Now don’t get me wrong, I’m really really not complaining about maternity leave. It is the best (yet most intense) ‘job’ I’ve ever done in my life. The reward is amazing – I get to spend time with my wonderful little girl who delights me every day. But some might (mistakenly) think it’s a cushty number where one sits around cooing at their baby whilst drinking tea and eating cake with other cushty people who are also on maternity leave whilst getting (a small amount of) maternity pay for doing so. Mums are on duty 24/7, they literally never stop for a second, yet get a pretty bad press. This is an example of one of my days on maternity:
1am – The baby wakes up coughing. I wonder to myself if she will resettle or I should just go and make her a bottle now.
1.20am – The baby didn’t resettle and is grumbling. I go to make her a bottle then change her nappy. She smiles at me when I pick her up and giggles whilst I change her nappy. Cute ❤
1.50am – The baby has been fed and burped. I attempt to go back to sleep which takes around 20 minutes or so.
6am – The baby wakes up and starts chattering to herself. It takes me a bit longer this time to rouse myself into a state where I can make a bottle (but I obviously do). The baby smiles at me as I lift her out of her cot, drinks her milk then we both go back to sleep when she is winded.
7.30am – The baby wakes up coughing (I hate this cough – it is lingering on and it really bothers her at night/early morning. The doctor said it was viral and should clear up in 10 days…). I pick her up and pat her back and she projectiles stuff (milky mucus/mucusy milk?) all down my back…I clean us both up and then chat to her in bed for a while.
8.30am – I take the baby into the lounge and put her in her chair. I make myself some breakfast and she watches me eat every mouthful. I am loving this phase she is having where she loves watching me eat – because I get to eat and she is entertained by it!
9am – I’ve just got dressed (well sort of dressed if tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt count) so I wrap the baby up warm and strap her to me in the front carrier, put leads on our two dogs and take them all for a walk. The baby falls asleep in the carrier pretty much instantly but did wake up and have a little grumble a couple of times on our walk. Mostly when I shout the dog’s names, which is par for the course. Her first word will probably be “Dog1getoutthemudnow”.
9.45am – I get in the house, shot the dogs (nicely) in the kitchen, take the baby out of her carrier and de-layer her a bit. I put her down in her basket, go into kitchen, clean mud off the pesky labrador, take their leads off, prepare breakfast for the animals (including mixing in copious amounts of medication for the cocker spaniel who has an inoperable tumour), sort doggy drinking water and make a bottle for the baby.
10am -Still in my scuzzy dog-walking clothes, I feed the baby and burp her. She normally naps around this time so I put her down in her cot in the bedroom. I can hear her talking to herself on the monitor but she normally talks herself to sleep so I leave her to it. So I then go into mad crazy lady mode as I have NO IDEA HOW LONG I HAVE HERE TO DO EVERYTHING!!! So I:
- Wash and sterilise bottles
- Take washing out of washing machine (mostly bibs and muslins..)
- Fold said washing and split it into his, her, baby clothes
- Put another load of washing on
- Put washing away
- Have a quick tidy round
- Put three different types of eye drops into the poorly dog’s eyes
- Make a cup of coffee (the first of the day – which I may or may not get to drink but it’s a start getting to make one…)
- Sort online banking/life admin. Send a few emails. Order a mattress and sheets for travel cot.
- Pack bag for baby sensory. Today is the Christmas party and there is a photographer there with a really good deal (£25 for 4 photos and a CD with all the photos see takes on.) If she happens to vom all over the Christmas clothes I put her in, I’d like her to have other spare Christmas clothes in her bag!!
10.45am – I can hear her still talking to herself – but she’s being a bit more grumpy and shouty about it so I go to her. She’s obviously not in the mood to nap this morning…so I go in the bedroom and chat to her and entertain her a bit while I get changed out of my scuzzy tracksuit bottom and t-shirt. I did hope for a shower this morning, but not sure I can quite get away with her being entertained for long enough for that to happen today. I discover all my leggings are in the wash (probably covered in milk) so grab a pair of maternity jeans I had piled up ready to be stored away and hope I can get away with them for the day. At least they are clean even if I am no longer up the duff. And my t-shirt and cardigan are clean and fit properly anyway so my ensemble will do…I spray some dry hair shampoo in, wipe foundation onto my eyebags and put some eyeshadow on. It’s an attempt at makeup anyway…I have no idea where my lipstick is (probably in the nappy bag which is where everything ends up!)
11am – I change the baby’s nappy and put her cute Christmas outfit on. She loves being on the changing mat and giggles the entire time.
11.35am – We are now in the lounge and I go and make her a bottle for baby sensory. Then I pick her up for a cuddle and she falls asleep instantly – right before we are due to leave. I enjoy a cuddle with her for 10 minutes.
11.45am – I put her into the carseat. She screams as if I have murdered her. Gather up baby, put coat on/scarf etc, locate keys, grab phone and nappy bag and leave house. She forgets about said murdering as soon as we get in the car.
