Maternity Leave Reflections

I've always had a job. There was of course the fleeting month after college, but that month long beach vacation was nothing like the last 4 1/2 months of my life.

You learn a lot in the few short weeks after your bundle arrives. Some simple, like how to change a diaper and some scary, like how to save your baby when she starts choking on her vomit (my recommendation is learn this one first, because your baby will inevitably choke.) But mostly, you learn a lot about yourself. (You spend 4 1/2 months mostly alone with a tiny mute human and self epiphanies are inevitable.)

So here are ten of mine, my maternity leave epiphanies:

1) I don't need eight hours of sleep each night to function. My entire adult life, I have stressed the fact that without sleep I am a wreck. My late to bed, early to rise husband can attest to my former sleeping habits. As it turns out, the total amount of sleep doesn't matter, so long as there is at least a four stretch somewhere in there. So wake up all you want, baby girl! I got this.

2) I'm obsessed with bodily functions. Until little miss thing came along, I was a bit squirmy when it came to bodily functions. Needless to say, she cured me of that. But instead of just a mere tolerance of  her stinky qualities, I actually find myself freaking loving them! I'm proud of each of her burps, obsessed with her stinky baby farts and so very in love with her dirty little diapers. Each one makes me smile, giggle and fall more in love with her. Go freaking figure!

3) I can no longer live the life of a functioning procrastinator. Any given minute, there is a functioning procrastinator standing right next to you, not doing something they are supposed to be doing. That was me. A great example of this is the time I woke up at 4:30 am to study to for a college final I would be taking at 9 am. (If memory serves, I got an A.) But no more! Not only does every task now take 33% longer to accomplish, I can't seem to remember what I told myself to remember 5 minutes ago. So now, if I randomly recall that my niece's birthday is coming up in 3 months while I'm walking by the toy isle at Target, you're damn straight I'm going to buy her gift then and not the week of her birthday.

4) I'm better with babies than I thought I'd be. And not just my baby, I'm pretty good with babies in general. I've spent the infancies of 4 nieces completely intimated by their alien-ness. And now I wish I hadn't been. By hey, I've got another niece and my very first nephew on the way, so I can certainly make up for lost time with those little munchkins.

5) I love that my daughter is a clone of my husband. I spent 9 months wishing for a blue eyed, blonde hair, fair, little clone of myself. Naturally, she's every bit her daddy. One of the first things I declared upon seeing R's face was, "she looks like Daddy!" While I did get my blue eyed wish (hopefully!) I secretly love the fact that she looks just like her daddy and not me. Sometimes, when he's holding her, I can see the "proud daddy" in his eyes and it melts my heart. They are two peas in a pod and I wouldn't have it any other way. So go on looking like your daddy, girl, you're super adorable no matter what you do!

6) Speaking of my husband, I couldn't have done it without him. This, all of this, any of it. I'm a strong person, but I tend to freak out if pushed to far. And so far my pregnancy, giving birth and a baby that refused to sleep, all pushed me too far. Freak outs were inevitable. But luckily, I had a patient and loving husband by my side to help me through the hard days and laugh with me through the easy ones. Thanks, babe! Only 17 1/2 more years to go!

7) I'm not above baby talk (and silly nicknames for that matter.) This girl. This sweet, silly, stinky little girl captured my heart and apparently my adult voice. I sometimes watch and re-watch all the videos I take of my munchkin and cringe at the sound of my voice. But hey, at least I came up with some kick ass nick names like Squeaks, Beauty Baby, Stinky Booty Baby, Mah Petite and so forth.

8) I still need alone time. I used to plan our weekends according to my need to be alone. Sounds crazy? Not really. If we did something on Saturday, we probably wouldn't do anything on Sunday. Then I would do my own thing for half the day. I needed that time to recharge and be alone with my thoughts. I still need that. Only now I can't take 6 hours on a random Sunday to do it. Now my alone time is broken up into bits throughout the day. It took a short adjustment period, but I've learn to embrace the quiet when I can.

9) I'm more in tune with my baby than I ever thought possible. Here's a good example, the night time feed. In my waking hours if you ask me what time will she wake up at night? I don't know. Usually sometime between midnight and 2 am. But somehow my sleeping mind totally knows, every time. Mid dream my eyes will pop open to see a sleeping baby in the bassinet next to me. Calm and serine and definitely still sleeping. Not 30 seconds later her eyes will pop open and her lips will flash me a smile. Yep, baby. It's time to eat.

10) I'm not ready for her to grow up. She's so darn big already!!! Twice her body weight and growing strong. She plays on her own, loves to stand and has very strong opinions about which toys she wants at which time. And all the while, I'm standing here with a baby that just tried solid food for the first time wondering what happened to my little squeaks that I brought home from the hospital all those months ago. Soon she'll be telling me her thoughts, driving a car, getting married--  I can't take it! Sure, the "growing up" is inevitable. Really isn't that what I signed up for? "Raising" a baby? Well, at least I have my camera to document each changing moment. Until then, stay small for as long as you can, sweet girl!

So here's to a new chapter of life. Working with a baby. It'll be tough, but I'll be able to provide the life for her that she deserves, so it'll be worth it.

All my love,

J the Working Mama


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