Jill McKenna is a nurse and first time mum, who is currently on maternity leave. She also runs a blog at www.countrymaman.wordpress.com.
I love this little insight into her life. I think she has captured those hectic early days as a new mother perfectly, showing the craziness and often hilarity of the things that we do, as parents of young babies.
A typical day starts anywhere between 5-6am but the majority of the time it's 5am or 4.57am, to be precise. Little Bear does not like to lie in, but does go to bed early, so I guess I can't have it both ways!
Like most people in the last months of pregnancy, I imagined my maternity leave to be glorious - days filled with long lunches, as the baby slept beside the table and lots of fun baby classes and meeting new mums. Now part of this does happen, you do meet lots of new mums and many have become my friends. Long lunches as the baby sleeps, not so much. When they do just eat and sleep, you are so shell shocked and sleep deprived you don't go anywhere and when you are up for venturing out, they love to be awake at these exciting places and make noise and cry, as they are tired!
So, today is a baby massage class at 9.30am, but right now it's 4.57am.....what to do with the hours?!
I break my day down into structured sleep times. My Bear can only stay awake for an hour and a half, so I know I have to fill this hour with some form of entertainment (this is something that's new to me, why can't they entertain themselves?!) Jumparoo fun takes up fifteen minutes, so I can have breakfast whilst checking in saying "excellent jumping!", get clothes on and potentially do make up (if it's a good morning), while Bear watches with Postman Pat on in the background. Winning so far.
Half past six has arrived! Sleep time! What's that, you don't want to sleep on the sofa like yesterday and mum slept too? What's that, it has to be the buggy, in winter... ok then. Off out listening to podcasts for an hour and a half (podcasts have changed my life!). As I'm pushing and walking along, with no set destination in mind, I can be educated and entertained, all while Little Bear gears up for some more fun.
He's awake and hungry. We are ten minutes from the house and the screaming starts while I half sprint/speed walk back to the house and bundle up the stairs to the flat.
Right off to baby massage! Here it is, lovely! Another hour and a half spent chatting and eating cake, however during this Bear throws an epic meltdown and screams the place down, till he falls asleep five minutes from the end.
During the walk home for lunch, Bear sleeps, lovely. Now the task of eating something, which is where, I have to say, TV has come in handy. A bit of CBeebies if I feel guilty about plonking him in front of loose woman, while I heat up leftovers and scoff it in under five minutes, while checking my phone, before heating up his new-to-food-weaning culinary delight, acting very enthusiastically throughout, before a bundle in the buggy again for round two of naptime.
Playtime back at the house is nice. He's well rested, giggling and smiling - this is great, what maternity leave is all about! Until another meltdown. Into the Ergobaby we go and a hike to tide Bear over till bedtime.
Bedtime, where it's bath, boob and bed before the midnight wake up and the three am wake up, before getting up for the day at five again. These are the general days in and days out of maternity leave. Not the long lunches I expected, last time I did that Bear whacked his head on a booth table and I felt so guilty about taking time out for myself, I've not gone out for lunch since. Crazy, I know, but this mother guilt is strong I tell you, everything makes you feel guilty - he's not laughed enough to today= guilty, he's cried too often as he's tired= guilty, I left him watching TV for an hour, while I tidied the house= guilty. I could go on and on!
But these days will not be forever, I must cherish them. I do enjoy them and will look back on them with great fondness, our time together, just us two. That being said, I sometimes take timeout, usually in the bathroom (which is the only place I'm actually alone in the whole day) and think, why can't you just sleep in the house so I can watch Netflix!