12.25am – I arrive at baby sensory. I struggle to get parked as per usual. I take the baby into the building and begin queuing nicely for photographer lady. The baby pukes on my cardigan. I wipe it off and feel glad it’s my cardigan and not her cute Christmas outfit. I grab a muslin and chuck a MASSIVE bib over the top of her outfit. I get to the front of the photography queue to be told the photographer will resume taking photos of babies during the break. I think to myself “Youvegottobefreakingkiddingmeshellhavepukedonherselfbythenandivejustqueuedforever” and go and sit down for The Hello Song. The baby makes it fairly obvious she would rather I fed her instead. I give her half her bottle and then go and resume waving maracas and pom poms in my baby’s face.
1pm – I resume The Queue for photographs. Each person gets 6 photos taken and we get to choose the 4 best ones. For some reason she only takes 5 of my baby. Also she invites some mums to get in the photos with the baby. She didn’t ask me – she must have thought I hadn’t made much of an effort with my appearance today. Tut.
1.15pm – Once the photos are taken, I give the baby the other half of her bottle – she can puke as much as she likes now. At the end of the session, there is free prosecco and christmassy food and we can choose our photos. I dither a bit about the photos. How can I possibly say “No, I don’t like that one” about any photos of my baby????? I eventually choose which one I don’t like (as much), pay the lady and go and get my prosecco. None left. Seriously. I am disgusted by this and grab a Bucks Fizz instead and piece of Christmas cake. There is no easy way of holding both food/drink items and a 4 month old baby, so I down the Bucks Fizz in one (please don’t judge me) eat the cake in two bites and then start layering up the baby to go home.
2.30pm – We eventually leave and I make my way to the Baby Clinic. We haven’t been before as the baby was weighed at the doctors not that long ago. I park up, walk to the clinic and take a number in the Waiting Room. The baby is asleep (she is always shattered after baby sensory) so is most unimpressed to be taken out of her pram. Everyone stares. (Yes she’s a baby, she cries – I really haven’t done anything bad to her) I tell the assembled staring people that she was asleep and I had to wake her up – I have no idea why I do that rather than just tell them to Bog Off. She soon cheers up once she is inside the clinic and laid on a changing mat as I start stripping her off and she starts to laugh (I love my weirdo daughter!). She now weighs 12lbs and is in the same percentile as she was when she was born which they were happy with. I chat to the Health Visitor for a bit and they tell me to come back in a month (unless I am worried by anything before then).
3.30pm – We arrive home. I start sterilising the bottles I’ve used today and put bibs/muslins/her Christmassy outfit in the washing pile. By this time, it’s pretty obvious she could do with another bottle and a bit of a nap to be honest. I make her bottle and feed her. Halfway through the bottle, it becomes apparent that she has done a rather nasty number two. I take her to her room and a complete change of clothes is required so I stick her in a new outfit of a vest and onesie. After she is cleaned up, I take her back to the lounge but she’s not interested in the rest of her bottle, she seems too tired so I put her down in her basket and she pretty much falls straight to sleep. I realise I haven’t eaten since the weetabix this morning so I make myself a cheese sandwich and a cup of coffee. I sit down and eat and drink – hurrah!!!! I put more drops into the dog’s eyes (3 different types again) while my hands are free.
5pm – The dogs make it pretty obvious that it’s their tea-time so I sort bowls out and feed them and let them out for wees/poos etc. Soon after, the baby wakes so I sit her on my knee and we have a good chatter/giggle. Then she starts getting moany and as she didn’t finish her last bottle, I make her another. She drinks all of it except 1-2oz.
5.50pm – It’s pretty much approaching her bedtime but she’s in such an active and LOUD mood that I wonder if she’s going to go to sleep! I take her down to our room anyway and change the sheet and find her a clean sleeping bag. We have our nighttime chatter and I give her a cuddle and a kiss and turn on her slumber buddy. I say “Night Night” and walk out. I go in the lounge and I can hear her chatting to herself on the monitor.
6.00pm – I can hear her chatter turn into crying so I go in with the last of her bottle. She drinks another oz , has a cuddle and looks really sleepy so I try and put her down again. This time is much more successful and she goes to sleep. Yay!
6.10pm – I realise I am starving hungry and haven’t had tea and am due out in 10 minutes. I grab a piece of bread and eat it as it is and leg it out of the house, leaving Hubby in charge of the Sleeping Baby.
7.45pm – I get home and look in on the baby. She is fast asleep and looking ever so cute. I sterilise bottles and make myself an egg sandwich, scoff it and let the dogs out for a wee.
8.30pm -I decide that, actually, I’m just knackered. So I make myself a cup of tea, locate a pack of jelly babies and go and sit in bed (and write this blog). I would normally sort out some washing at this point, but I can’t be bothered tonight. I reckon I’ll be fast asleep by 10.30pm.
And this is her in her cute Christmas outfit: