No, You Don’t Need to Do it All on Maternity Leave!
As a first time mum, I felt so much pressure to be out and about, doing things. Keeping busy, joining every baby group under the sun. Second time around I don’t feel that pressure at all. And if you’re a first time mum and feeling like you “should” be doing it all, then let me share a few of my truths. Heading out and about, all day long isn’t all it’s cracked up to be! Don’t get me wrong, getting out definitely helps with maternity leave loneliness. But pushing yourself to do too much can backfire, leaving you feeling frustrated, fed up and frazzled.
Baby Massage – Baby Puke
As a first time mum, everyone told me how wonderful baby massage was. And I don’t doubt there are positives and pros. In fact one of my favourite massage moves was the tummy massage and cycling legs. However, and here me out here, that was it. I really didn’t enjoy baby massage classes at all. And here’s why. We’d rock up at ten am, B would be sound asleep in his car seat and I’d reluctantly remove him, strip him of his clothes and lie him half naked on a cold gym mat. No wonder the poor babe screamed his head off. He was pissed! And rightly so. I’d then try to calm him down with a little feed. And, well, a full stomach of milk and a massage is never a good combo. Puke-o-rama. So there, learn a few tummy massage moves, cycle those legs and be done.
Stay and Play
I used to go to a LOT of stay and plays, run by the local children’s centre. And don’t get me wrong, they are great for getting out, meeting other mums and having a natter. BUT, don’t feel you HAVE to go each week. The thing I found with B was that his naps would change, weaning would mix things up, and before I knew it, those 10am starts became a bit of a ball ache. Again, they’d clash with naps, or later on, mean I’d need to plan a meal out. Make life easy for yourself, be kind and whatever you do, don’t rush things. If you make stay and play, yay. If not, enjoy some chill time at home.
Costa Catch Ups
Urgh, bloody Costa. I’m not a coffee drinker so I loathe paying two quid for a bottle of sparkling water. Often mum friends would suggest a meet at Costa – after Baby Sensory, after stay and play or whatever. And of course, when making new friends, you want to seem keen. But honestly, I hate Costa. There is NEVER enough room for the pram, and multiple prams if there is a crowd of you. I’d feel the glassy stares burning into the back of our heads from other customers, their quiet cuppa interrupted by a group of mums and babies.
I really enjoyed baby sensory, and I met some of my best mum friends there. However, don’t rush to join. I think I started when B was 12 weeks. He slept through most of the sessions. Wait until little one is sitting up, grabbing toys. They’ll enjoy it more, you’ll enjoy it more.
The one thing I’m doing differently this time around is embracing the downtime. The doing nothing. I’m enjoying TV – documentaries on catch up and whatnot. Stuff I’d never typically have time to watch. And podcasts. I love listening to them when walking with the pram. And most of them are to do with blogging, writing and marketing. So it’s win win. I get to walk, exercise and listen and learn.
Basically, if you’re a first time mum and struggling with too much time on your hands, don’t feel you need to “do it all”. You really don’t. Enjoy being home, enjoy lazy days. And enjoy doing things for free – there are plenty of ideas here: Free things to do on maternity leave.