What to do when you only have one month of maternity leave left
I am feeling sorry for myself. I only have one month of maternity leave left. It seems impossible that eight months has passed. I am sure time just accelerates when you become a parent. There were things that I thought I would do such as decluttering the house … which I’ve not got to. Craft projects that are still very much in my head and big blog and business plans which are still not where I hoped they would be. Saying all that I want to make the most of my last month away from the corporate game. I also want to utilise the time so that my return is as smooth as possible … so here’s my list!
1. Start nursery or childcare – well obviously but we have three settle sessions and four full days booked in before I actually start work. Kipper is a mummy’s boy and will likely struggle so it’s best to bite the bullet and do it. Despite wanting to ignore the fact that it’s coming and put it off for as long as possible. I am confident in my childcare choices as they are the same we had with Monkey. If you are not then do what you can to rectify that before you go back to work. Even if that means finding a new provider. We changed with Monkey twice before we settled and it was a stressful upheaval both times.
2. Milk – we are lucky as Kipper will take a bottle but there’s many a baby out there who won’t. Once back at work my plan is to try and keep the morning feed (around 6am) and evening feed (around 7pm) going. Although sometimes that won’t be possible with my working hours. The rest of the time he needs to have formula. It’s so convenient to stick him on the boob during the day but before he goes to childcare I am going to need to get those bottle feeds sorted. It will be less of an upheaval for him and I am hoping will make the transition easier for me with significantly less sore boobs!
3. Bed and routine – I’ve been pretty lazy on this, he’s still in our room. Partly because it’s so much easier to feed him back to sleep. And partly because I also enjoy having those morning baby cuddles. The nursery is ready, the new mattress brought, all I need to do is physically move him. The same with nap times he falls asleep anywhere but never in his cot. I tried for the first time today to put him down to sleep in his cot for his nap, rather than cuddling him or boob feeding him. It was not the success I had hoped it would be. He did drop off after fifteen minutes of controlled crying, but then only slept for twenty minutes. However it is a start and hopefully it will improve each day! At least I have a month to crack it.
4. Projects – I need to prioritise which projects are most important to me. I need to finish various craft projects but there’s no way I am going to get them all done. I was in exactly the same position with Monkey and felt frustrated when I went back because I had an emotional commitment to getting them finished as many were DIY toys. I want to avoid that this time round so I am limiting myself to a couple of things only.
5. Time for me – initially when I go back to work I will want to spend my non work time with the boys. So before I go back I will be having a couple of pampering sessions and a couple of girly get togethers.
6. Plan things to look forward to – weekends away, our Summer holiday and day trips. We are having an NCT party for Kipper and the other babies, Kippers cake smash is all booked in. I’ve already started to think about Monkeys birthday too. I’ve also made some alterations to activities I do with the boys such as swimming. To give us as much time as possible at the weekends, moving things from the middle of the day to the mornings. And where possible that the activities for both happen at the same time.
7. Get school holiday cover – I think we are covered for half term and Easter but I want to do some research into Summer clubs and get Monkey on the list for them. It will be the first year we need to have cover for him so I want to make sure we choose things he will enjoy and I am happy with.
8. Sort out home management – there’s things I want to get organised so my life’s easier such as planning a week of meals in advance and ordering food via click and collect. Obvious really but since we both will picking up a child in the evenings it’s going to make dashing to the shops harder. I may even try out the slow cooker in perpetration !! I am creating a home hub with a planner and a place for actionable paperwork, tickets invited etc. So we shouldn’t be scrambling around for homework deadlines etc.
9. Plans for my day off – as Kipper gets older I want to have a bucket list of activities inside and outside that we can participate in. Pinterest will suddenly become my best friend again, although I will be looking for easily replicable tasks!
10. Have lots of cuddles… yes it’s hard leaving the baby. He’s likely to be my last one, so I can’t tell myself it will be okay I’ll be off again with them again soon. So I need to stock up on those baby cuddles now. Don’t get pulled into doing lots of favours for people focus on your time with your baby. Time is a commodity you now don’t have a lot of, use it the way you want to and not the way others want you to!
Going back to work from maternity leave can feel like a ticking time bomb. I definitely felt this way on the run up to my return first time round. However saying that I did find that I actually had more time during my day. Working mums are the most efficient people I know. It’s amazing what they can squeeze into a 24 hour period espically when they get a little head space, the chance to have a hot coffee and pee break alone. I am looking forward to using my brain again and getting my teeth stuck into the job I know and love. I am also looking forward to planning the adventures I am going to have with my boys (all three of them). Just remember when one door shuts another one opens – JUMP.