Maternity leave is a beautiful thing. You worked your way through a pregnancy under the pressure of a full-time job. You’ve earned 6 to 12 weeks of bonding time with the most important person in your life. Congratulations!
Except, there is a lot of crap to deal with. If becoming a mom wasn’t enough, there is a miniature person depending on you to be the greatest person they’ll ever know. Everybody and their mom (no pun intended) knows it takes a lot to handle a newborn while recovering from childbirth. So why is it that people ask and expect so much from a new mom?
I DON’T GET IT.
I found myself agitated during pregnancy with unwelcome groping (tummy rubbing) and the never-ending onslaught of outdated advice. It’s a bit much on the emotional instability of a modern working pregnant woman. I found myself snapping for the sake of enjoying my maternity leave and that precious newborn phase.
I definitely upset some people during my maternity leave, but here are a few things I will never apologize for:
I can’t believe new moms are accused of this. You. The mom. Accused of “hogging the baby.” Your baby. Um…what?!
Let me make this clear: a mother cannot hog her baby. Her baby belongs with her. And a mother on maternity leave is under no obligation to play pass-the-parcel with her sweet little bundle.
Now I can understand why people are exceptionally eager to cradle a newborn. They get so squirmy, so fast. But don’t stand in my way if I want to hold my new baby. And don’t try to shame me for it. Thanks!
With her return-to-work looming, mom deserves all the baby snuggles she wants, regardless of the company she keeps. Maternity leave was created out of necessity for mom and baby. They need each other. Deal with it.
My mother-in-law pulled some guilt trips barely half-way through my maternity leave. Despite having more “baby time” than everyone else in the family, she cried, “I don’t get her enough.”
I had a mama bear moment and told her (a couple times), “There is no competition for who gets the baby most. I’m her mom. I already won.”
Requiring A Courtesy Call
A new baby is exciting. I know! I have one. But unexpected visitors are generally not desired, and that holds true for new moms.
I shamelessly notified all friends and family that I would need a 10-15 minute warning call if they planned to visit out-of-the-blue. So when a rule breaker shows up at my front door?
My own mother still breaks this rule, and I turn her right around. She’ll pull the “my phone’s dead” card. Ok? Charge it, then we’ll talk. Sorry, not sorry.
This might seem a little hardcore, but hear me out. We have a big (loud) dog. And every visitor gets a stern warning from him. The least you could do is give me a stern warning so I can prevent a potential disaster.
I’m talking baby-screaming, mom-finally-started-napping disaster. Even if the mom and baby duo is awake, she’s probably topless. These visits are awesome, but they are so much better with a warning. Otherwise, you might find yourself walking into mom and dad’s first postpartum nookie. #callfirst
Not Treating My Baby Like A Doll
I know you thought this dress was adorable, but no. Even if you are here under proper circumstances, I will not apologize for refusing to treat my baby as a living doll.
Those 0-3 month-sized outfits are the worst. I’ll say it. You can’t put them on for longer than 20 minutes thanks to either poop-splosions or crappy material. And unless I bought it, I probably don’t think it’s cute.
I had relatives come over to see the baby, then ask me why they weren’t wearing the outfit they bought her. Oh boy. Mind you, I had a summer baby and she was gifted sweater-dresses sized 0-3 months so…
Clothes might be the least helpful gift for a new mom. There are only so many occasions for a baby to wear something cute. And I’d bet that every mom in the Instagram Era already knows what outfits to get and where. Please understand, if I didn’t register for it, I’m probably not expecting to use it during my brief maternity leave/bonding time. That’s my excuse, at least.
From coworkers hating you for taking a “sabbatical” to management expecting you to dive right back into work immediately, those 12 (unpaid) weeks will fly by, and suddenly you go from fragile-new-mom to spread-too-thin working mom overnight. You owe it to yourself to make the most of your maternity leave.