Thursday 1 August 2013

Just the two of us - making the most of maternity leave

Maternity leave is a funny thing; no other time in your life can you realistically take a break from work for an extended period - not unless you become a WAG or win the lottery. And realistically, many women don't want to stop working, even if the opportunity presented itself. I love my job and there's so much you can gain in life, beyond just money, by being a working mum.

But at the same time, you are sacrificing other things, namely, being there for your child each day as they grow up. I don't mean to sound possessive, but I am starting to feel the guilt that I will indeed be a working mum in a few months time and not spend my entire day in the company of the best little boy in the whole world. 

Ethan's only three months old so it's still a way off for us, but it's something that is on my mind as we need to get a nursery place confirmed as soon as possible and we have no other options when it comes to childcare - nursery is it. Places can be hard to secure and I'm the kind of person who needs to know what to expect so I can plan things accordingly.

As much as the thought of leaving little man with strangers gives me a knot in my stomach, I know that it will be good for him and for me when the time comes for him to go to nursery and for me to go to work. Children need to be around other children from an early age and mummy's need to be more than just a mum. I absolutely LOVE being a mum, more than I ever thought I would or could, but I also need to be challenged in other ways.

I've just done the one thing you shouldn't do when on maternity leave - added up how much time I've had already and how much I have left. I still have a long way to go but it seems so much nearer when thinking of what will happen over the next few months; Ethan's christening, a potential holiday, Christmas.

I want to make sure I do everything we possibly can and enjoy every single moment we have together. We'll never get it again, he will never be this small and I will never have as much time. Even if we have another baby in the (distant) future (they're expensive things you know?!), it'll never just be the two of us.

I'm looking at a holiday to Cornwall in September as my husband has been working so hard and needs a break. We've booked CenterParcs 10 days before Christmas to kick start a magical first Christmas for our baby boy. I'm researching swimming lessons for babies so we can do something fun and Ethan can learn a valuable skill for life.

But what else can we be doing? What should I do to make the most of maternity leave? How can my husband and I enjoy every second of our baby's first year?

I really want to make the most of my maternity leave and make some memories that my family will always cherish. If you have any ideas or suggestions on what we should do in the next few months, I'd really love to hear them.

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