Taking time off from work after you have a baby is a far cry from the vacation many people assume it to be. You're so busy caring for your newborn and recovering from childbirth and adjusting to your new life as a mom and, well, it can be exhausting. The idea that maternity leave is a "vacation," is idiotic at best, hurtful at worst, and something new new mom should be told. The texts women send their work friends during maternity leave tell the real story about taking time off of work to care for a brand new baby.
So, what's maternity leave really like? Well, instead of being a worry-free time in a woman's life, it's honestly a time when a woman feels a myriad of juxtaposing feelings. You're excited for some recovery time and wish that your maternity leave would never end. You're obsessed with your newborn, and convinced that you could spend every day for the rest of your life staring at them. Then the newness of having a baby will fade, and you'll begin to get antsy. Doing the same thing all day, every day, for weeks at a time eventually gets old. While new babies are wonderful, the whole "eat, sleep, poop" life feels a bit redundant once you've got the hang of it, and in those moments, you sort of just want your maternity to end already.
Of course, every maternity leave experience (if a new mom even gets to have one) is different for each woman, so how a woman feels about maternity leave is entirely and unequivocally up to her. Still, there are a few texts new moms on maternity leave send that can be telling, and I definitely send a few. With that in mind, here's what a new mom says (and essentially feels) when she's on maternity leave:
When You're So Obsessed With Your Child That You Vow To Never Leave His Or Her Side
When you're at home with your baby those first few days you're exhausted, sure, but you're also head-over-heels in love with your baby. Those first days make it hard to imagine doing anything other than stare at your baby all day because they're just so damn perfect.
When You're Blindly Optimistic About The Mom Life
When you start to figure out what you're doing and get into a groove, it's easy to question what the big deal is when it comes to taking care of kids. Newborns require around the clock care, but they also sleep a lot, and once you've adjusted to not sleeping at all, the delirium can make you believe that you're suddenly an expert. Oh, what a mistake.
When You're Feeling Like You've Got This Mom Gig Figured Out
When mothering a baby basically requires feeding and changing a baby, while also making sure they don't roll off of the couch, it's easy to feel a little too confident in your skills. That'll change though. Ohhh, how it will change.
When You're Perhaps A Little Too Confident In Your Skills
Karma is coming to get you, my friend.
When You Realize That You're A Rookie
Every mom will inevitably experience a day when she's faced with a challenge. When faced with that challenge, especially in front of the watchful eyes of more seasoned mothers, failure feels a bit shameful. Who better to fish for confidence from than your coworkers who know that you're actually a competent human being?
When Your Baby's Gear Completely Owns You
Seriously though, figuring out how to unfold the stroller for the first time sort of feels like trying to work a Rubix cube, and if you haven't read the instructions (which, let's be honest, you haven't), you're probably going to end up kicking the thing across the parking lot while mumbling profanities. At the very least, your coworkers are entertained by your struggle.
When The Realization That You Haven't Had An Adult Conversation In Weeks Sets In
Eventually, you will start to crave adult interaction. Spending a day with your adorable baby is great and all, but he or she can't exactly hold an intellectual (or any) conversation with you. Keeping up with the office gossip is like getting to binge watch your favorite show on Netflix when you haven't had an adult conversation that wasn't about your baby's bowel movements in weeks.
When You're Over The Newness Of Having A Baby
Eat, sleep, poop, repeat. That's pretty much life with newborns. It's exhausting, yes, but eventually the redundancy might start to drive you crazy, especially if you enjoyed working outside of the home. At that point, you're over the newness and ready to head back to the office.
When You Contemplate Drinking Before Lunch Time Because Your Baby Is Harassing You
When You'd Give Up Alcohol Just To Talk About The News
Being at home 24/7 with an infant can sometimes feel incredibly isolating, but getting out of the house with your baby (especially when you still haven't figured out the stroller) can make you feel vulnerable and awkward. It's around this particular time when you realize that your work friends are a lot more than just work friends.
When You Actually Miss Working
And venting to each other in the break room and catching up in the mornings and getting sangrias after work. Sigh.
When You Miss Your Work Friends So Much That You Put On Your Work Clothes And Sob By Yourself
No, you're crying. It's funny how we sometimes say that we're completely "over" our jobs, or how we complain about our bosses or being so tired of having to work all the time, but when we're on maternity leave we actually miss being a part of a working team.
When You Eat Your Smug Words And Realize That Being A Mom Isn't All Sunshine And Yoga Pants And Rainbows
Remember how confident you were feeling a few weeks ago? Yeah, being a mom isn't so easy, is it? How do you feel about Martha Stewart now?
When You Say Those Words You Never Thought You Would Say
Did you ever think you would actually miss working? Going back to work for the first time after you have a baby sort of feels like the first day of school. You're excited and nervous and anxious all at the same time. There's a good chance that when you finally get to hang out with your coworkers again, you'll unload three months worth of word vomit onto them in less than five minutes, because you've just missed them so damn much. Then, five minutes after that, you'll be staring at pictures of your child, teary-eyed, because you miss your baby. Ah, motherhood.