10 things I did on maternity leave

As I begin to count down the days till I return to work, I realise how much I’ll miss maternity leave. Not just the Brooklyn 99 marathons at 4pm, but the opportunity to do things just for the hell of it. Before I had Whoopsy I assumed that maternity leave was nothing but an endless hell of tea and cake and talking about baby shit. There’s a bit of that going on, but rarely. Instead I used the opportunity to tick a load of stuff off the bucket list that I’d always meant to do but never got around to:

  1. I did an online course with Oxford University in Social Entrepreneurship. I enjoyed the opportunity to use my brain a bit (Read: I enjoyed the opportunity to put Oxford University on my CV) although trying to find time to squeeze in reading during nap times was a real challenge. If nothing else though, it taught me speed reading!
  2. I did a DIY course. I was so lucky to find this in my local area as they provided free childcare for Whoopsy for eight weeks. Today I learnt to fix a dripping tap and take a U-bend off. And I learnt what a stop cock is. Disappointingly, it is not a anti-rape device which castrates male rapists. I feel so powerful, like a plumbing goddess. Next week I’m going to ask them to teach me how to make a nursery soundproof.
  3. We went nomadic for two months. We put our place on Airbnb, packed a couple of suitcases and went aimlessly wandering. Well, that’s not technically true. The aim was to get the hell away from the walls that I felt I had been staring at for weeks. We tried living in a couple of neighbourhoods that we thought we might buy in. We went on our first family holiday to Croatia. We lived in an eco lodge in the countryside. We went to the Cotswolds, the Lakes and Brighton on mini trips. I visited my parents for an extended period. By the end of it we’d learnt a few things (this should probably be a blog post on its own) Firstly, babies really don’t require nearly at much stuff as we think they do. Secondly, neither do we. Thirdly, don’t rent out your place on Airbnb in Zone 2 in London for Zone 4 prices and then put a 30% monthly discount on it, and then expect to be able to afford to stay anywhere luxurious. Basic all the way for this numerically challenged girl and her family!
  4. I chased Michelin stars. Dinner menus at Michelin starred places in London are astronomical but weekday lunch menus are usually prix très abordable. The intention was to get one star a month, which I failed at miserably, but I did manage 4 or 5 over the 9 months. It’ll be a sad, sad day when I have to return to microwaved couscous and spend my afternoons sober.
  5. I went to my first sample sale! Another thing that is totally impractical when you work Monday to Friday because Saturday sample sales – I imagine – are very dark, scary places full of sharp talons and venom.
  6. I did some consultancy projects for non-profits for free so that I can now legitimately call myself a freelance consultant when the mood so takes me (AKA I lose my job when I’m found to be running a gin distillery in the basement). I feel like it’s more impressive than ‘unemployed’.
  7. I complained to everyone, about everything. I finally had time to phone customer service helplines and moan to my heart’s content! I didn’t get much in return for it other than a few vouchers but it felt satisfying to finally be able to take the time to tell some poor customer service girl from South Wales how much BT suck.
  8. I wrote a blog! But of course you know that since you’re reading it. I got over my fear of writing and my fear of sounding stupid publicly and just starting putting pen to paper (metaphorically.. ) I intended to write a book since, when I found out I was pregnant, I couldn’t find anything to guide me through the complex maze of emotions attached to the idea. The thought of sitting down and churning out eighty thousand words is somewhat daunting so I decided I’d break it down into blog posts and then stitch it all together at the end in some sort of cohesive narrative starting with ‘fuck’ and ending with ‘yay’.
  9. I got a new job. Hold off on the celebrations; it may as well pay in sequins the amount of cash I have left over after paying half of household and childcare costs. They say that looking for a new job is in itself a full time job and it really is. Applications, done well, took me a day each and many application had multiple parts. The interviews required at least a day of preparation and then I had to travel to Central London for a couple of hours to meet the sadists who put together the application process in person. There is no way I could have done this whilst working full time and doing childcare each evening. Which leads me to believe that I may be in this job for the REST OF MY LIFE.
  10. Oh yeah, and I kept a human hatchling alive. Sometime easily. Sometimes by the skin of my teeth. But here we are: six months later and we have a grinning, gurning little tank of a baby.


2 thoughts on “10 things I did on maternity leave

    1. Yeah the anxiety is definitely creeping in. The current worry is that the nursery won’t understand Whoopsy the way I do. The next worry, I’m certain, will be that I don’t understand Whoopsy the way the nursery staff do…


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