Maternity Leave & A New Found Weekday Life!
The Working World
Having decided to pack up my pencil case & head straight into the working world at the tender age of 16, I amusingly started with a brief stint of PR & merch’ selling for the Wurzles (those of you who are in the combine harvester locations will I’m sure know of them!). Then followed an array of varied roles which took me to my latest career challenge of opening a new hotel from rubble to reality, which was an incredible & crazy experience!
Basically I haven’t stopped for the last 17 years, so with maternity leave looming, I wasn’t sure how I was going to react! I finished work 4 weeks before my due date, as it had been a full on lead up in so many ways & with the festive & busiest time of the year for a hotel about to hit, we decided it was time for me to take my foot off the pedal!
It was an exciting yet daunting feeling, with an emotional roller coaster of thoughts & nesting actions taking place, whilst awaiting the arrival of Pearl, who was due on the 19th December & born on the 20th.
New weekday life
Our first Christmas & New Years went past in a blur & 2 weeks of Daddies paternity leave then came to an end. We wished he could have stayed with us longer, as those first few weeks are lovingly bonkers & to be cherished, but then came my newly experienced weekday life…
I had been used to, like most people pre-Mini Human stage, cramming downtime & anything social into weeknights or weekends, with ‘Sunday Fun Day’ inevitably coming with Monday blues & now all the days in the week became possibilities. Books & many a chat with the Girlies can certainly help prepare you for becoming a real life Mama, but nothing is quite like the reality of having your own bundle of joy & learning on the job!
Monday to Friday can fly by, but on occasion it can also feel pretty daunting. Although always excited to spend time with friends & family, they aren’t always available 5 days a week, so it soon became clear to me that there could also be a lot of time with just the two of us!
I have surprised myself & embraced the lazy days, but if you follow us on Baby in the City you’ll know overall we’re pretty active. I’m really pleased Pearl seems to relish being social, embracing it like us too, but making time to be at home in the week has also become some of my favourite time spent with her. You get to focus on taking in their growing little personalities in your own environment, which is where I tend to notice more of her developments, feel less stressed about mess being created & if you don’t clear it up straight away, who knew! Or just not worrying about your appearance & going with the – I’ve just been dragged through a hedge backwards look!
Previously on my weekdays I’ve been used to donning heels, dress & full face of slap for work & now when I go out, it feels a task in itself to just ensure I don’t scare people with the giant daily growing eye bags! It’s gone from higher the better to suddenly searching shoes in terms of flats & trainers & having never really looked at clothing labels before, all of a sudden I long for breathable cotton to avoid the sweats from having a bambino stuck to your hip, thigh or chest 95% of the day!
Now for most & me included…
… Maternity Leave itself of course does tend to flag up a huge drop in income! Unless you’re lucky enough to have an enhanced or improved package, filling your days out of the house can put a strain on the purse strings. I always have the best intention of making a packed lunch, but in reality it rarely happens. I can easily blow £30 before I know it on a snack out, a class here & there & maybe just maybe when a few new clothes items have snuck into the baby rucksack for us both (downfall of living 7 minutes from Zara) so days in your own pad sometimes become a must.
I’m also coming from an angle of having my first child & can only imagine throwing into the mix another baby, toddler, teenager or all of the above for you to feel completely wiped out in sleep, money & many other ways. I take my hat off to parents returning to work earlier than the statutory 9 month mat’ leave period, or juggling running their own businesses whilst having a newborn, as being able to relish this new found weekday has given me perspective & as we speak make some pretty big decisions about my career & how it effects our family life.
A set purpose
Having a breather from your career or weekly routine for 1 or 9+ months can make you feel lost, or not having a set out purpose each day can be a surreal feeling after being on the go all the time, but if raising & taking care of a mini human each day isn’t a purpose, I don’t know what is! Being off can make you feel out of the loop sometimes but overall I’ve found having Pearl has given me more determination & guts than ever!
It’s taught me scaling back can actually make you see clearer what you want, or what makes you truly happy & aware of what your capable of, even if those thoughts or ideas wobble from day to day. Of course that bloody self doubt sits on your shoulder when you least want it to, but you just need to try & tell it to sod off. A big thing for me is I’ve been use to getting tasks done & making decisions swiftly & now accepted this just isn’t always the case anymore when with Pearly, but I WILL get things done, just not perhaps as quickly as I once did!
What is clear to me though is what works for one Mama or Family doesn’t necessarily for another. You have good days, bad days & blah days. Every bambino & child is different, every relationship, support network, home life & interests are varied, so I’ve tried the going with my gut instinct technique. Health professionals kept referring to going with my gut in the early days with Pearl, which I found tough sometimes without straight answers, but its stayed with me & seems, fingers crossed to have served me well so far in this Motherhood malarkey.