So here I am, on maternity leave, I officially finished work on Wednesday 12th April…a strange old day. I worked remotely for the day, no colleagues were around, all my work had been handed over prior to this date. Late afternoon approached and I just logged off and left the restaurant as normal, no one around to say bye to. My job requires a lot of travel, so we don’t have a dedicated office that we work in, we don’t see the same people day to day. So this really was an odd feeling, walking out the door and not working again for 10 whole months.
My maternity leave started well, straight in to Easter Bank Holiday weekend; spent with family and friends…this was all pretty normal! Tuesday came around, Liam went back to work, then the realisation hit. No alarm, nowhere to be, no emails to respond to, no work phone (the husband hid it!), no deadlines for design or print work. At the risk of sounding crazy (and ungrateful), I didn’t like it, the feeling of no responsibility. I felt sad.
Your responsibilities to get your own ass up and ready for the day pretty much starts in high school. I got my first job when I was about 15 years old. Then I went to university (OK we slack off here a bit, we take the piss ever so slightly in this stage of life). Then I graduated, I got a full-time job, started building a career. In my case that direction was hospitality, events & marketing.
NOW, here I am almost one year married, 3 weeks off turning 30 years old and for the first time in 15 years I’m twiddling my thumbs, no place to be in the morning…and I’m bored!
The list of things the maternity pros advise you to do…
1. ‘Nest’ – they say
4. Watch a box set
5. Watch movies
6. Read a book
7. Enjoy lunch with friends
8. Go for a walk
The truth is, I’m struggling, I love to be busy. I need to have somewhere to be, people to see. Maybe I’m needy, but this sitting around just isn’t for me.
One thing is for sure, daytime TV is not for me. I have discovered that I detest Eamonn Holmes and his annoying wife Ruth, they are almost as awful as the cackling group of women they call the Loose Women.
SO…I am just over 2 weeks in to my mat leave; I have exhausted lunch dates, I am on to my third book, I have watched the whole season of 13 Reasons Why and watched a lot of movies. HELP, I am losing my mind!
Then I remember, the whole reason why I am off, why I am sat here through the week hating on Eamonn Holmes (and his wife) and binge watching Netflix Originals. In 12 days, we are due to have a tiny human…shit the bed. I keep forgetting…and no it has not sunk in! So, let me take a moment to listen to one of my hypnobirthing calming tracks and just chill the f**k out a moment.
I gave myself about 3 and a half weeks ‘me time’ before the ‘due date’ (which I don’t fixate on, in fact I do not like being asked what my due date is). I took advice from others and took this time, to get work out of my system, re-programme, get our baby shit together…enjoy some R&R. Is this really enough time when you have dedicated around 50 hours per week to the same workplace for the past 5 years?
No is the answer…it really isn’t. Your mind needs so much longer to flip from work mode to doing nothing mode (well mine does), but how else do we do it? There is no magic button to get you ready for this stage of your life. No matter how much advice you get from your own mum, family & friends. This is one difficult transition and there is no one to help it along.
In around 12 days’ time, I am going to struggle to have any ‘me’ time for a very very very long time, so I really need to appreciate the precious moments on my own.
Who knows…give it 3 months and I may have forgot how to use Outlook and Excel and all I will be talking about is my baby blowing bubbles! Until then, I am learning to enjoy my own space, get our house ready for our new arrival and maybe watch a few more movies…
One thing this time has given me, is an opportunity to get my mind in a better place for the marathon ahead…LABOUR. Wish me luck.