Tuesday, 12 April 2016

What Its Really Like Being on Maternity Leave and How To Enjoy Being on Maternity Leave

Hello My Loves



I want to share my thoughts and feelings of what its really like to be on maternity leave.  My son is 6 months old now and I have been on maternity leave from 2 weeks before his birth so I have been on it for long enough to write this post.  Being on maternity leave is very different from being at work, that's for sure.  There are no coffee breaks with co-workers anymore or engagement with adult conversation about last nights soaps or even over mundane things like spreadsheets! There is no more using your brain for a financial or business gain. Those skills you have, whether you are a CEO or work in a fast food chain, those skills which are acquired for business, are not required anymore.  Instead, other, new mothering skills are learned.

Suddenly your whole day begins and ends with caring for your new bundle.  Lets be clear, being a mother and being a stay at home mother means you get no break during the day.  You get no tea break uninterrupted, hell, you don't even get an uninterrupted toilet break! It is non stop 24/7.  You spend your day cleaning throw up, changing nappies, feeding be it breast or bottle, introducing solids, running errands with a child and all their equipment en tow, playing with your child, loving your baby, cuddling, wiping away tears, ensuring they have sufficient nap time, taking them for walks... and that list could literally go on forever.  

Life changes dramatically when you have a baby.  This was my first baby and oh my did I get a shock to my system.  I lived for my routine before and now suddenly, life is literally up in heap!  The sheer anxiety of trying to do things right fuels you through the sleepless nights and utter exhaustion.  It is without a doubt the most demanding job I have ever done.  But ill let you into a little secret, it is also the most rewarding. The intense love you have for your child gets you through all those little hills you face as a new mother.  I would lay down my life for my child in a second.  I wouldn't do that for anyone else on this planet, but for him, I wouldn't even have to think.  It is that intense a love.

A lot of women find maternity leave lonely and isolating.  They went from leading extremely social lives to now being stuck indoors while they get the hang of breastfeeding, not feeling comfortable or confident to venture outside yet, they are anxious about baby screaming their head off in a restaurant, so would rather stay at home for just a few more weeks or simply are too exhausted to slap on make up and move off the couch. 

I, am a bit of a loner by nature.  I really like my own time.  I am social and see friends about one a week or once a fortnight but I generally really like my own company.  I find calm and peace by sticking on some Real Housewives or opening a book and de-stressing.  However, even I need some adult time too.  So here are a few tips I have picked up along my journey:

1. Join a Mother and Baby Group
I know, you are throwing your eyes up to heaven.  Its just not simply your thing.  I know, I get it, trust me, it wasn't my thing either.  But I am so glad I took advice and joined a breastfeeding group. I thought it would be so uncomfortable, sitting in a group of strangers, talking about breastfeeding.  I couldn't imagine actually feeding my child in front of them.  What are we? Bloody hippies?! Apparently yes, yes I am! It was fantastic.  To openly breastfeed my child in a public setting, while in a country that doesn't do that, normalized breastfeeding for me.  It was empowering.  It was exactly what I needed.  It was great to have people to talk to and ask questions about the issues I faced, not just with breastfeeding but every aspect of motherhood.  Try it, other mothers with older babies are your best Google.  They know the answers to your questions through tried and tested methods.

2. Get Out of The House
I cannot emphasis this one enough.  I think this is something that needs to be done everyday. Take your baby for a walk in the stroller, go shopping, take baby to swimming classes, meet your friend for lunch, whatever it may be, stay busy and get out of the house.  Staying at home all day every day staring at 4 walls and dirty nappies will drive you to drink!

3. Engage with Other Mothers on Social Media
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc have all made it possible to have a conversation really easily with people on the other side of the world.  That includes other mothers.  Through my Instagram @leopardandspice I have found myself chatting to other mothers in neighboring countries and across the globe.  You can search for mothers that have babies the same age as you and chat to them.  I found this such an amazing way of communicating with other mothers and learning tips and tricks as well as sometimes just venting and being heard by people that understand.

4. Remember This Time is Precious
All too soon you will be back at work, having meetings and debating work processes.  This time with your child is precious and you will never get it back again.  Watching my son becoming big and strong, while he gets the best care he can from me is amazing. Seeing him learn to crawl, grow teeth, eat solids and starting to see the world around him are moments I will treasure forever.  The bond the one on one care has created is intense to say the least.  No one can comfort him like I can, no one can take care of him like I can and no one can love him like me, his mother can.  We are as thick as thieves the 2 of us.  

I hope you found this useful if you are currently on maternity leave or are pregnant.  Do let me know if you have anything to add to this post. As always, I love to hear from you.  Or come say hi on Instagram.

Love, Mini
xxx

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6 comments

  1. Ah Mini, this is awesome and yes I was that soldier struggling with the breastfeeding for the first three months. But i wish I had it over I'd give anything to be at home with T now 😉 Siobhan xx

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    1. Aw thanks for sharing Siobhan. I imagine that first week of him being in a creche will be hard? Did you find it hard? Well hopefully we both become bloggers extrodinaries and can work from home with our little men X #thedream

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  2. Great and helpful tips, I've not child of my own, but I imagine it's tough. My friends who recently had children are always sharing tips. Good to know for future. xx/Madison
    Garden Glow

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  3. Being a mom is no joke. I had twins first and it was quite an experience for me. But I survived. These are great tips for new moms. Hugs babe!

    http://fashionablyidu.blogspot.com/

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