Maternity Leave

I’ve got 9 days of maternity leave left, but I feel like I’m going back to work tomorrow. I’ve had three phases of maternity leave:

(1) OMG THERE IS A NEW SMALL PERSON IN OUR HOUSE PANIC PANIC PANIC DISASTER (weeks 1-2)

(2) I’ve got the hang of this baby (most days, sort of) and I have plenty of time left (weeks 3-6)

(3) I feel like I’m going back to work tomorrow (weeks 7-8)

So here’s my maternity leave roundup.

Awesome things about this maternity leave:
(1) I got to take 8 weeks paid instead of 6 weeks paid or, because this is America, 0 weeks paid. I’m grateful that I’m at a job where I was able to take a leave at all, and also that I got a little bit more than the average. (I could have taken more but it would have been unpaid, and due to bad planning skills I can’t take unpaid leave at this point.)
(2) Zoe is a good eater overall. This has made such a difference. I bought this book early on and while I haven’t been able to follow the schedule completely, it was super useful with tips on how to recognize what the baby really wants and how it’s important to spend time focusing on both on your baby AND on yourself.
(3) The weather has been more or less phenomenal. There was one rainy and cold day early on where I was pretty convinced that I would spiral into depression staying home with the baby by myself, but fortunately the weather changed.
(4) All the people who came to visit, or who let me come to visit them and drink all their coffee and eat all their treats.

Things that were perhaps a bit misguided:
(1) Being so hard on myself about getting back into shape, running again, etc. etc. I realize it takes time. It’s just that it took SO MUCH time last time and I want it to take LESS time this time. It’s already taken less time to get to where I am now (likely because I exercised more during pregnancy, not because I started up again so soon). But it’s not going to take NO time. I don’t feel like I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time actually working out, and I haven’t been dieting (although I could stand to eat fewer brownies). I certainly haven’t done anything to the detriment of the baby or spending time with her. It’s the mental thing that I’m annoyed with and trying to work on.
(2) I probably should have disconnected my work email from my iPhone. I haven’t been stressing about any of the emails I’ve gotten, but it might have been better to log on one day next week and just go through 8 weeks of email. (On the other hand that probably would have taken 4 hours so maybe this way was better.)
(3) Going out of my house on day 3 of Zoe’s life. I should have stayed in bed for a week. (But see #1 above. That was never going to happen.)

Finally, to all of you who have told me that I’m doing an awesome job, they are impressed by everything I’ve done, or anything along those lines – thank you. I ran a 5K on Sunday (6 1/2 weeks postpartum) and I left a happy, healthy baby at home to do it, and I should be more impressed with myself about this.

fancy portrait of self with baby

fancy portrait of self with baby

Soon will be the time to return to work and leave my baby with Well Meaning Strangers Who Can’t Possibly Take Care of Her Like I Can. Commence weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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