So today I want to brave the subject of maternity leave, this might be another long and honest post, so you might want to grab a cuppa and maybe even a biscuit or two (my last post was all about how I am preparing for having a baby). Maternity leave is described as that happy time where you don’t have to get up and go to work, you get to spend all day with your baby doing fun things and just soaking up all of that newborn experience. Now I am very sure that is true and I am sure maternity leave will be fantastic, but there is also a scarier side to it that not many people talk about. As much as I don’t want to take away from the amazing time it will be, it is something that has and still plays on my mind a lot. So, I thought why not stick it on the blog and see what you all think, what suggestions you have and hopefully bring a bit more awareness about it.
Losing My Independence
Ok bear with me whilst I sound incredibly dramatic, but at the moment that is exactly how I feel. I am currently in a position, where I am not entitled to maternity pay from my employer or statutory maternity pay. There is something else I can apply for, but that is all up in the air at the moment. So when I say I am losing my independence, what I mean is since I moved out at the age of 18 I have become very accustomed to providing for myself and not relying on anyone else, so the thought of not earning my full time income (which I have worked very hard over the years to get) literally scares the sh*t out of me. I mean how do bills get paid, how do we afford to live, how do we provide for a baby, the list goes on. I know everyone says it all works out, but HOW???? I am someone who needs facts, figures, examples etc for my brain to be able to process it and be ok with it and at the moment I don’t have that. The only way I have made this a bit easier for myself is cutting back now whilst I am pregnant and saving some of my money to soften the blow a little bit when I no longer get paid from work.
Being Stuck Indoors & Being Lonely
This is another big fear of mine. I am someone who really suffers with cabin fever when I have been stuck indoors for too long. My fear is what if I get stuck indoors all day, what if I am too tired or can’t find a good routine in getting out and about? I know there will be days where I won’t feel like going out and that’s ok, but what on earth am I going to do with all my time? My other concern is who will I interact with and will I be lonely. I know that having a baby means technically I will not be alone, but what about adult interaction. Ryan works full time and a lot of my friends will obviously be in work, so who will I have cuppas, cake and catch ups with? To try and combat this I plan on making full use of the mother and baby classes that are available in our local area. I will also be seeing all my friends who have also have babies and may also feel the same stuck at home and failing that I am sticking with the theory of ‘if in doubt, go out’. We are lucky that we live close to beaches and countryside and it would be quite easy to grab the pram or baby carrier, jump in the car and go for a walk and get some fresh air.
Going Back to Work, Childcare and Balance
So, once I have finally wrapped my head around maternity leave, before I know it, it will be time to think about going back to work. How do you know when it’s the right time, how do you sort out and afford childcare and how do you decide what is the best for your family to have a balance between work and still being around for your baby and family? Again, these are all things I don’t have the answer to, but they do play on my mind. I have a few options I am looking at and working on, so hopefully this issue may resolve on it’s own, but until then I am clueless.
I fully appreciate that this post is just a long list of all my worries about maternity leave and to some it may sound silly or irrelevant, but that doesn’t make them any less real for me. I am sure that as a family we will make all of these things work and whatever happens will be the best thing for us, but I think it’s good to talk about these things, throw ideas and suggestions around as I am sure I can’t be the only person who has considered these things.
Did you have any worries about maternity leave, or do you have any suggestions if you have been on maternity leave before? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas, so please leave me a comment below.