Women have this preconceived vision of what maternity leave is like.. It may be a life that some women want; to be a stay at home mom, but the reality of having a newborn can be a real wake up call. I thought I was going to do so much while I was on leave; pick up a new hobby, organize my closet, DIY projects, but no. Since being on maternity leave, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished a lot when I look at my day-to-day activities. My days have been spent in the house binge watching TV shows on Netflix & Hulu, hour-long naps throughout the day, and lazy meals. It’s a treat when people actually come to visit because it’s the only interaction I get with adults and the only reason I get ready.
It’s no vacation being on leave like people think it is. Yes, it’s been amazing being able to bond with my little lady all day, but I haven’t been out gallivanting the city showing off my child because lets face it; going anywhere in public with a newborn is so much work! Having to get her diaper bag ready, the car seat, the bottles, and the timing..Is she going to stay asleep long enough for me to get some grocery shopping done? Or is she going to cry once the cart stops moving? All these things are stressful to think about and maybe I just need to face the fear, go out and deal with it as it happens.
But when I do look at the bigger picture, I have accomplished a few things that I’m actually proud to admit.
- I’ve learned to be patient. This one will take some more time, but the first month I nearly cried every time she cried not because she was crying hysterically, but because I didn’t know what was wrong with her. Now when she cries, I’ve learned that if she is fed, cleaned, and there are no physical signs of pain, I need to let her self-soothe herself.
- I’ve taken the help. When they say it takes a village to raise a child, I now truly understand that. We are so blessed to have so much family offer help and I’ve finally learned to let them help us. We can’t take on parenthood alone, so the fact that we have a village to help is incredible!
- Daily walks around the neighborhood. I may not go out everyday with Rylee, but I’ve made an effort everyday to take a walk around the neighborhood just to get out of the house for a bit and get some fresh air. It can be tough to pull yourself together and walk outside for a bit, but it helps break up the day and gives us a reason to stretch our legs and expose Rylee to the outside.
- Learning not to worry about work. As a Meeting Planner I’m constantly juggling two phones, answering emails on my commute to work, and doing multiple things at once. I’ve learned that right now my only job is to be a mom and although it’s hard not worrying about work, the moment I stopped looking at emails, I found it a lot more enjoyable to spend time with my daughter.
- She’s alive & healthy! That’s the biggest thing here right? There’s no bigger fear than taking your baby home from the hospital not knowing what to do. It’s been two months and she’s growing and she’s healthy.
My time as a SAHM is quickly ending and the thought of leaving my daughter is making me sad. There is so much more to learn and it’s a bittersweet feeling having to go back to work in a few short weeks. I know these seem like little accomplishments, but for me, they’re maternity leave milestones! Every accomplishment I’ve done has somehow impacted my life and has taught me something new everyday.