Here’s what I thought I’d be doing while I was home with the baby during maternity leave:
- I’d be nursing in a white flowing gown with soft light shining down and songbirds singing in the background
- I’d pack up the baby and we’d head out for the mall to get in a good walk and some window shopping
- Lunching with stay at home friends who I thought must be the luckiest women in the world
- Creating a masterpiece of a scrapbook that would be the envy of all
- Exercising during the baby’s nap in order to get back in shape after gaining 50 lbs
Not to disappoint you, but here’s what I actually did while I was home on maternity leave:
- Sat on the couch in my underwear and a big t-shirt, baby on one side and remote control in hand while I flipped channels between workmen’s compensation lawyer ads. “Jim Adler,the Texas Hammer” had me convinced I needed to sue someone. I needed justice.
- I probably packed up the baby once and went to the mall and when I got there I was depressed because I was still 20 lbs over my pre-baby weight. There were also so many screaming babies, I didn’t want mine to learn bad habits.
- I don’t remember going to lunch with anyone while home on my leave. I remember eating several boxes of mac and cheese.
- I was officially inducted into the deadbeat mother hall of fame because not only didn’t I make a fabulous baby scrapbook but it took me over a year to pull together any photos. The baby book isn’t complete either. Oh the dismay – now I’ll never remember if I introduced bananas or pears first! I did take a lot of photos so I think I’ll just give my son a hard drive with all the photos when he moves out of my house one day.
- I definitely didn’t exercise. I don’t know what delusion-evoking hormones were pulsing through my body but I never exercised before, didn’t feel like doing it then and still hate doing it now.
Let me tell you what else I really did. I really snuggled with my little dude on the couch for hours on end. I stared endlessly at his toes and fingers. I dressed him up and put him in funny poses, took pictures, and emailed them to my husband at work. I made a point to put on pants and a bra by the time my husband got home so he would be proud to see his little family. I did other stuff too but all I really remember was getting to know him.
That said, don’t stress if your list of “to dos” turns into “didn’t happens”. You have 18 years to organize their closet, your baby doesn’t expect you to plant that herb garden and you can always trump whatever else with the fact that you were just loving other all day and that kept you too busy for anything else.