If there is one piece of advice I would dare give to a first time, expectant mother it would be to take some decent maternity leave before the baby comes, if you can. You will never, ever have that time to yourself again and I think it’s actually quite an important luxury to spend some time preparing yourself for a new baby. Even if you have time off work with subsequent children and the older ones are in childcare, I am almost certain it will not be the same, with the early wake ups and nursery runs to contend with.
When I was expecting Nano, Mckdaddy took Mini Mck to a family party in the Midlands during a school holiday and I had one night and almost two days to view as my maternity leave. I can’t remember what I did exactly, I am sure it would have involved yarn, but I do remember it was pretty wonderful.
So, I floated the idea of a similar plan this time and Mckdaddy kind of ran with it, opting instead for a shorter drive to the coast and a couple of nights away with the children on a weekend so that I can have a ‘Mini Maternity Leave’ and so this weekend I shall have two days and two nights in my house, on my own.
Time alone, in my own house, is one of the things that I crave the most. I often feel that I just would like a break from my children and yet now it is here I am conflicted and nervous. Certainly, NOT dreading it, but I have a strange feeling in my stomach when I think of returning to a dark, empty house after waving them off.
A little of me would like to share it with them. A couple of days cosied up near the sea, with bracing, stone throwing walks on the beach, fish and chips, sampling the local crab and snuggling up with some films sounds just lovely, but I also know that this break is much needed and I am excited to have that time for myself. I have plans, lots of plans. There is a pile of sewing projects that I’ve been building up, lots of bonnety TV that is waiting to be watched and at least two crochet projects that I want to get on with. Oh, and the food will be delicious and all the things I like and rarely have. I’m thinking Moules Marinieres, steak and chips, croissants for breakfast and brilliant elevenses. Finally, there will be plenty of time for sleeping. For months I have been telling myself to get more sleep and go to bed earlier and have failed miserably. Suddenly that is not an issue and I happily rush to bed by 9:30 every night. Sleeping is all I want to do and cannot sit down for more than 10 minutes without feeling myself dropping off. It is quite ridiculous.
So, I have plenty to look forward to and to keep me busy, but it seems that motherhood is visceral. However much I logically know that a break will be great and they will hardly be gone for any time at all, I still feel a pull when I think of them going. That feeling in my stomach isn’t because I will be bored or that I desperately want to go with them, it is because my babies will not be near me, they will be out of my reach and that feels strange. I can’t quite imagine seeing them leave and knowing how to behave when I get back home. Their rooms will be empty. I will not be able to go and watch them sleeping or just hear Mini Mck snoring from outside his door. The house will be quiet and still. Such a luxury, but such an oddity.
I am fairly certain that once they have gone and I am in the swing of my ‘maternity leave’ I will love it, the time will fly and next week I will crave some peace again, but until I am in the moment and only thinking of it, it feels disconcerting, like a pair of jeans that just don’t quite fit right.