A Time-Stamped Diary on My Last Day of Maternity Leave
I had such great plans for maternity leave. Although I wasn’t certain how long I wanted to be off for, I had assumed somewhere around the 6-month mark. Actually, to be honest, I had considered going back to work at about 3-4 months post baby. And that’s because the up-to-one year maternity leave that new mothers in the UK are entitled to, seemed a bit strange to me. An entire year at home!
It was definitely a culture shock because coming from Nigeria most people clearly returned to work within three months. And that was the mindset I had. But hey, things change... So after actually having the baby and knowing that I was in the UK where no one would really frown and at a one-year maternity leave the top of my CV, I decided to be open to it.
Moreso, a longer period meant more time to actualise some personal development plans - like complete my swimming lessons and enrol the little one as well; work on the blog and build a solid structure etc.
Well well, let’s just say a good 75% of those days were spent at home bonding with the baby - and my photo gallery spanning the past nine months which holds photos of me in baggy pants, tank tops, unkempt hair and a ton of baby and I selfies is proof of this fact. But hey, no regrets - you don’t exactly get those moments back.
So when I woke and realised it was the last Friday of my maternity leave, I thought to document what my day looked like from wakeup - baby’s bedtime!
So here we go:
I hear J rolling beside me and I know he’s getting set to wake up. But I don't really mind as I got such a great night sleep. Tee handled the previous night routine and so I was literally baby free from 6 pm! I’m determined to maximise the day today. I nurse him a bit to see if he’d go back to bed and then I say a short prayer, check my Bible app for the verse of the day and just chill in bed planning my day.
So he didn’t sleep back and now having a first bottle of the day as usual. He doesn’t finish it, so I place it in the fridge for later.
I’m finally able to get up as J's back in bed. I go to my computer and send a couple of blog-related emails. Also think about blog content and all - quite happy as it’s been a pretty productive morning so far.
Guess whose morning nap is done! Tee wakes up too and has a bath for J while I decide to put in his clothes. Tee goes on to prepare his signature yam and eggs breakfast. J and I are basically playing around while forced to listen to CNN in the background thanks to Dad. They’re analysing Trump’s visit to the UK.
Someone seems to be getting a bit hungry. So he has his leftover milk. He guzzles it up and seems to cry for more - but I know he wouldn’t eat it. But still, I quickly go off to make a little more - and as I predicted he literally pushes the food away.
Yay! Breakfast is ready. We put J in his playpen while we eat. And we change the TV channel to a recorded Disney Junior Lion Guard. I surprisingly find myself enjoying the adventure with Kayla and Kara (although Tee says that these names are sounding less African unlike Simba and Mufasa)
Done eating, and I drink a glass of lemon water. All I really want to do is go back to bed! The itis is real. But I have a full calendar today - it is my last Friday before I resume work after all. So much to check off my list. Tee’s technically on annual leave today but heading to the library to catch up on some work.
I couldn’t resist. I’m back in bed. I’ve just kissed Tee goodbye (well if we’re being technical he pecked me) as he heads to the library. He’s not very pleased that it’s almost midday and he’s just leaving the house. He explains something about working with a clear mind and at the break of dawn. J has his leftover meal too. We’re in bed, I’m nursing him again and he seems to be falling asleep. I’m so thankful as that means I’ll have a nap too! I take a quick scroll on IG to yet more “Ask me anything” - the new feature rolled out by Instagram Story. It’s been fun and I’ve enjoyed seeing some people’s answers. Anyway, now contemplating if I should blissfully nap or take a shower as J sleeps. Tough choice!
I hear J rolling around as he wakes up. I look at the time and that was a long nap we both took - but worth every second. Time to have a shower! I place him in his bouncer chair and he accompanies me into the shower. He seems a bit unsettled. I’d sometimes use an iPad to play some baby music, but this is supposed to be such a quick 2 min shower so I choose to sing it aloud myself “A is for Apple Ahh Ahh Ahh Apple, B is for Ball Bah Bahhh Ball. I think I get up to G".. and he’s fine. Oops I’ve run out of shower gel. I cannot even risk getting out to grab one from the cabinet. I use the baby liquid soap - If it’s great for babies it must be okay for me. I attempt to do a hurried facial care routine. Remember when I wrote this post on facial care essentials and noted that I was trying out the Clinique 3-in-1 for the first time? I’m stuck with them now. Seems to be working fine (I often consider trying something else though, but end up with the same) Ok that’s done!
