Breastfeed, change diaper, pee, scarf food, about to take a nap and it’s time to breastfeed again. Repeat umpteen times and that pretty much sums up most of my maternity leave. Taking a shower was worthy of a Facebook status. Well momma it DOES get better! Once you are out of the first month haze there really is time to enjoy some quality time with your baby out in the real world.
Long after the casseroles stop arriving at your door and the comfort of your husbands paternity leave has worn off, you gotta figure out this mom-thing alone. I still remember my first time out of the house with my first daughter going to a breast feeding support group. I didn’t’ know what to put into the diaper bag, the stroller folded up as tight as a futon bed and I drove granny-slow as I kept looking back at my precious cargo to see if she was still breathing.
There is a lot to do (and not do) on maternity leave. While I usually focus on the practical, not-so-fun stuff about returning to work after maternity leave in this blog, now it’s time for a little fun! Play is part of my goals, after all. Once you are able to leave the house without a diaper blow out, leaky boob and a shirt bedazzled with spit up, check out these ways to have fun on maternity leave!
Savor the moments! There is nothing more wonderful than baby bonding…when baby is gently napping on you of course. We won’t mention the times where he’s crying uncontrollably followed by a projectile poop.
- Got those pics off your phone and right into the Shutterfly or Google Photo. You can share a folder with all the grandparents and friends or create a beautiful photobook keepsake:
- When you send the adorable photos use the EmojiMom keyboard to add extra cuteness.
- Just simply drink in the smell of baby and wonder in mommy amazement at each little coo. Then nap!
Out of the house fun. With all the sleepless nights, my house became like that annoying drunk at the end of the party who just wouldn’t go away.
- Play dates: I wish I had the MomCo app 5 years ago when I felt so isolated and starving for some mom friends to hang with. It’s cool because you can search for moms in your area, make or find playdates and search for businesses in your neck of the woods. I just started using it as a mom to find mamas around for playdates with my preschooler + toddler. I was also chatting on the forum about how to rock a slow cooker. Check it out on your Apple and Android. Hallelujah!
- UPDATE: The Peanut App is another go to for finding mom friends. The matches you with Mom’s in your areas and you can decide who to connect with!
- Mommy and Me classes
- I suggest checking our your local library for free story time!
- Also, Groupon often has class passes you can snag for cheap!
- Stroller walks or with your favorite audiobook or music in your ear. Or better yet, take a Stroller Strides class and workout without having to find a babysitter!
- Discover a new park, lake, coffee shop, farmers market, etc. Getting to the corner is an accomplishment some days. I’m proud of you!
Find time to recharge at home. In the age when actually taking a shower is a major accomplishment I know fully well that you are like “mama, pa-lease” when I say take time for yourself! But there are ways to recharge and they don’t take much time. So between coffee cups, here we go:
- 3 deep breaths will save you especially when you can’t take ONE MORE crying fit
- Tweeze, polish, or woman-scape (oh geez, TMI?!)
- Stretch it out, especially your back. Hunched over that baby all day can wig out your upper back.
- Meditate, mindfully eat, and above all…sleep!
Learn something new that will come in handy. Fight the boredom and repetition of breastfeeding/pumping by learning something useful, from the comforts of your kitchen. If the kitchen doesn’t feel very comfortable, have no fear. Commit to learning one new thing at a time. Try it out and it’s ok if you fail. (I fail all the time. Our moms failed at cooking too, they just don’t remember that far back.) Here are few that I wish I would have learned a lot earlier in my working motherhood:
- Freezing pretty much everything or anything save so much time. Chop up an entire onion, use half, freeze half for the next soup or stir-fry.
- Crockpot like a pro. Some fave recipes here.
- Practice one pot meals. Have your partner buy the food on the way home and find time over the next day or two to try it out. You can (and should) make dinner at 2pm.
Mamas gotta let loose (between 7:05 – 8:35pm) You gotta stay connected to your friends and even go out for a girls night. Timed out perfectly between feedings of course, you can fill up your soul with some girlfriend time. The old paradigm that we need to sacrifice our life for your kids is not serving us. We need to model for our kids how to be a balanced woman/wife/mother/citizen of the world without first doing it.
Sister, you must do this for your well-being and a little pump-and-dump never hurt anyone.
Remember to get your plan together! Six years ago before I became a Working Mom Support Coach, I was a HOT MESS! I didn’t prepare myself, my daughter or my boss for my return to work. And that is why I created ThriveMomma to get the info together that I WISH I had. So feel free to sign up for the monthly newsletter (I had a lot of emails in my in-box too) and I’ll send you a guide that has all your checklists. You can also pin this Pump Bag Checklist too! And my heart and soul is my eBook that covers what to do when you return but also how to feel emotionally supported.
[Some of these links are affiliate links which means by clicking them you subsidize my shopping habits]
Love you mama! Be sure to leave a comment below with what you will do tomorrow to have fun on your maternity leave.
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