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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?

farewellfarewell Wed 10-Apr-13 18:13:37

Depends on your baby. Also on whether or not you are caring for older children as well as baby that's a bit of a killer

DolomitesDonkey Wed 10-Apr-13 18:18:04

Yes, piece of piss break. I mean by 9am every day everyone is washed, dressed and fed. Boring. Only the inept struggle.

HorryIsUpduffed Wed 10-Apr-13 18:18:56

It's lovely the second time - spending loads of time with PFB when you'd previously have had them at nursery.

And it's a break from crippling childcare costs/logistical juggling, etc.

But apart from that...

yellowhousewithareddoor Wed 10-Apr-13 18:55:44

Do you really think that DD?

Jinsei Wed 10-Apr-13 19:11:19

I found it very easy and lots of fun tbh. DD was quite a demanding baby and rarely slept, so the sleep deprivation was really tough in the beginning, but I adapted to that and I just loved having the freedom that mat leave gave me. And the lack of work stress was wonderful!

I guess it depends on the job that you do. Having a baby is obviously stressful in its own way, but I found dealing with the demands of one baby infinitely easier than dealing with the demands and stresses of my job, and so it felt like a bit of a walk in the park to me. I'm sure it's harder when you have more than one young child!

Alligatorpie Wed 10-Apr-13 19:50:44

I have loved both my mat leave's. dd2 at ten months wakes up once a night ( dd1 was waking 6-8 times at this age) play dates, coffee dates, tae bo, kickboxing, long lunches...that is how i spend my days. And when dd1 comes home, i am relaxed and have energy to hang out with her. I have 5 more months of this before going back to work. smile

rustybusty Wed 10-Apr-13 20:21:28

God yeah. Lots of dvds and you can catch up on all the series. Loads of time to chill out. It was the laziest time I ever had in my adult life except for being a student. Enjoy it.

AppleAndBlackberry Wed 10-Apr-13 20:33:45

I don't know, I liked being able to set my own agenda for the day/week (obviously fitting around baby's needs) but I found the night waking hard and it took me quite a while to get over anaemia from the birth so I was quite tired. I think I felt too guilty to watch too much TV with PFB! My second ML with an 18 month age gap and a bad sleeper was even more challenging! Now I have two preschoolers I still find work much easier, though I can see it will change as they get older and more independent.

drjohnsonscat Wed 10-Apr-13 20:42:41

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


Don't see that many men queuing up for their six months ( and they would likely be better than the first six....).

Whatdoiknowanyway Wed 10-Apr-13 20:45:08

Is maternity leave really a break?

trixymalixy Wed 10-Apr-13 20:49:47

I was overjoyed to go back to work even with DS not sleeping well until he was 18 months. . The first few months of mat leave were absolutely hellish.

Phineyj Wed 10-Apr-13 20:56:48

It feels like when I was working from home, but without the constant back of the mind feeling that I ought to be working/getting more work all the time. I also have a lot more social contact than when I was self-employed e.g. baby groups etc and of course the baby for company. So quite enjoyable really, although my brain is definitely rotting and I am looking forward to getting back to work in the autumn, although I'm being careful who I admit that to. I must say I feel kind of guilty being essentially paid not to work though. Also my average cake consumption per week is going through the roof. I'm going to roll back to work at this rate. I am sure I wouldn't be this sanguine if DD wasn't a good sleeper, however!

Jinsei Wed 10-Apr-13 21:04:18

Don't see that many men queuing up for their six months ( and they would likely be better than the first six....).

Yes, but this is probably more because of the damage that a six month absence would do to their careers than because they don't fancy staying at home.

Binkybix Wed 10-Apr-13 21:11:09

Ok, I'm scared now. Maybe I'll be one of the lucky ones with a magic sleeping baby.

ceebeegeebies Wed 10-Apr-13 21:11:20

My 2 maternity leaves were a bit of a jolly to be honest - particularly the second one as I was a lot more comfortable with what I was doing plus DS2 was still in nursery 4 days a week.

