baby, Family, maternity leave, mom, motherhood, Mum, newborn, Pregnancy

The truth about maternity leave

This time last year I was getting cleared up at work ready for a year off on maternity leave. As I look back on my fresh faced, naive self back then I can only laugh at the expectations I had for my year off!

Expectation: I was going to give the house a good clear out. To be fair I had already done a bit of clearing out in order to create a nursery but as I was quite heavily pregnant at the time a lot of stuff just got moved into our ‘junk room’ and I figured I would deal with when I no longer resembled a hippo!

Reality: The junk room is now worse than ever! All the things my son has outgrown- car seat, bouncer, jumperoo, baby clothes etc. have been added to the collection and I can’t even bring myself to open the door anymore!

Expectation: I was going to try lots of new recipes from the mountain of recipe books gathering dust in my kitchen and dinner would be sitting ready for my husband coming home from work.

Reality: Dinners have to be quick and easy as carrying a baby around in one arm doesn’t really lend itself to preparing dinners with 49 different ingredients! Often my husband comes home to nothing prepared so either gets a baby handed to him or has to make dinner himself!

Expectation: I was going to catch up with friends and have lots of play dates with other mummies.

Reality: I made plans to meet up with everyone but this often never worked out between children being sick, clashing nap times and general craziness of family life! The few times we did manage a meet up we probably had about 5 minutes of conversation between shouting ‘get that out of your mouth’ and ‘it’s not nice to bite your friend’.

Expectation: I was going to get out for long walks everyday. When people found out I was having a baby in July everyone said how great it would be to have a summer baby and I could get out in the sun everyday for leisurely strolls.

Reality: Firstly as I live in Northern Ireland there wasn’t any sun last summer, just rain! Secondly for the first few months after he was born I was lucky to find time to brush my hair never mind look presentable enough to venture out the front door! To fair as I have a dog we did manage to get a quick walk most days just long enough for the dog to do her business then dash home again before the baby did himself damage screaming for his next feed!

Expectation: I was going to catch up on all the sleep I had missed out on while pregnant. After all when baby sleeps, mummy can sleep! I had read that newborns sleep for 16 or 17 hours a day so that would give me plenty of time to sleep plus do some housework!!

Reality: My son obviously missed the sleeping module at newborn training camp as he only slept a fraction of the aforementioned 17 hours and naps were often in 20 minute intervals which made it impossible to get anything done! As I mentioned in a previous post his sleeping hasn’t got much better as the year has progressed so I am still seriously sleep deprived and there isn’t much chance of doing housework while he naps as I’m scared to move in case I wake him up again!

In conclusion if you are going on maternity leave soon and are planning on becoming super Mum and domestic goddess during your time off I’m afraid it isn’t going to happen. I know all the other mummies on Facebook have up photos of the amazing time they are having on maternity leave and it is true you will have picture perfect Facebook moments which you will want to unashamedly share with everyone but there will also be some not so pretty moments. So maybe my year off wasn’t productive in the way I had planned but I managed to produce another human being and watch him grow into a pretty awesome little person and that is better than anything else I could possibly have achieved this year!

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59 thoughts on “The truth about maternity leave”

  1. I stay home with my kids and I can say the expectations I had of how amazing it would be and how awesome I would be were quickly crushed! I appreciate your honesty as a fellow mom blogger who has no fear in sharing how perfectly imperfect I am as a mom.
    Toni @ http://www.becomingschultz.com

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I relate to this SO much haha! Seems like babies are the ruiners of expectations and it just gets worse with each baby haha! But they’re totally worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I felt like you wrote this post based on my own experience with my maternity leave. I think people who give advice about how great and easy certain aspects of having a newborn will be, have completely forgotten what it was like or had an amazing sleeper baby from the get-go. Anyways, you’re in good company! I can relate to everything you wrote.

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    1. I know I have been very fortunate to spend a whole year with my baby. Can’t say there have been too many perfect photos but life isn’t perfect so I know behind every photo there is bedlam in the background!

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  4. First: How awesome is it that you got a whole year of maternity leave… I’m a jealous American over here
    Second: As a SAHM I can attest that I rarely get half of what I attempt finished. These little creatures we create really put a wrinkle in productivity!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes we are very lucky to have the option of a year long maternity leave although most of mine was unpaid but it is good to know I can take that time off and still have a job to go back to!

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  5. Definitely true! Except I am insanely jealous of a one-year long maternity leave. In the US we are lucky to get 6 weeks. I worked from home for a company and was only able to afford 2 weeks off (with them begging me to start working again after one week) after my emergency cesarean. I didn’t get much done in those first few months for sure!!

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  6. I found a lot of my friends who’ve recently become mothers and it’s interesting to see what they expected vs what’s happened. They’ve all become amazing mothers though!

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  7. THANK YOU!!!!! When I had my nearly 3 year old was born (in July too)I had all these plans which I now realise were fantasy although you’d think I’d know better with her being my 4th! Like you I was going to become a domestic Goddess but the reality was I was just trying to survive each day and keep 4 kids alive. Thanks for a great, honest post

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Expectation: I’d be just like Martha Stewart meets June Cleaver.
    Reality: I’m more like Roseanne Conner meets Kitty Foreman.
    Hahaha being a mom is fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m so laughing at this because it’s so relatable! I’m 17 weeks pregnant and a FTM and I think I’m guilty of some of these fantasies! Sounds fun, haha 😀

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  10. There is soooo much of this I can relate to. My recovery from the birth took 4 months so they were a haze of pain and discomfort. And my son didn’t get the sleeping during the day memo until he was 8 months old. I did nap with him then though!

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  11. I didn’t have many expectations for my maternity leave. My first baby was a terrible sleeper and suffered from colic too, and the first six months just went by in a haze. We did go outside every day though for a walk, whatever the weather, and he was a November baby.

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  12. My mum went on Maternity leave and never returned. Due to health problems with myself it was impossible to work and so I can safely say she would agree that you do not turn in to a super mum domestic goddess haha! Although I think most mum’s are super mum at one time or another Xx

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  13. Being a mom to a newborn is tough, but I actually did get out and go on runs with my daughter. I think it really depends on your baby. We had a chill baby and a bouncer was our lifesaver. We could put her down and get stuff done, so we didn’t get have to carry her around a lot.

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  14. I love the honesty! It’s hard to do anything when you have a baby! And I’m right there with you on the sleep deprivation. My baby is about a year almost and we still barely sleep! I have a great article on that (even published on Motherly!). One day we will sleep! 😂

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  15. I think everyone should get a year for maternity leave. I was shocked after I moved to the USA to find out that it wasn’t a standard thing! So glad you were able to have it – even if you didn’t get everything accomplished that you wanted to. Your kiddos were glad to have you 🙂

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  16. This post sings all types of truth!! I thought I was going to do all this and some on maternity leave.. hahahaa, jokes on me! And by the time everything started getting normalized again and I had energy and a schedule it was time for me to go back to work so we had to relearn a new schedule!

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  17. I didn’t get to make it to maternity leave when I had my first baby because I ended up quitting the job due to complications from the pregnancy impacting my attendance. I do have a lot of mom friends who work outside the home and their expectations of maternity leave were shattered once the baby arrived.

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  18. This is so real!!! When I was on maternity leave, my coworkers thought I was on vacation! I hated it because I felt pressured to come back to work right away. They did not realize the new life I was living.

    Liked by 1 person

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