybe you can grab lunch here or there, but the only way you’re able to hang out with friends would be if they, too, were on maternity leave, but they’re busy trying to get things done and bond with their newborn also!
You’re Able to Run Errands During Normal Business Hours
Now that you’re not working until 5pm, you now have time to run those errands that are hard to do because of your work schedule. Need to run to the bank? Dry cleaning? No problem, right? Wrong again! You’ll find out rather quickly that it’s still difficult to get out to the bank or getting to the dry cleaners. You’re constantly getting up throughout the night to feed and change your newborn, so you’re already exhausted. But then, if you’re like me, you have to get your other child off to preschool, but you have to somehow find time to get yourself around and make sure to eat before getting out the door. Once you’re done running your other child to school, your little one is hungry again and needs changed. And now you’re exhausted again, and the idea of a nap sounds fantastic. The dry cleaning will build up and that bank run might not happen, but it’s important to not get down about it. That’s what your spouse is for, am I right?
You’ll Spend More Time Outside
Was your baby born during the winter? Great, it’s more than likely going to be too cold to take the little one out. If your baby was born during the summer, it’ll probably be too hot and you might risk your baby getting too much son. Unless you have an extra large umbrella that covers yourself and your baby it’ll be hard to get out when it’s raining. You might have some “perfect” days here and there, but it’s not as easy to go outside as you originally thought.
Work Won’t Go On Without You
You might think you’re irreplaceable, but lets be honest, there are others out there that are capable of doing your job. They might even do a better job. You might think that mistakes are being made, opportunities are being missed and that things are literally falling apart, but in truth, work will go on without you. It’ll also be there when you return.
You Will Want to Return to Work
You might feel like you’re ready to return to work especially after changing the tenth poop-filled diaper of the day, but realistically you’re not ready. I’m not sure you’re ever really ready to go back to work after having your baby. Many mothers really struggle with going back to work and leaving their child in someone else’s care for the day, which is why some women decide to become a “stay-at-home mother”.
Since I brought my newborn home, after 10 days in NICU, all I even wanted to do was hold him. 5 weeks later, that’s still all I want to do. I’ve gotten some things done, but at the end of the day it doesn’t feel like I’ve done anything but hold my baby. You know what? I’m okay with that.
Mommas enjoy this time with your baby. Don’t get stressed out because you’re unable to accomplish as much as you thought you’d be able to while on maternity leave. Bonding with your baby should be #1!