Taking a baby break…

Before I fell pregnant with my daughter, I had some pretty straightforward ideas on what I would do with my maternity leave. They went something like this…have a baby and keep said baby alive, fed, clean and happy. I would also be using this time to recover from the pregnancy/birth process, rest (ha!) and try to regain some semblance of normality to my new life. Reasonable, no?

I was really surprised therefore to be asked on many occasions by friends/relatives and sometimes total strangers what I would be doing with my maternity leave. “Umm, having a baby?” didn’t seem to cut it. “Yes but what will you be doing with all that spare time?” they would ask. At which point I would roll my eyes and divert the conversation to the usual ‘when will you pop’ guessing game they all loved to play.

Their questions got to me though. I started to feel guilty if my life wasn’t perfect, house wasn’t immaculate or even if I couldn’t put my makeup on or wash my hair that day. It wasn’t just those questions. I started to compare myself to other mums on social media who seemed to be holding down successful careers, enjoying exciting social lives whilst simultaneously posting happy family snaps on Instagram with #nofilter. It made me feel inferior. Those mums seemed to be able to do everything. What was wrong with me? Some days I didn’t even seem to have time to brush my hair.

One day when my baby was only 5 weeks old I was out running round after family members and I wasn’t home to feed my baby. My partner had to use an emergency bottle of formula. I’m not getting into the breast v bottle debate here and I don’t think there is any harm in formula but I had made a choice to breastfeed my baby so this really upset me. It was the turning point. I was so busy trying to do/be/have it all that I hadn’t even got the time to feed my new baby. The one job that I was supposed to be doing. I realised I had to change my priorities.

From then on I made a conscious decision to stop caring what other people thought or said about my “time off”. I am not going to miss out on these precious days with my daughter in order to meet the expectations of others and I have set some new goals for 2016; to feed and nourish my baby with my body and to enjoy every single day with her before I have to go back to work. I am going to wallow and delight in each sleep deprived, amazing milestone that comes along and be fully present in the moment with her. After all, I have created a life and that is surely the greatest achievement of all. So the next time someone asks me what else I will be doing with my maternity leave, I will proudly reply “absolutely nothing, I’m taking a baby break.”

 

 

 

 

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11 Comments

  1. March 11, 2016 / 9:13 am

    I think at five weeks, I was still in the ‘getting dressed us an achievement’ stage – people have some odd ideas, as if looking after a baby is something you could do in your spare time!

  2. March 11, 2016 / 9:45 am

    I think as mothers our worst enemy is actually ourselves, isn’t it? We like to beat ourselves up and compare ourselves with other mums who seem to have it all. I still do that occasionally and then reprimand myself after. It’s something we have to continuously learn I guess. Enjoy your baby break, doing nothing sounds absolutely perfect 🙂

    • March 11, 2016 / 3:30 pm

      We definitely are hard on ourselves aren’t we! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment x

  3. March 11, 2016 / 8:03 pm

    I hope that you enjoy your baby break. I wish I had of done this more when I was on maternity leave as I was too busy trying to be the perfect mum when I had my 2nd and also fell pregnant when she was only 5 months old. I wish I had of enjoyed those baby days that little bit more as they soon pass xx

  4. cvnxena
    March 12, 2016 / 2:57 am

    haha I hope you have a great baby break! I was in the same boat I ended up being busier on maternity leave than i was at work, it goes quickly so enjoy it ! x

  5. March 12, 2016 / 8:15 am

    Such a brilliant post. I don’t think people realise how much time and effort a child takes up though. Maternity leave is definitely by no means a holiday. I think I’ve worked harder since becoming a mum than ever before. Becoming a mum is the most rewarding, but incredibly exhausting things. I hope you love every moment of the rest of your maternity leave! You definitely should just focus on you guys and not what everyone else thinks xx

  6. March 12, 2016 / 9:20 am

    Good on you hun, I remember when my second was a newborn and I put on Facebook about being tired as was up all night and up early with both kids and my friend was like “try getting up for work everyday”

    To say I was fuming is a under statement lol. X

    • March 12, 2016 / 9:31 am

      There will always be one who has to say it – it’s the hardest job in the world because there’s no end. You don’t get to switch off at 5pm X

  7. March 14, 2016 / 7:13 am

    Don’t feel guilty hun! It is true babies and children are demanding and take up a lot of time and there is no off button. It is a 24 hour stint.

  8. March 15, 2016 / 9:21 am

    yep,,, i was the same, loads of people (funnily enough mostly women) would say oh you will get so bored at home!!! and will be dieing to get back to work!! i dont think so .. this is a time for you and your baby no one else.. i loved it!! and you sound like your doing amazing job x go you x

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