Maternity Leave Is The Closest I'll Ever Get To Being A Real Housewife.
The perks (outside the baby of course), are real.
If you can drive, you can feed. Am I Right? Image: Brit + Co
Sizzler. Renaissance artists. Maternity Leave. In other words, things you didn’t know how good they were until they were gone. Sure, with the latter, having your Crotch Princess torn apart like a pre-game AFL banner is high-level hell, the subsequent activity of keeping said Crotch Princess Destroyer alive is no holiday in Bali. And yes, the Destroyer will consume 120% of all energy and future conversations, but because of this all-consuming new entrant to your world, I think sometimes we forget that we’re also part of this wild ride and there are some parts of maternity leave that are really just about you - and are pretty bloody enjoyable.
So, with mine all but a distant memory, here are a few things I will fondly miss of my full-time child raising secondment that were definitely caused by the child (but were really about me):
1. Adjusting to ‘not using your brain’ takes approximately three days.
“Oh, I just need to be busy,” “I need to use my brain,” “I don’t know how I’ll deal with all the downtime.” Those were things pre-baby me said, but three days into maternity leave and, ‘‘Bai bitch!’ I could sloth on the couch and be fed grapes by my servants all day (with a baby latched to my titty). Who cares if my vocabulary has diminished to approximately 25 words and I no longer know my three times tables? For 10 months, I had not a single zoom call, not a single cup of tea from a dirty office mug and I smelt no one else’s tuna at lunchtime. Would I rather smell a shitty nappy than tuna at lunchtime? Yes. Yes I would. Not having a muggle job is a vibe. You’re basically a lady of leisure! (Basically, sort of, depends on the day and if the kid is in a leap). About 90% of my leisure time (breastfeeding for 38 hours a day) I was trying to brainstorm ways I could achieve a high-level income while staying home with the bebe. As you may imagine, I’m still on ground zero.
2. You do nothing, but have no time to do anything.
My boyfriend would come home and be like, “What have you done today?” And I’d be like, “I have no idea. I certainly haven’t eaten or showered, but I definitely didn’t have time to do the laundry.” I guess I cared for a baby, but as far as notches on the belt, lines on the resume, nada. I did not learn a language or start a side hustle (well, besides this…*back pats all round*). Shit, I didn’t even get through a whole season of The OC, which I had big plans to rewatch for the 100th time. I have nothing to show for my 10 months of mat leave except approximately 23,234 photos of my child.
3. Doing one thing takes up your whole day.
Trying to organise catch-ups is tough when you’re busy doing nothing (again, except keeping a child alive). “Can’t do brunch Monday, it’s the first day I can go for a walk post caesar. Tuesday, won’t work, we’ve got a nurse appointment. Wednesday, I can squeeze you in between watching the midday movie and baking breastfeeding cookies.”
4. Wine at all hours is acceptable.
Don’t kid yourself, maternity leave is not all weekday brunches and pilates. In fact, it’s like, 2.4% that. You are not a Real Housewife. You’re keeping the hours of a long-haul truck driver, you haven’t washed your hair in two weeks and your house looks like it hasn’t had a vacuum since 1983. Your baby doesn’t care if it’s night or day, so neither do you. You may drink wine at 9 am because hey, you deserve it, ney, you need it. (Obv just don’t wine and boob).
5. Take as much time as you can.
Remember that time that person said they regretted how long they spent on maternity leave? No, you don’t, because that’s literally happened never. Being with your small child is the best and wearing non-elastic waistbands and going to work is not. Like, it’s a pretty clear-cut choice.
Like all good things in life, maternity leave is over before you know it, so take videos, drink wine, and appreciate being able to control your own air conditioning.