The truth about my first day of maternity leave

My first day of maternity leave.

My last day, Friday, was uneventful. Everyone was busy. They had a sweet farewell for me on Tuesday – with snacks and prosecco – and Friday felt like this non-event. So strange cleaning out my desk with no one around.

I was excited – ready.

Today would be perfect. James had a doctor appointment in the morning and we’d spend some time together. Then I had a pedicure booked.

But when we tried to leave the house, James melted down into a puddle when I put him into his warm coat instead of the blue coat he’s suddenly become attached to. He screamed and cried and hit me on the head. I sat him on my knee and explained to him that we never hit and he listened quietly before lifting his hand to go for another swipe. I blocked it and accidentally scraped his cheek with my thumb nail which sent him for another round of screaming.


We finally walked outside into the cold morning to see Daddy off to work. “Let’s go to the playground,” I said.

“Yes. Playground,” he repeated.

I packed him and all his things into the car and we drove to playground and as I opened the door to get him out he said: “No playground.” And pushed away my hand as I tried to get him out.

At the doctor, he flattened himself out on the floor like a starfish—screaming—when the nurse tried to weigh and measure him.

Forget about finishing the morning together: I couldn’t wait to drop him off.

Of course as I pulled away, I felt horrible, relishing the silence in the car.

What if I just can’t be around my kid all day? What if I can’t handle him? What if I actually don’t like him that much? (Sometimes the voices in our heads can be really mean you guys!)

I came back home and stuffed my sandals in my purse for the pedicure. Should bring my book? Why no! That was trashy magazine time. I scooped up about five issues of People and settled in. Turns out People magazine makes you feel bad about everything in life.

What made me think I deserved this day – to be off work at a mere 37 weeks? Yes, my midwife had recommended it, but I was fine physically, if you don’t count not being able to walk for more than 15 minutes without slowing down my pace to that of an 85 year old, thanks to the insane pressure on my pelvis and bladder. Sure I was checked out at work but I could show up and do things for another week or two.

You’re a big bellied self indulgent piece of shit. I leaned back into the pillows and closed my eyes and tried to focus on very nice Thai basil sea salt foot rubbings.

The sun is shining through the window now – and I am trying to get grounded here.

When I am a sleep deprived, hair-in-all-directions mother of two who hasn’t brushed her teeth in three days, what would I have wanted to do with this time?

  1. Set some goals while you have any headspace. Not crazy ones. Small ones.
  2. Write.
  3. Try not to judge yourself too much.
  4. Spend a day all to yourself being as totally lazy or as active as you like—just don’t spend it online (and stay off Facebook always and forever).
  5. Make time for your husband and your marriage.
  6. Take lots of long, indulgent showers.
  7. Be patient with James. Something big is coming for him too.
  8. Listen closely to and enjoy the silence.

So I’m going to go take a shower now. Tidy the house. And go get my little guy.

One thought on “The truth about my first day of maternity leave

  1. The realities of life as a Mom. You are a great one! Never ever sell yourself short on that one. But there are those days.

    Jim Hornig


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