Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Maternity Leave Thoughts

I've slacked off a bit on the 31 Days of Baby, though I managed to do 6 out of 7 days last week before taking a three day hiatus:
1. 8 Months (1 to Go)
2. Breastfeeding, Take Two
3. the Cherry Blossom Tree Mural I painted in Claire's room
4. Baby Shower themes
5. Baby's Eating and Sleeping (an approximate point of reference)
6. Packing the Hospital Bag (thanks for the great additional suggestions!)

I've officially hit the 37 week mark, so theoretically (while every day in utero is helpful for development) Claire could be born now without much concern. This could be known as the "any day now" phase, but since I cried wolf throughout January 2009 only to have Kate be born five days late, on the 28th, I am not saying "any day now" this time around. It got really awkward last time to keep showing up for work when, every day, I would leave things perfectly prepared and passed off in case I didn't return the next day. But I was determined to work right up until going into labor because I didn't want to "waste" a single day of maternity leave. Turned out, I sort of had one day to rest just as a fluke because it was icy on Tuesday the 27th and my boss told me to stay home if the roads were sketchy, so that I wouldn't have to drive an hour back to Clarksville in bad conditions if I went into labor. I had mild contractions all that day and went into labor "for real" that night.

This time, I've planned my official last day at work to be Oct. 21 (a week from this Friday!) so that, assuming Claire doesn't come too early, I will have a week or so (theoretically longer if I go way overdue) to rest before her arrival. I'm looking forward to having some "me time" to take naps, get a pedicure, stock up on some good library books, enjoy evenings with Kate without being exhausted, etc.

I hope Claire's not too late, because that sense of "wasting" maternity leave time might set in if I have too much time on my hands, but overall, I'm more comfortable with that "waste" this time because I know it's going to be okay when I go back to work. The first time around, I had this sense of a time bomb ticking down, like I would never see Kate again after returning to work. I cried and cried when I came home after my first day back, having just two precious hours between coming home and her bedtime. Matt was worried that this working mom thing wasn't going to work out. After that one breakdown, though, it got better, and we found our groove as two working parents, day care, etc.

I can see the big picture a little better now, and know that some rest will be good for me before Claire arrives. We'll have the whole holiday season at home together (could that timing be more perfect? I'm so excited about it.) and I'll return to work in January with some sadness but also confidence that everything will be okay.

And in the meantime, I can't wait to go Christmas shopping during the day (not fighting the evening and weekend crowds!), have a long Thanksgiving visit in Louisville, enjoy quiet days around the house just me and Claire, have rowdy family evenings when Kate and Daddy get home, and just get used to being a family of four.


Kristen P said...

Good luck with everything! I'm very jealous of this time off you have coming up! you deserve it!

EMU said...

Maternity leave -- one thing I'm jealous about! SAHMs don't get this! :)

The Mauney's said...

I agree that the holiday timing is perfect... I look forward to that, too! Word of advice: don't forget to grocery shop during your "me time." We went for two weeks without food before we finally found an opportunity when I could just take one kiddo with me for a big shopping trip. I'm not sure I'm ready to try to get there with both yet. Good luck! I love reading about your final weeks... it's so exciting when it's somebody else! :)


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