Another real life, honest to goodness post from me. Do you expect anything else now?
This one is about good ol’ maternity leave. The day has arrived for me! Today was my last day at work before giving birth. I will have three whole work days off before I go in for a c-section Thursday morning and get to meet my sweet baby boy.
People have been asking me if I’m excited for my maternity leave.
Of course I’m excited, I get to meet the final member of our little family. I get to spend time with him and my three year old and get lots of snuggles and not have to worry about meetings and checking my email and making sure i’m off in time to pick the kids up from the sitter. Or having to rush to get ready every morning to make it to the office in time while looking presentable and being prepared for one thing or another.
But this is no freaking cruise to the Caribbean. It’s not even a long weekend visit to Gatlinburg with friends in a chalet. Shit, it’s not even a day trip to the good outlet malls in Simpsonville. It is called maternity LEAVE, not maternity vacation, for a reason.
I wanted to give a few comparisons of what I plan on doing on maternity leave vs. what I get to do on vacation. And no, I am not holding back.
- Showering: When I am on vacation, I take showers daily. Long, luxurious, steaming hot showers. The kind that are relaxing. On maternity leave, I’m happy to get a shower a week to wash the spit up off my body. And when I take that shower, I will be able to hear my newborn crying so I rush and don’t get the chance to wash my hair. Or my three year old will somehow Houdini his way into the bathroom and sit next to the tub asking me why his teddy bear doesn’t wear pajamas to bed or if the dog will ever talk.
- Sleep: Vacation is a time to relax and take naps and be lazy. There is no sleep on maternity leave. I know, I should sleep when the baby sleeps, but should I also do laundry when the baby does laundry? I know, let someone else do the laundry. But when you are six loads deep and no one in the house has any clean clothes, you have to give in and do a load or two.
- Drinking: Ahhh, what is better than an ice cold beer on the beach? That’s how I spend my vacations. Or sipping fruity drinks from a straw poolside. Not on maternity leave! I do get to drink, but it’s normally on the couch with a newborn in my lap. And most of the time i’ll be crying instead of relaxing because I’m exhausted, covered in spit up and haven’t had a meaningful conversation with an adult in weeks.
- Dressing Up: I love getting dressed in a cute sundress on vacation and going to dinner with my husband. Eating fresh seafood and listening to live music beach side is the best. On maternity leave you wear the same clothes for days. Over sized sweatpants and t-shirts that are crusty with who knows what by the time you change them. And bras are completely out of the question. They only come on if a delivery guy is about to drop off your Jimmy John’s and you don’t want to scare the crap of him. He will still probably be taken aback by your disheveled appearance and the fact you don’t know there is poop on your shirt.
- Money: This one is a kicker. On vacation, you get paid. That’s what vacation days are for. So you can relax and not worry. Maternity leave is not paid, at least in full. I get it, if you aren’t working, you shouldn’t get paid. But it can really cause some stressful times and sleepless nights spent worrying. I’ll be crunching the family budget to make sure we can make ends meet a time or four. And I’ll definitely be going back to work sooner than I would like because we can’t live on just my husband’s salary for too long. But that is life, and I will make it work.
Maternity leave is no joke. I personally believe it is much harder than going to work every day. I honestly don’t know how stay at home or work from home moms do it. I would be one big hot anxious mess.
So just remember, the next time a woman tells you she is going on maternity leave, give her a hug and keep her in your prayers. And give her a bottle of wine because that never hurts.
Until Next Time,