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Keeping brain active on maternity leave?

(30 Posts)
mimolette Fri 01-Jul-11 12:59:36

Just wondering what hobbies/activities etc others have done while on maternity leave?
I had a pretty full-on job before and, although I am loving spending lots of time with my new DD, I think in the long run I need to find something to keep my brain ticking over and give me some non-baby conversation topics. Ideally it would be something I could do (at least partly) from home, when she's asleep.
Looking for inspiration, and would love to hear others' experiences.

Woodlands Fri 01-Jul-11 14:12:34

I sing in a choir, and am on the committee for that and produce publicity/programmes etc. I'm also considering doing some similar stuff for the local NCT branch - would that appeal to you?

polar515 Fri 01-Jul-11 20:05:51

Hi. I have started doing a crosstitch sampler for a friend who is expecting (you can get modern ones honest smile. I have also started running. Found that the running is good as I can do this whenever DH is back / evenings ad hoc etc. I'm hoping to do a 10k in September. Definitely get the need to have something outside your DC on mat leave.

IDrinkFromTheirSkulls Fri 01-Jul-11 20:10:10

Mumsnet grin

And I enter competition, lots and lots of competitions.

Primafacie Fri 01-Jul-11 21:37:11

DH got me an Art fund card and I try to go to one museum, gallery or national trust house a week. So far I have only managed one grin but have only had the card for 12 days <apologetic>

Does your job have a policy for doing occasional bits of work while on leave? My work allows me 10 "keep in touch" days for which I get paid in full, without it interrupting my mat leave.

Also we tape a lot of documentaries on tv, which I watch while feeding when SATC is not on

mathanxiety Fri 01-Jul-11 21:42:51

'Just wondering what hobbies/activities etc others have done while on maternity leave? '

LOL and what a value judgement is implied in your OP title too. Not wishing to stir anything up, but do you really think your brain is going to turn to mush because you're not 'at work'?

Staying awake all day was a challenge to my brain for a good while.

missingmyflatbelly Sat 02-Jul-11 10:48:53

Distance learning course. I can do this without even needing childcare

EvaPeron Sat 02-Jul-11 11:49:56

Radio 4 on, pretty much constantly day and night!

RichmondNCT Sat 02-Jul-11 12:07:19

Well if my name hasn't given it away already I volunteer for my local NCT branch. I usually post under a different name for "me" though because I'm not just an NCT puppet wink I do communications like Twitter and Facebook as well as the odd e-newsletter, press release, magazine article and helping out at events but I started out delivering newsletters. I can definitely recommend! smile

I confess I also did a huge reasonable amount of MNing when the boy was little and I was bfing. I've cut that down now he needs me to pay him a bit more attention (he's 2yo) but still get sucked in every so often when there's some juicy drama on or a bit of ball clippering (see this week's round-up).

I definitely recommend volunteering. It's flexible hours, you can do as little or as much as you like and you can use keep your skills up to date or learn new ones. You can try volunteer councils or going direct to organisations. They're always keen to accept free help.

MamaLaMoo Sat 02-Jul-11 18:41:23

I started writing a textbook for the subject I used to teach and got interviews from over 200 female scientists and engineers to include. Now on maternity leave with DC2 may actually finish it.

PurpleCrazyHorse Sat 02-Jul-11 20:32:41

I got on with my family tree. An Ancestry subscription, photos to scan and ordering certificates, all kept me busy while at home with DD.

I also watched loads of documentaries and tried to sky+ things so I had something informative to watch rather than rubbish.

Less successful at knitting but did find a knitting group to go to, which was great as I could get out of the house one evening a week and sit with adults in a pub grin

mercibucket Sat 02-Jul-11 20:40:25

pmsl at the title! but ignoring that and just answering your post, op . . .

volunteering or studying are two ways of keeping yourself amused during the long dark teatime of the soul that is maternity leave

chair a committee - that will keep you busy, or do a masters - just about enough time to squeeze one in

notcitrus Sat 02-Jul-11 21:13:29

For the early days when you're pretty brain-dead I found cryptic crosswords fitted with the nighttime feeds rather well - when tired my brain would make more odd associations!

