During maternity leave I lived in the newborn bubble, leaving only to do what was necessary. This period of managing the bare minimum was a bit of a shock to my system, since I grew up with the habits of a functioning member of society; doing things like leaving my house more than once or twice a week, showering, and staying in touch with other human beings. Switching up these habits taught me that there are things you only get away with on maternity leave.
Other moms may take a different approach, but willingly deserting those routines I had become so accustomed to was nothing short of refreshing, necessary, and slightly unnerving. I can't think of any other two (more or less) month period that contains so much emotion, so much crying, so much cuteness, and so much poop. Not to mention the undeniable fact that there’s an intense period of healing required, too (at least, there was for me).
There can be a steep learning curve to baby care, yes, but there’s also so many feelings and transitions and changes to process that seemed to fill my leave to the brim, even though from the outside I was mostly hanging out with my baby and with my partner (who was on summer break). Here’s a sampling of things I did then that I probably wouldn’t get away with under most circumstances:
Ignoring Everything Else In The World
And, yes, I do mean the “world.” The 2014 World Cup was happened right smack in the middle of my leave and I remained delightfully oblivious. In fact, I’m sure countless other important things happened too, but people bring them up while making small talk and I still have no idea.
Taking Forever To Respond To Anyone
To be fair, I know that there are jobs out there that perhaps don’t require timely communication, but they’re a far cry from most places I’ve worked. While the people at my own job were great at keeping me out of the loop during my leave, I still had to take a lackadaisical approach to friends and family. (By the way, family, have I told you lately that I love you guys? Thanks for not disowning me).
Losing Complete Track Of The Day And Time
It was like being a tween on summer break all over again, except this time it’s not movies and candy and lip gloss requiring my attention; it’s an infant with many, many needs.
Letting Your Work Clothes Gather Dust
It’s partly because you don’t need a nice pair of pants or a button-up shirt to change a diaper. It’s also partly because they don’t fit. Whatever the reason, they've been banished to the back of your close and that's perfectly acceptable.
Either Totally Avoiding Your Office Completely…
Of course, this one appears obvious, but when you think about it it's a pretty unique situation. Like, we have this job that we’re pretty much ignoring for weeks (or months, if you're lucky) on end? I can think of very few other scenarios where this would be OK, and even fewer that don’t involve signing up for a reality TV show competition.
...Or Only Popping By When You Feel Like It
And by "popping by," I mean "spending all morning trying to get ready like a functioning adult and also packing up the baby, which always takes at least 75% longer than expected."
Sleeping Through Your Normal Work Hours
I mean, it sounds luxurious but it’s not exactly sleeping in. It’s because I was up at some ungodly hour in the morning, nursing and watching the freaking sunrise. I am not going to feel guilty about going back to bed to grab twenty more minutes of sleep.
Communicating During Absurd Hours And Knowing No One Will Reply For At Least Half A Day
Just a tip: if anyone close to you is on maternity leave, maybe keep your phone on silent at night. Unless, of course, you want to be awakened by Justin Bieber gossip in the middle of the night because what else are we supposed to do to keep ourselves awake for that third night feeding?