There I was, looking forward to a bit of a rest.
Pre-sprog, I remember fantasising about taking a year off work.
In fact, I have friends who say, “I need a break. Maybe I should have a baby”. Now, while those friends are largely joking, I do understand where they’re coming from. Because, seriously, how hard can looking after a baby be? While I never subscribed to the (ignorant) belief that mat leave would be all about watching soaps and drinking G&Ts, I did think that taking a year out for “mummy time” might be nice.
And it is nice, but it’s not the chance to take a breath that I thought it might be.
7 things that I thought will happen while I’m on leave:
1. I will be tanned.
I remember thinking how lovely it will be to lie on the beach while on leave. Nowhere in my thoughts did I think about where the baby might be. I assume with me, but I didn’t think about the fact that 10 minutes in the sun would turn my lovely alabaster-skinned daughter into a lobster, nor did I think about the difficulty of putting up a beach hut. My hut seems to be six foot tall, I’m not much over five foot, you do the math. It’s a bit like watching a small child try to assemble a Billy Bookcase without an Allen key.
2. I will finally get a chance to organise my photos/linen/garden etc.
You may get part of one of these done. For me, it was buying the photos albums. Yup, they’re there, sitting under my bed, judging me for not getting on with the task, asking me why I’m spending my free 10 minutes sitting in a chair and staring out into the courtyard instead of putting my cherished memories into some sort of tangible order.
3. I will catch up on all things HBO while breastfeeding.
Probably the biggest myth busted. Breastfeeding. Is. Hard. It’s really hard! It looks easy, that’s the worst part. All these glowing mothers out in public who attach their kids with ease, while somehow being discreet about it, are making the rest of us feel bad. Meanwhile, the reality entails lots of changing of positions, assisting of heads, controlling of bodies and exposed flesh while trying to relax so milk will flow freely.
Forget TV, the act of trying to have a glass of water was near impossible for the first couple of months!
4. I’m going to be completely up-to-date on my professional development.
Career? Work? Oh sure. You’ve always put your career first and though you’re completely prepared for the fact you are now putting your child first, you’ll still have time to keep up-to-date with your industry. Bahaha! Kudos to those who manage it, because I know some who do, but for me reading the paper was intellectually challenging while sleep-deprived – anything else was simply impossible.