thankful thursday: maternity leave

It’s been almost three weeks now since I quit my job. I’m thoroughly enjoying my time at home with PB. I feel like I missed out on so much while I was working, I’m trying my best to play ‘catch up’.

I will admit, I was a little nervous about staying home with him. Initially, I had aย hard time during my maternity leave. After I had PB, Ben stayed home with us for a little over a week, which was a real lifesaver for me. I had a little bit of a wonky epidural, and had all back labor, so my back was in some pretty bad pain. I couldn’t stand completely upright and I couldn’t walk very well. So Ben was a huge help that first week.

I dreaded when he went back to work. I admit I was scared to be left alone for the first time with a brand new baby. What happened if he got choked? What if he wouldn’t stop crying? What happened if he had an explosive poop?

I did have a tough time after he went back. ย It was totally overwhelming for me. Although each day seemed to get a little easier, I was still beyond frazzled and frustrated by the time Ben came home from work. Sometimes I would just hand PB off to Ben, and go in the bathroom and cry. I cried because I felt guilty for crying. I cried because I felt guilty for feeling so frazzled. And I cried because I was still so stinkin’ hormonal.

About 6 weeks in to my maternity leave, I broke down in prayer. I was having a really hard time. PB and I weren’t on any type of schedule. There was no ‘routine’ to our days. My house was a total wreck. Some days, I wouldn’t even change out of my pajamas until Ben got home.

I was confused. Before I gave birth, I dreamed of my maternity leave. Four months off from work? Boo-yah! I had a laundry list of things I wanted to do. Play with my new baby. Dress him up in cute clothes and take him to the mall. Take some naps. Sleep late. Clean out the junk drawers. Organize my closet. Paint some furniture. I imagined glorious days at home, with a clean smellin’ house, a smiley baby, and dinner on the table every night.

Haha. Haha. HAHA.

I prayed and saw three problems right away. First, I had no idea the sheer amount of work it took to care for a baby. I completely underestimated it. In my defense, I’ve never been around little babies that much, so I had no reference point. But at any rate, I thought babies just layed around, slept, and smiled all day. Haha. I literally just laughed as I typed that last sentence. The second problem was that I had placed expectations on my maternity leave. I had 4 months off from work and I, never having 4 months off before, thought I could tackle a lot on my to-do list. Of course I would spend most of my time with my baby, but all he would do was sleep and smile alot, right? Haha, again. And the third problem was that I didn’t get into a routine. I know it’s tough to get into a routine with a new baby, but anything was better than nothing.

After that, I threw all of my maternity leave expectations out the window. And most importantly, for me, I got on a routine. I’m a routine-oriented person, so not having a schedule was killing me. I started getting up about an hour earlier than PB woke up, so I could eat, and have a little ‘me’ time. I changed my pajamas right away, washed my face, and even put on a little mascara. It made a world of difference. I worked on getting a couple of nap times set for PB and during those, I was able to do some cleaning and even work on that to do list (which never shrank, by the way ๐Ÿ˜‰ Not every day was dreamy, and some days I didn’t have a spare minute, but we were much better off than before.

So coming in to these few weeks at home with PB, I was afraid it would be reminiscent of those first few weeks at home. But I learned a couple of big lessons during my maternity leave that have helped to better prepare me for these weeks as a stay at home mom. I learned first and foremost that this time will pass quickly (those 4 months flew by) and I want to spend all of the quality time with him that I can.

Secondly, I learned that it is so important to carve just aย little me time in to each day. I think it’s kinda necessary for my sanity. So, just like during maternity leave, I get up every morning when Ben gets up for work, and I have my time. I get ready for the day (just like if I were going to my job), and then I do whatever I want for 45 minutes or so. Usually, I clean. It’s blissful.

I also learned that it’s important to have a little bit of a routine and some structure to our day. Though it doesn’t always work out, I try to have PB’s nap time at the same time every day, and then we try to eat and have snack at the same times, too. We try to read a little and play new games as often as we can. And if the weather’s good, I try to take him outside every day.

So today is Thursday, and I’m thankful. Today, I’m thankful for my maternity leave. My coveted maternity leave. The maternity leave that I thoughtย was going to be 4 months off from work to do whatever the heck I wanted. The maternity leave that ended up showing me how to balance life at home with my boy. And the maternity leave that showed me how to be so appreciative of every day that I am blessed to spend at home with PB. Every day at home isn’t a walk in the park. Most days are hectic, and my house is dirtier now than when I worked. And lots of times, he skips naps, and I don’t have a free second all day. But, I’m still so thankful for this time I’m blessed to be spending here with him. I know it will fly by.

P.S. I’ve brushed my teeth today, AND put on mascara. It’s a good day, y’all!

Have a blessed Thursday ๐Ÿ™‚

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12 thoughts on “thankful thursday: maternity leave

  1. tell me it isnt insanity being home with him? hahaha, i LOOOOVE being a stay at home mommy, but when you're working and you're on you time for 6-8 hours a day, coming home and playing till bedtime is something to look forward to!!! i never have a moment to myself unless the girls are napping(like now) and what am i doing? on blogger. tsk tsk. glad you're enjoying your time at home:) yay for mascara!

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  2. What a beautifully honest post! You're so blessed to have this opportunity to stay home with your boy, because not everyone even has a choice. I really want to be a SAHM, but I'll be honest, on days when I'm really hating my job, I wish I had a kid so I could not go to work. It sounds crazy, because like you said, you'll never work harder than when you have kids. Why do we delude ourselves? ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. Love this! So honest. I am still at the point where I would love more of a routine, so you're gonna have to answer some questions for me! 1. Do you shower in the morning or at night? 2. How old was PB when he started taking “regular” naps that you “scheduled”? 3. Do you ever have the urge to keep the tv or computer on all day? I don't have any friends or family close by, so I find myself being sucked in to those things since I can't really have conversation with a baby. Any advice on that issue?

    Thanks!

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  4. This post made me giggle. I was pulled from work two months before Chasten was born because Alltel made my blood pressure sky rocket (but it was perfect when I wasn't there). So I had two months of “me” time. I cleaned and baked and knitted and thought “how wonderful, I'll be able to do all of this when Chasten comes too.” Hahaha. I think that's something 1st time Moms just have to learn…and I HAD always been around small children. I'm glad you're home with Mr PB, even for a little while. I love staying home with Chasten. It's definitely the busiest and most challenging “job” I've ever had, but it's also the most rewarding (I mean, what beats getting paid in hugs, kisses, and snuggles?). I like schedules too, but with a 15 -month-old I have found it is impossible to expect your schedule to stay the same each day. Don't feel bad…there are some days that I still don't get to have my shower until Mike gets home (luckily he works 3am-2pm). It's all part of the process I suppose…but don't you just LOVE it? ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. Jenna, I usually shower at night, and then just wash my face and stuff in the morning. The regular scheduled naps started around 4 months, right before I went back to work. And then we had to work on it again when I started staying at home. Sometimes its tough to get him to nap, and honestly, some days he won't sleep longer than 1 hour. I actually do keep the tv on all day, to have some noise. I don't keep it on cartoons though, and we usually on 'watch' cartoons in the morning while we drink milk, and then in the afternoon for a little bit. So actual tv watch time is only about 30 minutes. Usually he's oblivious to the tv anyway. There's no one home during the day with me either. During any spare time I get, I'm usually cleaning or picking up, or doing a little crafting. So there's not much conversation, but I'm not vegging out in front of the tv or computer all day.

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