Parenting

How to enjoy maternity leave

February 20, 2018

Maternity leave is one of those amazing times in life, a year of just you and your baby, a year of cuddles, of coffee dates and lunches.

But for lots of us, me included maternity leave wasn’t everything I expected it to be, especially with my first.

I found it much harder than I expected, I was lonely at times, in pain at first, I cried a lot, I didn’t know what to do and without telling anyone I sometimes missed the old carefree life.

I wouldn’t change my two girls for the world, I’ve decided to stay at home with them now so things have got easier, but I would have loved some tips and honesty in the early days to know that I wasn’t alone. So in the spirit of sharing here are my tips to try and help you enjoy your maternity leave…

Make your house yours.

It’s amazing how much time you’ll suddenly spend in your house. I went from rushing in and out to being there 24/7 and I noticed every imperfection and things started annoying me.

If a wall needs painting, get your family to help, if you have a plain wall that you’re always staring at whilst feeding, try and find a print you like.

It sounds silly but enjoying your surroundings does help the way you feel – the way your mind feels. I suppose it’s kind of like having nice things on your desk at work. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune either, I found an amazing mug in Sainsbury’s I loved and do you know what with a baby that didn’t sleep I drank a lot of coffee so there was a lot of enjoyment in that!

Enjoy the cuddles

If it’s your first and you are struggling to get the little one to sleep / they always sleep on you I have one piece of advice. IGNORE THE PEOPLE THAT SAY YOU ARE MAKING A ROD FOR YOUR BACK AND ENJOY IT!

The washing can wait, the dishes can be done later. Those newborn sleepy cuddles really don’t last long and soon you’ll be chasing a toddler around. I also found that second time around I couldn’t have sleepy cuddles with my newborn as I had a toddler to look after. There was a part of me that felt quite sad I had listened to those ‘rod for your own back’ comments with my first, really I should have put my feet up and enjoyed it a little more.

Don’t feel nervous about going out

This sounds weird but hear me out… I spent a lot of time with my first baby saying no to things (coffee’s, driving to peoples houses etc) for fear of her crying, her having a poo explosion, it being difficult and I missed out on a lot.

What I needed to be told then was that everyone else was in the same boat and no one would have cared if she cried.

I wish I had spent more time going to places and making friends.

Ask for help!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask for help or talk to someone. It can be a massive change being in charge of keeping a little person alive so of course it’ll feel hard at times. There’s lots of support out there to help. I found talking to my Mum, nearly every day a lifeline to staying sane at times, I also leaned on my NCT group and a local Facebook group for friendship and advice.

Go to baby groups

Having company and getting out and about is so important, I have to speak to other people or I go a bit mad!

Your local Mummy Facebook group will be the place to find out about local playgroups, baby classes or activities. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune either, there are lots of free groups and do also check to see if you have a Sure Start centre near you as they have been my lifeline recently.

Plan your week

This has been so important for me, especially now with two. I make sure I have a mix of activities, some paid for, some free, to keep us all amused. I feel a bit less lonely if I know I have plans.

Make time for you

When you’re on maternity leave remember to make time for you. Your partner will probably still do things for themselves so why not you. Put aside an hour at the weekend to run, shop, go for a coffee, whatever you enjoy and gives you some needed time. It will really help you feel like you again.

Why not try a home spa? Click here for some ideas of what you could do…

Save some money!

I was a bit silly buying lots of things for the girls when I was on full pay and then suddenly felt the pinch when the pay stopped. So save some for those rainy days so to speak, so you can still treat everyone.

What made your maternity leave easier for you?

Sarah xx

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10 Comments

  • Reply Mrs C February 21, 2018 at 9:12 am

    I’m 7 months into my maternity leave and I can relate with everything you have said. Most of the time I enjoy it and love the little bubble I am in with my baby but sometimes I feel so bored and lonely and find myself watching the clock waiting for my husband to come home from work.

  • Reply mummy here and there February 22, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    I don’t have to worry about this anymore but it is really good advice none the less. I found prior to given birth making sure I did batch cooking and freezing, I am so glad I did do it as I was exhausted after X #ThursdayTeam

  • Reply Sara @ Magical Mama Blog February 22, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    I was horrified about going out. Having to make myself look decent, having to pack up all of the possibilities for the little one! But once I tried it, I adored it! I only had 12 weeks maternity leave and so I tried to soak it up as much as possible!
    Great advice!
    #ThursdayTeam

  • Reply claire | the ladybirds' adventures February 22, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    I’ve had two maternity leaves and don’t plan any more children. I agree with everything you have said. when it comes to baby groups my advice would be if you don’t like one, try a different one. there are so many out there. get out everyday even if just for a walk. #thursdayteam

  • Reply Kate February 22, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    You see this is the sort of education we need. Asking for help is so powerful but so many including myself get in a right old mental health state before they do find the strength to say they are struggling. Every post like this can bring a culture where we tell it like it is and make it easier for our daughters should they choose to have children in the future. #ThursdayTeam

  • Reply Nicola February 23, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    I was really looking forward to maternity leave with my son (my first) but it definitely wasn’t what I expected. I read that I would have loads of visitors and there would be lots of groups to join but in reality nobody came to visit and the groups in my area were very limited. We really struggled for money so when friends arranged to go out for lunches I had to decline because we simply couldn’t afford it. When I had my second (6 years later) life was very different. We lived in a new area with a very active local community. One of my best friends had a baby 10 days after me so we had each other for support and financially we were much better off. I had 9 months at home and enjoyed every second!! #ThursdayTeam

  • Reply Nicole - Tales from Mamaville February 26, 2018 at 11:54 pm

    Lovely post and such useful tips – should dole out advice like this when we leave the hospital!!!
    #ThursdayTeam

  • Reply Siobhan | The Baby Boat Diaries February 28, 2018 at 4:49 am

    I’m finding maternity leave harder the second time around for sure! If anything I’m more nervous about going out on my own with the two of them! These are great tips! You are so right about saving money for a rainy day! #blogitvlogit

  • Reply Kirsty February 28, 2018 at 10:01 am

    These are such good tips. I didn’t enjoy it that much first time as I was so worried about going back to work. But second time I did a lot of these things as I was determined to get more out of my time off. #ThursdayTeam

  • Reply Helen - cooking with my kids March 8, 2018 at 10:49 am

    Some great advice. Maternity leave can be really lonely, especially if you’re used to working in a busy office. For me, getting out every day was really important – i’d have gone mad staying at home with no one to talk to. I also used to walk and meet my husband at the station when he came from work which helped me feel like I was still part of the real world. #thursdayteam

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