Unrealistic Maternity Leave Expectations

I’ve had quite a few people ask me what I plan to do on maternity leave, which I thought was a bit of an odd question. My answer mostly has been “…have a baby.” But some people (ones who haven’t had children yet, predictably) seem to be thinking of maternity leave as a bit of a holiday too.

I get that this is a common misconception, and when I first found out about being pregnant I was looking forward to a long break from work and all the things I could do in that time. But reality soon set in and I knew that maternity leave would be baby baby baby… This was only confirmed when my sister had her baby and said she struggles to either find time for a shower some days, let alone to do anything for herself.

I’m lucky as I have a lot of family living near who I know will be more than willing to help out: my mom wants to take extra time off work to help out with the baby and my dad has decided to move nearby so he can be near both his daughters and grandchildren, which is great. Nathan will also be working 4 days a week, so we get to spend 3 days together as a family, which I’m really excited about.

I still don’t expect to have a lot of time to myself. But I thought I’d make a list of all the things that I would like to be able to do on maternity leave in an ideal world, some very realistic, others a little less so (though we’ll see what I actually manage to get done!)

  • Write every day – this was one of my new year resolutions and hasn’t stuck so far, with the house move and everything taking up a lot of time. It’s not an idealistic expectation, but I’d love to be able to get a little bit done each day.
  • Go for walks with baby – this might not sound too unrealistic, but I know my sister struggles to get out the house sometimes, with the constant cycle of feeding and changing. Still, the weather should be good, there’s a park nearby and I love the idea of getting some exercise and showing baby the outside world.
  • Cook/bake and keep a tidy house – again, the way my sister has found things, this could be pretty unrealistic – I think her husband is often the one who has to cook and wash up after work, but I’d love to try and have dinner ready for Nathan when he comes home, even if it’s something simple. We got a slow cooker recently, which is a great way to make easy and tasty meals without too much effort.
  • Catch up on TV – this is the one I imagine is the easiest to achieve, as there’s not much effort involved in slumping in front of the TV! I’d like to catch up on some series that I’ve been meaning to watch for a while, like BuffySix Feet Under and The 100.

We’ll see how many of these I actually get done, but that’s the dream up there. The main thing though, is spending time looking after and bonding with baby: that’s the important thing, and anything else would be a bonus!

Did you get up to anything exciting during maternity leave, or did the every day things take up all of your time?