Back in March, I remember sitting in the dark of B’s room during one of our many late night rendezvous, counting how many months I had left of my maternity leave. Five. Well, five and a little bit. How was it even possible that I had a six month old already? And what could I do to make those next five months really count? I sat for a moment to peacefully contemplate all the possibilities that lay before me. Just kidding. I had a mini panic attack.
Fast forward to today. I have just under one month left, and I’m sitting in bewilderment of the four months that disappeared along with the ten seasons of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I enjoyed in the company of my newborn babe and my BFF, Netflix. While I know that my knowledge of Joey Tribbiani’s extensive acting career and Ross’s failed marriages may come in handy at a trivia night I hope to one day locate and attend, I think it’s time to get serious about really making the most of these last few weeks at home with baby B, and have compiled a list.
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR DWINDLING MATERNITY LEAVE IN 7 EASY STEPS
1. Think about all of the things you could have done during this time and start kicking yourself. Why did you wait until you had only 26 days left to start a blog? Why didn’t you take swimming lessons or baby yoga or mom and baby bootcamp or baby pre-preschool prep classes? Why didn’t you start arranging your baby’s meals on his plate in cool artistic designs or making mason jar salads or host fancy dinner parties or learn how to sew? These things probably would have been very enjoyable/helpful and now it’s too late.
2. Play different scenarios of your baby’s first day at the day home over in your head, imagining all of the different ugly cry faces you will probably (jk definitely) make as you walk out the door and head off to work.
3. Dream of all of the different stay-at-home-mom jobs or get-rich quick schemes that might enable you to stay at home, and realize that you would probably hate them or be horrible at them or else they just straight up don’t exist.
4. Try to get your partner to sympathize with you about how much it sucks because sometimes others’ pity feels nice.
5. Lay on the ground and contemplate the passing of time and let your mind wander into fun places like, “What will my child be like as a teenager? Will he laugh at any of my jokes? What will he be doing at 10:08 PM when his curfew was 10? Is a 7:00 curfew appropriate for a 16 year old? Will anyone visit me at the retirement home? What should I make for dinner tomorrow? Remember that time when you did that thing to that person? They probably still feel bad about it and so should you.” This is also a great game to play in the wee hours of the night!
6. Recognize the fact that even if you do get to have another maternity leave, it won’t be the same as this one was because your baby won’t be a baby anymore, but rather a very mobile little tornado-child, and those quiet moments that the two of you shared on your first maternity leave will likely not exist for the second one.
7. Take a breath and realize that you actually did do a lot of amazing things with the time that you had. You brought a tiny, beautiful human home from the hospital for the very first time and loved him with all of your being as you watched him learn how to crawl and wave and babble and laugh. You might not have enrolled in actual lessons, but you DID take him to the pool and the park and the library and his grandparents’ and even on an airplane (or 3). You picked up a paintbrush and a camera and started typing things on a keyboard, and had fun doing all of these things. You did maternity leave the best way you could each and every day and don’t have to apologize for the naps or the days that you never left the house or got out of your pyjamas. Over these last 11 months, you’ve been there to help a person grow and thrive and become something truly amazing, and you’ll continue to do that whether you’re on maternity leave or not. Actually, come to think of it, maybe it was two people.