I was fortunate to have 2 babies who were good at napping, regular routines etc which no doubt helped. I was also lucky that DH worked from home quite a bit so I could go to a gym class in the morning whilst the babies slept.

It did feel like a proper break from work and when I did go back, I was lovely and refreshed and thin

I think it was just that, even if the DC woke up early, I actually could slob around on the sofa in my PJ's until whatever time I wanted, could potter round the shops whenever I wanted (rather than cramming shopping into 1 shopping trip as I have to do now).

I absolutely loved my maternity leaves and am very envy when any of my friends get pregnant and go off.

bumperella Wed 10-Apr-13 21:27:25

First 3 mnths awful - so so so dull. Constantly unremittingly BORING - have this little creature who displays no real personality and equal interest in/fondness for a paper bag as in fellow human beings. Though you can get loads of those niggly DIY things done.

Next 8 months FANTASTIC. You can teach them stuff and they're just so much more fun.

I finished up mat leave the day before my due date, I think I'd've lost my mind being the size of a whale and sitting waiting....!

Obviously it all depends on the baby, on the pregnancy, etc etc.

gloucestergirl Wed 10-Apr-13 21:33:41

I've loved being on maternity leave and don't like working, so yes it has been a lovely holiday. But it is a holiday with no sleep, no lies in, no money, the same destination (our flat for months on end), lots of poo and precious little cocktails by the pool. Can't see it being offered at the travel agency!

MixedBerries Wed 10-Apr-13 21:36:32

No. IMHO it's not a break. But I didn't know that until I had a baby. And I say this as someone who who hated her job. But it's what I do now. I quit my job to have DS as it involved relocating. Better the devil you know!

Oh gawd yes. Baby holiday was amazing. smile First couple of months were awful - PND, no sleep, wailing child. The next 8 months were brilliant - like a switch flipped. I stopped worrying about work and deadlines and just enjoyed it. Working is so much harder and more stressful in my experience. I'm in early pregnancy with baby 2 and can't wait for my 9/10 months off again.

dizzy77 Wed 10-Apr-13 21:46:29

I took a year with DS and agree with the 1st 6 months no, 2nd to a point. Was also pleased to go back to my job part time and feel I had best of all worlds, although my career is taking a hit for it all.

It was work once DS arrived: keeping him fed, entertained and safe. And keeping myself occupied: I really thought ml would be all sat on the sofa in my dressing gown but quickly realised beyond the first few weeks that was not me at all. So I was one of those mums at all the groups, organising coffee mornings, taking over cafes with fancy buggies etc: all those activities were extensions of my personality that were otherwise expressed through the work I was "off". This came as a surprise, but a pleasant one. I've just started ml early with DC2 and I only hope I can get the tiny and the toddler out of the house at the same time to do more of this.

Jinsei Wed 10-Apr-13 22:09:33

Ok, I'm scared now. Maybe I'll be one of the lucky ones with a magic sleeping baby.

Worry not! I had anything but a magic sleeping baby, but I still loved being off on mat leave. Only wish I could have taken longer!

Permanentlyexhausted Wed 10-Apr-13 22:12:19

Yes, definitely! Both of my mat leaves felt like a lovely long holiday for the most part. There were the days when I wanted to tear my hair out but mostly I found being at home with my babies very laid back.

MixedBerries Wed 10-Apr-13 22:16:26

Oh God. This thread is making me wonder what I'm doing wrong!

Exhaustipated Wed 10-Apr-13 22:19:57

IME, maternity leave first time around was pretty easy peasy. To be fair at the time I thought it was fairly hard going, but it still involved loads of telly in the middle of the day, lazy lunches with Mum friends, lots of time staring at my pfb...

Second time around has been very tough. Hard times of crying baby, tantrumming toddler, getting out of the house nightmares etc. Much more like proper hard work. When older one is at prechool I am reminded of how relaxing (relatively speaking) it was first time around with only one baby to look after!

Viviennemary Wed 10-Apr-13 22:23:34

I think it's a break before the baby is born. That's what I thought you meant. But it certainly isn't after the birth. I couldn't believe one tiny baby could generate so much work.

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