My maternity leave with Marlo was so very American of me. I worked full-time, in the office, until I was full term and didn’t start my leave until the very last possible day. In the middle of the night on Saturday, labor started and I delivered Marlo Sunday evening. Maternity leave was 12 weeks to the day and I was back at work before Marlo could sit up on her own. Luckily, I had my amazing husband to lean on and a family close by to cry to. But MAN…it was tough.
Sure, it got easier, like everything does with time. But I let self-inflicted work-guilt play too much a role in my maternity leave plan. While my team, boss, and even company leadership said “Congratulations! Enjoy being a mom!” I was frantically replying with “Don’t worry, I’ll be back SO SOON!” But why? What was the rush? My job would be there when I returned. No one benefitted from my sense of urgency; not my employer, not me, and certainly not Marlo.
This time would be different. It had to be. Since we live in California, I am able to take advantage of a more generous State Disability Law that allows me to start leave NOT the day I give birth, but rather 4 weeks before my estimated due date. What does that mean for someone without her mom driving distance away and a deploying husband? THE WORLD. It means the world. It has granted me the time to get ahead in life as well as automate parts of my life that are sure to be pain points while postpartum, sleep deprived, and minus one husband. Couple things on my to do?
- Hire short term housekeeper – I will not sacrifice precious nap time removing dog hair from the house!
- Prep crockpot frozen meals – mama needs to eat and cooking fresh meals beyond Marlo’s favorites are an unlikely event
- Make postpartum help list – want to help? Check the list!
- Make sure dogs are up to date on everything – this is not an errand I am prepared to tackle with a newborn and a toddler
- Find neighborhood dog walker on Next Door – Want five bucks, kid? Walk my pups!
This has also left me time to nest to my heart’s content. For those that know me, know that I am a Type A, routine-oriented, organizational freak. Nothing brings me more joy than my label maker. Here is a taste of my Nesting List (yes, I have two separate lists, obviously):
- Wash and set up newborn carseat
- clean out/purge white bookshelf
- Pump up birthing ball
- Make room for rocking chair and bassinet in master room
- Clean and organize pump parts
- Clean out deep freezer
- Find Newborn Owlet sock & charge
- Pack labor bag
- …and 18 more to-do’s….
To-do lists aside, this leave has granted me what I need most: time. Time with my husband before he deploys, time with my Marlo before the impending attention split, and time to get into the right mindset for labor.
We are so lucky to have Chelsea and (SURPRISE!) Kyle(!!) here in San Diego with us. Chelsea and I adjusted the visit so that Kyle could come with and surprise KC. Marlo is completely taken by both of them, no surprise there. As I type this, Kyle and KC are frolicking around San Diego together and checking out motorcycle stores. #HarleyDavidson
At this point, I am almost four weeks into this maternity leave and baby watch 2020 is officially in full swing! I will do what I can to relinquish control, reject obligation, and welcome all the help. Easier said than done 😅. My focus will be whole-heartedly on my children and not on rushing back to work.
We can’t wait to share the confirmed news of his arrival with you all! Stay tuned!