Done getting dressed and then apply an eyeliner, eyebrows somewhat hastily filled, MAC powder and ruby woo lipstick - my everyday makeup is done. I'm wearing a sleeveless H&M green peplum top that I’m quite surprised zipped up easily. "Don’t pat yourself too much" says inner me; it’s a stretchy fabric remember? I’m actually more surprised I could zip it up myself - I've been known to wear a blazer or sweater over my clothes or change clothes simply because it's tough to do my own zip up.
You know I ordinarily wouldn’t wear sleeveless, but it’s 26 degrees outside! If I want to go shopping and try clothes, this outfit may not be the most practical, but we’d cross that bridge when we get there. I contemplate wearing a wig, but in this weather, I’ll pass.
Finally, pretty ready to head out of the house! In the past hour, J had a bottle and diaper change. A delivery man brought a few skirts I’d ordered from Banana Republic and I tried them on. Uhmmm, it's inconclusive I think. I'd try them again later. I’m sticking to mostly skirts, pants and blouses for work clothes for now as I appear to wear roughly my normal size in those. But my midsection is definitely a size up and I plan to shed the weight back so no dresses for now - except shift ones!
Only just leaving! If no one told you how difficult it can be going out with a baby, well I'm telling you for free! Anyway, we had an explosive diaper change and it was too hot so we waited for the sun to go down a bit. I actually also planned to stop at the dentist for a routine check-up. But it's just occurred to me that I can't walk in and I'd need an appointment. And most appointments are weekdays, and this is my last Friday before I return to work. So, that would, unfortunately, have to wait. Blame my mummy brain. I make a quick call to Tee to tell him where we’re headed, and I realise I have no earrings or wedding rings. Cannot be bothered to go and pick these up.
We step out of the shop heading home, and I breathe a sigh of relief! I’d only managed to go to one store - Dorothy Perkins. This is the first time ever I’ve shopped with a kid while pushing a buggy. And it was not cute. The store seemed to actually have a ton of work blouses in my size - and on sale for 50% off. I dumped it all on the buggy and attempted to try some in the fitting room - it was a disaster. J was so restless and wouldn’t stay in his chair. In his defence, those fitting rooms can be small - especially when there’s a ton of clothes and a baby pushchair in there.
I consider letting him crawl on the floor - afterall, there’s that thing about babies needing good contact with germs. In the end I decide to take all of the clothes and pay for it all - try it in the convenience of my home and return those I didn’t fancy - after all that’s why these stores have generous return policies.
Tee's back. He gives me a peck and takes J from me. I catch up briefly on chats and think I really should post a photo on IG to publicise my post on what we got up to in Ghana. Also still have to do laundry and dishes.
Js having a nap. He must have been exhausted from shopping with me. Tee opens a glass of wine and offers me some. I consider for a full second but thinking of how I'm not supposed to be drinking my calories so I can hopefully fit back into all my clothes, I decline.
I’d like to say at that point, we completed the perfect night routine after J woke up - bath, baby massage, read a book, play music and he slept till the next morning, while Tee and I caught up on life.
But that didn’t happen. In fact, the night routine was a flop compared to all the other days! It was almost as if he knew I was heading to work soon and things were somewhat about to change.
Between Tee and I, we were pretty exhausted that night, and it was kinda hard to document the rest of it. I really just gave up.
But yeah, it’s been a few weeks since my return and all three of us are kinda getting the hang of it. it's clearly much tougher combining our day jobs, with a child and other activities! But one day at a time.
And as for going back to work, I guess it doesn’t really get easier - even when your kids go off to college! The most important thing is the quality of the time spent and not the quantity.
So yeah! Id you've had maternity leave or currently on one how did it go / how’s it going. Did you achieve your grand plans? And if you've returned to work how was the transition as well - any tips?
pS: This piece makes me feel like I should actually journal more often. Maybe not to this extent but it’s kinda cool reading past events. Do you journal?