After that did lots of conference organising for a voluntary organisation. Suspect taking a small baby to meetings with bank managers and venue managers helped get good deals. smile

Ran a few NCT tea groups too though never got more than 2 people. But one mum I met again recently said she was really glad it was there at the time, which was nice.

seeksnewnamewithgsoh Sat 02-Jul-11 21:19:47

oh, lord know, I've had a baby so my brain just doesn't.. um, I can't remember the word... what was I talking about again, sorry I've had a baby.

Sorry OP, but that must be up there with one of the most offending thread titles ever.

But to answer your question, I found that spending a lot of time with my daughter was great at keeping my concentration up. It was 6 months of her life I wasn't going to get again and I didn't want to waste it on entertaining myself. I did lots of reading when she was napping though, I haven't been able to read that much in a long time (and I won't get to read that much again at least until she leaves home smile)

BlueberryPancake Sat 02-Jul-11 21:36:56

Agree about the title. Maybe improve diplomatic skills? Correspondence course on interpersonal communications?

I bought, project managed renovations, and sold a flat during first maternity leave (nine months period). Not good for the brains (or the nerves) but good for bank account.

ziptoes Sat 02-Jul-11 21:38:26

Flippety heck - I guess it depends how long your mat leave is, but looking after a new baby took up a fair amount of my brain.

That said I did read about three books a week from the library while breastfeeding. Once you master the art of turning pages with one hand it's a doddle. You have to get out paperbacks though.

mimolette Sun 03-Jul-11 06:12:51

i am really, really sorry, I didn't mean to offend or upset anyone with this thread. May well look into BlueberryPancake's diplomacy course suggestion smile
(There doesn't seem to be an option to change the thread title though?)
Huge thanks to the others for lots of ideas! Will start with a bit of radio 4/documentaries and investigate distance learning and volunteering.

mathanxiety Sun 03-Jul-11 06:14:47


Political suggestion -- I recommend keeping in touch with work. Don't let them forget you exist.

flaurenoko Sun 03-Jul-11 08:05:23

Pregnancy and breast feeding turned my brain to mush..

howabout Sun 03-Jul-11 08:20:04

I also find your title offensive but being chilled out at home all day I can rise above it. I am a SAHM, not on Mat leave. However as a former finance professional I have been known to watch Mervyn King while sorting the socks and I keep abreast of World affairs, politics etc. When DDs were babies I used to read the FT and the Economist to them.
I read intellectually challenging books now that my brainpower is not sapped by office politics.
I do volunteer in the community and do some business mentoring with contacts I have met through my DC.
I am an amateur musician and have improved my musical theory and learnt to play 3 new instruments recently. I now have the skills to teach my own DC and some of my friends.
I also do quite a lot of knitting, crochet and sewing and tend to mostly work on my own designs.
I like to visit museums and art galleries and go to concerts when I can sort out childcare.
Not a great fan of housework or endless coffee mornings.

NotJoiningIn Sun 03-Jul-11 09:30:42

Sorry OP, but that must be up there with one of the most offending thread titles ever.

Really? Exaggerating much?

I've complete two MA modules while on maternity leave. Going back to work full time next week and it has filled the 7 months nicely!

littlewheel Sun 03-Jul-11 11:23:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

littlewheel Sun 03-Jul-11 11:25:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

iskra Sun 03-Jul-11 11:27:51

Littlewheel, my DD's nursery worker used to recite Tyger Tyger to the kids.

RickGhastley Sun 03-Jul-11 11:38:13

I just really enjoyed not going to work and having some time to myself after 15 years of working full time!

Did nothing but chill out with the baby for the first months.
Met up with some other Mums on MAT leave (and no they were not all baby brained and boring, we did talk about interesting things like current affairs)
Went to lots of museums and galleries I had never had time to visit pre-baby
Read lots of books and did sudoku!
Did yoga class once a week
Enjoyed having time to cook decent meals
Met up with non-baby related friends some evenings

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