Google, wine, Snapchat filters – here's what you can expect from the next 12 months
Congratulations, you made it! After months of waddling around the office and taking an almost unnatural amount of loo breaks, you’re leaving work behind and heading off on maternity leave. There’s a whole year spread out in front of you, full of new surprises and experiences. And you’re probably already thinking, ‘I’m definitely not going to be that kind of mum.’ Well, as someone about to go on maternity leave for the second time, I’m keeping it a bit more real this time.
Here are ten things you definitely will (and probably won’t) do on maternity leave.
Will… Become a Google doctor
Well, here we are. You’re now responsible for keeping another human being alive. No biggie. So it’s inevitable that you’ll panic and rush to the internet at every sniffle, unusual nappy and weird-sounding cough. This is especially true if it’s your first child. Well, no surprises here, but Google is unlikely to reassure you in any way. If it’s any consolation, babies are quite hard to break, so try not to worry (and don’t do as I did and unwittingly share an online gallery of different baby poos and their meanings on Facebook at 3am).
Will… Scarper from a public place, convinced everyone’s judging your crying baby
Babies cry. It’s just something they do. And when it’s someone else’s, you barely notice it. But when the noise is coming from your own child, it will send you into a frenzy of anxiety. I once got off a bus four stops from home when my daughter was crying, shouting, ‘Sorry everyone.’ In hindsight, I doubt anyone else had even noticed. The sound of my shrill apology was probably way more annoying.
Won’t… Start that lucrative new business
Sorry, it’s just not going to happen. Although babies don’t do very much per se, the days will just sprint away from you, leaving you with a pile of dirty clothes and a dazed expression, wondering when it got dark outside. Ditto writing that novel. Or retraining as a child psychologist. Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you’ve managed to keep everyone in the house alive for the day, you’ve achieved more than enough.
Won’t… Keep the TV off
If ever there was a time for you to sit on the couch and catch up on the best boxsets, this is it. I managed to get through the entire five seasons of Breaking Bad in the first few weeks of my last maternity leave. If my daughter shows an aptitude for chemistry when she starts school, I will proudly take credit. And when they are old enough to enjoy cartoons, you may try to fight it. After a few months of crafting, classical music CDs and baby sensory, you’ll want to stick on CBeebies, just for a moment, just to see what all the fuss is about. Give in. It won’t rot their brains, they’ll be fine.
Won’t… Have a lie-in
Remember those lazy Saturdays when your natural body clock would wake you up when you’d had enough sleep, possibly about 10am? Those days are OVER FOREVER. Note: if by some miracle your baby does let you have a lie-in, don’t under any circumstances tell any of your new mum friends. They will hate you.
Will… Miss work (a bit).
OK, it probably won’t be the actual job itself you miss (unless you’re very lucky to do something you totally love), but when you are in your pyjamas at 1pm with just the washing and a non-verbal human for company, you may well find yourself wondering what the girls at work are doing for lunch, and what clothes and make-up they are doing it in. This is normal. Don’t feel bad.
Will… Go to a baby singing class at your local library
And not only will you get properly into it (the Hokey Cokey can be particularly exhilarating), you’ll convince yourself that your baby loves it too, even though their expression remains blank throughout.
Will… Wonder if it’s OK to take your baby to the pub for a glass of wine on your own
Well, legally you can. And the days *can* feel long. I’ll leave this one up to you. No judgement here.
Won’t… Keep the house clean
Don’t even bother. Don’t even try. The stereotypical housewife? No one wants to be that guy. You may think with all the hours in the day, it’ll be easy to keep everything tidy, look after a baby and still have time to stick a wholesome casserole in the oven. It’s not. Don’t give it another thought. And no one likes casseroles anyway. Go for a nice walk in the park instead.
Will… Check out what your baby looks like with different Snapchat filters
Hours of fun – give it a go. Same goes for Face Swap.