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The mat leave blues

15 Dec

I love Christmas but this year it comes with a sprinkling of sadness. I know that once we’re into the new year it will be a slippery slope towards resuming life as a commuter and office monkey. When I started my maternity leave last February, the year ahead stretched itself out so long and gloriously that going back to work seemed too far away to be real.

Where have the last few months gone? How did a chubby, flailing bundle become a sparky 8-month-old who can go like billy-o if there’s a wire or plug to be had? If I ask myself what I’ve done since February I CAN’T REMEMBER. I must’ve done something to fill the days. I didn’t have lie-ins, ‘sleep when baby slept’, or watch more than a couple of episodes of Diagnosis Murder. (Oh Dick van D, you no longer remind me of chimneys but instead invoke the aroma of cheese on toast and the heady days of maternity leave.) I suspect 99.9% of my time was spent doing the following:

  • Being pinned to the sofa by a ravenous breastfeeding baby and then being too scared to move once he’d fallen asleep (at the same time as burning the batteries on my phone checking Facebook and email or tweeting – and never quite managing to reach for that pile of books I could’ve been working my way through).
  • Talking about babies with other parents, including good old percentile competition. (He’s on the 99th percentile don’t you know?)
  • Eyeing up other mums at baby groups and classes and generally feeling inadequate.
  • Eating cake.
  • Eating biscuits.
  • Retaining my baby fat (see two points above).
  • Trying to come up with a Dragons’ Den idea that’ll make my fortune before I’m due back at work.

I’ve performed magnificently in most of these areas. The last point is the only one I’ve been tremendously unsuccessful at. Sigh.

To be honest, I am finding it really hard to come to terms with this special time drawing to a close. I’m not planning a third child (Mr C&P has other ideas) so I’ve wanted to treasure every moment of these past few months. And this is where I feel I’ve failed. I could have spent less time being peeved about the lack of sleep, or worrying about what wasn’t getting done whilst I was in the midst of a mammoth two-hour feeding session, or panicking that other mothers were doing so much more with their babies. In reality I’m not sure I could have done it differently, after all those first few months are all about survival. I’ve decided not to beat myself up about yet something else but instead give myself a swift kick up the arse, treasure all the bits I can remember through the hormone-filled haze and look forward to all that is to come.

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