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Is maternity leave really a break?

(122 Posts)
FormerlyKnownAsPrincessChick Wed 10-Apr-13 15:34:17

I've had it from several people. Basically, it would seem that maternity leave is like a jolly long holiday where I will be enjoying lie-ins, followed by slobbing around on the sofa all day drinking tea, eating cake, watching homes under the hammer or else going out for yummy mummy lunches and generally having a lovely break from it all.

Now, I do kind of expect to end up slobbing on the sofa all day drinking tea, eating cake and watching homes under the hammer but with a baby on my boob and matchsticks in my eyes, hormonally weeping at the lovely job that couple have made of that bathroom, worrying if bright yellow poo is normal or an indication of something very, very wrong with the baby whilst nursing a very sore fanjo.... Also, given that maternity pay isn't loads and loads I can't see that I will be going out for lunch at all (unless it's sarnies in the park or similar)....

Obviously very grateful that I'll have paid time off work to look after my baby and can't wait to bond with him / her. But I kind of think that regular work is probably easier than having a new responsibility 24/7? Am I wrong? Is it going to be a nice long break from it all?

AIBU to think that maternity leave isn't really a break / extended holiday?

edwinbear Wed 10-Apr-13 15:38:23

Depends how long you are planning to take I think. For me, first 6 months were exactly as you describe. Second 6 months were largely a bit of a jolly.

KellyElly Wed 10-Apr-13 15:40:54

Well put it this way, I was happy to go back to work for the break grin

ohnosnow Wed 10-Apr-13 15:41:09

Loved my mat leave,far less stressful than work

FormerlyKnownAsPrincessChick Wed 10-Apr-13 15:42:02

Planning to take 6 months...then back to work part time. So, 6 months of hard graft; then it will be part jolly and part work which is less hard than the first 6 months for a while before going back full time.

Oh this is something to feel a bit more cheery about. Edwinbear you've made my afternoon smile thanks

Binkybix Wed 10-Apr-13 15:44:21

I've left quite early and no baby yet - this bit feels pretty much like a break. I don't think the next bit will smile

NiceTabard Wed 10-Apr-13 15:46:15

The bit before you actually have the baby is nice, although you are the size of a house at that point.

After that bit it's work all the way. I also consider going to work a rest!!!

BrianButterfield Wed 10-Apr-13 15:47:12

Oh mine was a lovely break! Pottering round the shops, going out for lunch, playgroups, car boot was very nice. I'm a teacher and one little baby seemed easy after a whole class. Of course that's not all day every day but on the whole it was very nice indeed.

OhDearNigel Wed 10-Apr-13 15:49:23

It entirely depends on whether you have a nice, placid, sleeping baby that happily sets up her own little routine and likes going out and about. I had one of those babies (as she is a wilful, stoppy little handful of 3 years old now, those days are a distant rosy memory) and maternity leave was wonderful. Halcyon days.

McNewPants2013 Wed 10-Apr-13 15:49:48

Mine was a lovely break from work.

I am in a very physical job on my feet for 7.5 hours a day

Hadassah Wed 10-Apr-13 15:49:59

It can get easier even earlier. The first two and a half months were hard work, and then the baby settled into eating and sleeping at sensible times so the last two and a half months have been pretty much like a holiday, just with having to look after the baby. It's time-consuming but it's not difficult, I find. Depends on the child, maybe.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Wed 10-Apr-13 15:50:00

<laughs hollowly>

Well, I suppose my answer depends on how well your baby sleeps. If you have the Magical Sleeping Baby, then it will be delightful. If, on the other hand, your child wakes up every 90 minutes all night and all day, then it will very much not be a jolly. I finally cracked and did cc with DD at 9.5 months, 2 weeks before I went back to work. It worked like a charm (she cried for 7 mins then fell asleep, on the third night she slept right through) and I wished I had tried it earlier!

Add in the mess the house gets into, money worries due to being on SMP, and the sheer loneliness of being alone (well, with a very cute baby, but without any banter/shared chat from colleagues) and I too was pretty glad to get back to work 4 days a week. blush

Mind you, it probably depends on the workplace! Mine is v laid-back, with a lovely group of people, and I work 36 hours a week. Not perfect, but not stressful either.

PuppyMonkey Wed 10-Apr-13 15:50:26

I positively skipped back to my part time job after my maternity "break." Some people like it, some people don't. I personally felt far less stressed out and had far more "me" time after I went back to work.

BeQuicksieorBeDead Wed 10-Apr-13 15:51:14

Probably depends on your job...

OneLittleToddleTerror Wed 10-Apr-13 15:51:19

I found it a very nice break. It is hard work in the sense that cleaning the house is hard work. And I mean your own house. There are no performance reviews, deadlines, meetings on why a bug reached the customer etc etc. It really is a bit of jolly involving going to baby groups, watching daytime TV, shopping and having tea. By the end of it, I had enough and felt my brain rotting away.

This is not to say you can spend your time writing a phd thesis. Because you would be busy feeding, rocking, etc. but it is not hard work.

bigkidsdidit Wed 10-Apr-13 15:51:22

I found it a nice break even though DS didn't sleep. It's just the utter freedom to do what you want all day long with no deadlines or having to catch trains or make meetings.

edwinbear Wed 10-Apr-13 15:51:44

Ooooo bit of work and bit of jolly for 6 months before you go back full time? That will be a lovely combination. You get to eat lunch/have grown up conversations/spend 10 hours in the same outfit because you don't get baby sick on it for part of the week, then some days you get to play in the park/go to baby cinema/sneak afternoon naps in whilst baby sleeps. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

SailorVie Wed 10-Apr-13 15:52:53

The first 12 weeks are HARD work. Then it's a jolly.

BrianButterfield Wed 10-Apr-13 15:53:00

It clearly does very much depend on your job. Going back to work was not a welcome break or a chance for a bit of "me-time" at all!

motherinferior Wed 10-Apr-13 15:54:13

The four months of my first maternity leave were some of the most miserable of my life, actually.

zukiecat Wed 10-Apr-13 15:55:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AngryGnome Wed 10-Apr-13 15:57:23

I had a horrible birth, so was pretty ill for most of mine, but other than that in terms of lifestyle it was a definite jolly! Now I am back at work at part time and have no time to do anything at all - its rubbish. But i suspect it depends on your job.

Manchesterhistorygirl Wed 10-Apr-13 15:58:25

Mat leave with ds1 was a proper jolly, with ds2 no not at all because I still had normal life to attend to.

MrsLyman Wed 10-Apr-13 16:00:13

Well I've found it to be a break from my sanity if that counts?

ll31 Wed 10-Apr-13 16:00:17

loved mat leave, was completely brilliant, hated going back

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