I’ve just returned to work after having (a little over) a year away from my job to birth and raise my baby boy. I put on my ‘nice clothes’, did my hair, and even wore heels - albeit very low and sensible.
In the weeks leading up to my return to the office I found myself reflecting on my year of maternity leave. I think about how it was so different from what I imagined it to be like, and what, if anything, I’d do differently if I got to live the same year over again.
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Maybe you’re heading off on maternity leave soon. Or have a friend that is. I know when it was my time I’d wish I’d had more truthful insight. So I’ve made a list of all the things I’d tell myself roughly this time last year - full belly, anxious heart, with no idea what lay ahead of me.
You won’t become an avid baker (or even a good cook).
I had visions of afternoons spent baking away in the kitchen, using almond flour and sourdough starters to whip up delicious healthy treats for my husband and offspring (with sun streaming through the window and Nora Jones playing softly in the background, obviously). Maybe I’d even get one of those little cake stand things with the glass lid and we’d each have a civil slice of carrot cake every afternoon with a cup of tea.
In reality I baked about as often as I baked pre-baby, which was twice in 12 months, both times from a packet.
Ditto with me trying new complicated dinner recipes with exotic ingredients. In reality I stuck with the same tried-and tested meals I had always made, mostly meat and three veg or a pasta dish that required about eight minutes of prep and was a solid two out of 10 on the effort scale.
(Note: none of this applies to the food you cook for the baby, of course. When they start solids you’ll buy organic apples (and learn how to stew them!!) and puree grass fed beef for their lunch while you munch on a stale Cruskit).