I’m about half way through my second mat leave and so I’ve got to thinking (hooray!!) how different this one is to the last.
I guess I imagined it would be different but didn’t really think just how different. I mean, there’s a chance my spectacles are very slightly rose-tinted, and I’m comparing last time to the (thankfully rare) days this time where my husband isn’t around to be the bloody hero he actually is, but here’s a quick summary of mat leave 1 vs mat leave 2
Mat leave 1: Wake up around 9am and spend a good hour staring at cooing newborn before getting out of bed, putting the baby under the mobile while I shower, get dressed and have my breakfast.
Mat leave 2: Get woken at 6am by toddler needing a wee. Husband tries to go but apparently only Mummy will do this morning. This wakes baby (who is sleeping on Mummy) who is seemingly DELIGHTED that it’s fiiiinaly morning having attempted it to be this way about 10 times through the night. Get toddler dressed, go downstairs, negotiate with toddler over number of cereal types in bowl at one time and order thereof, let him pour the milk himself, mop up spilt milk, mop up tears over spilt milk, get toddler dressed again, get toddler eating breakfast. All while jiggling a baby in one hand because mobile ran out of batteries when toddler was 8 months old and I haven’t yet replaced them because I’ve just about stopped having the tune go round my head. Feed baby while simultaneously playing shop / building really-really-really big train set. Dry shampoo hair and pull on 3 day old jeans and sweatshirt before nursery drop off. Feel simultaneous relief and guilt about toddler being at nursery while I’m at home. In fact, feel constant guilt about everything, particularly towards whichever child I’m not 100% doting on at that very minute.
Mat leave 1: Timetable of twice-daily classes covering baby massage / baby yoga / baby sensory / baby sign / baby gym / baby music / baby dance / baby talk / baby swimming / buggy bootcamp / rhyme time. All of which are pre and post-ceded by leisurely coffee and cake with fellow mum-friends
Mat leave 2: I walked out of rhyme time last week because I got irritated by the man on guitar doing harmonies to Baa Baa Black Sheep and decided I didn’t have 20 spare minutes of my life to waste. Enough said. I could however write a thesis on Holly Willoughby’s outfit choices…
Mat leave 1: Meet mum-friends in cool restaurants with babies on laps, eat nice food and maybe even have a cheeky glass of wine
Mat leave 2: Usually at home / friends’ homes due to being unable to show face in most previously-welcoming establishments because of at least one child-related-meltdown in the past. Still might involve wine
Mat leave 1: Have a snooze, browse the internet or watch a box set with a cuppa
Mat leave 2: Pick up 16,000 cars and trains from every orifice of the house, put on 3 washes, boil the kettle 7 times but never actually get as far as pouring it into a mug
Mat leave 1: Quickly get into a good routine to try to get back pre-baby bod
Mat leave 2: Realise I will never get back pre-baby bod so don’t even bother trying and eat a Twirl for lunch instead
Mat leave 1: Walk everywhere as I’ve suddenly got so much time on my hands and I love how it feels to push my beautiful, immaculate new pram along the pavement
Mat leave 2: Drive everywhere as I’m always late and the pram has lost some of its charm since I put that buggy board on it
Mat leave 1: Actively enjoy the consistent, calming bath / massage / story / feed / song bedtime routine
Mat leave 2: If feeling up to it / smell forces it, attempt joint bath which results in very happy toddler and very unhappy, wet baby. Get both dressed simultaneously while singing song like a person possessed to hold their attention. Attempt to read story to toddler while feeding baby which results in screaming baby as I keep having to move my arm to turn pages, and screaming toddler because I’m not fully-focused on whether or not frogs can sit on logs. Commence a comedy-sketch-worthy shuttle run across the landing and back hushing and shushing, rubbing backs and ultimately bribing toddler with a higher number of breakfast cereals in the morning if they’ll only go the hell to sleep
Mat leave 1: Always know child’s age in weeks, exactly what new developments they should be achieving that week, and which weight, height and head circumference percentile they’re on
Mat leave 2: Talk only in months, judge development by going back to iphone pics of older child at similar age for comparison, judge weight and height by sight and clothes fit
Returning to work…
Mat leave 1: Weep daily at the thought of not getting to spend every waking (and most sleeping) hour with my precious bundle
Mat leave 2: Create a countdown calendar to the day I’ll be able to have a coffee or a wee by myself
I still wouldn’t change it for the world though 🙂