And so a new chapter has begun. September – the month I head back to work. The month Ralphie turns one.
A week in and I know we’re all going to be ok. But I already miss maternity leave dreadfully. I wasn’t prepared for it to be over so soon. Can we rewind the clock, please?
If you’re reading this and you happen to be on maternity leave or going on leave soon, my one word of advice is to enjoy the small things – a hot shower, afternoon cuddles, making it out of the house only half an hour late. Some days will be good, others will be great, and others you’ll want to curl up into a ball and cry. And that’s fine. If you didn’t manage to get dressed today, don’t worry.
It’s probably also worth knowing the following:
- The washing and cleaning can wait. As long as you’re not festering, you’ll all be fine
- Remember to go to the loo, don’t hold it in!
- Snuggle that baby as much as you want. You won’t make him clingy in later life. Ralphie only fell asleep on us when he was tiny and now he falls asleep by himself in his cot. Those cuddles did no lasting damage. Phew!
- Take plenty of pictures and videos, and make sure you’re in them too
- It’s ok not to be a perfect mum, housewife, cook and partner at the same time – you can’t be all things to all people. Well, I can’t anyway
- Sing – a good nursery rhyme fixes most things. I’m the mad lady singing ‘Pat-a-cake’ to Ralphie in his pram when we’re out and about
- Try not to compare yourself to other mums. By all means listen to their advice, but do what’s right for you and your baby. I’m yet to meet anyone who has taken the exact same approach on everything
- You will sleep again, just maybe not tonight!
- Statutory maternity pay is rubbish and if, like me, your work didn’t give you a decent package, things will feel a bit tight. You’ll learn to adapt, though. New clothes and fancy meals out can wait
- Get creative! You won’t have loads of free time on your hands, but when that babe is asleep, you may just want to try out something new, or old. For me, it was writing and photography. I thought I wouldn’t mind a year off from writing, but I missed it. And I never expected to love taking photos as much as I do, but it’s definitely a new passion of mine.
Looking back on the last year, I have no regrets. I would like to experience it all again, though, just in case.
But, alas, it’s too late. I won’t be able to stay in my pyjamas until midday – not on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, anyway!
And most gutting of all, on those days there’ll be nobody around that gives me hugs and kisses on demand.
So it’s back to adult conversation and hot drinks. The thing is, I don’t even mind cold coffee anymore.