Why maternity leave is NOT a holiday

Punta Cana

I recently went out (for a beer – in a pub!) with some old work colleagues. One of them asked how long I’d been off on maternity leave.

“Five months,” I said.

“I quite fancy a five month holiday,” he said.

I know he was joking, but let’s be clear – maternity leave is NOT a holiday. Here’s a simple guide to the difference between a holiday and maternity leave:

Holiday: Travel to an exotic location – a remote island, a cosmopolitan city, a tropical beach resort, a scenic mountain village.

Maternity leave: Travel as far as your local supermarket. Congratulate yourself on being out of the house – until you get to the canned goods aisle and realise that you forgot to re-hook your nursing bra.

Holiday: Time to treat yo’ self. Expensive wine? Souvenir that you know you don’t really need? Massage at the hotel spa? Go on – you’re on holiday!

Maternity leave: Indulge in a daily shower and a cup of warmish tea – maybe.

Holiday: Sleep in as late as you want.

Maternity leave: Sleep until the baby wakes up. For the fifth time. Probably around 6am.

Holiday: Fill your days with leisure activities – visiting museums, lounging on the beach, trying new foods, day drinking.

Maternity leave: Spend your days waving toys in your baby’s face, changing nappies and wiping spit-up off your top.

Holiday: Post lots of pictures of your holiday on social media to make all your friends jealous.

Maternity leave: Post lots of pictures of your baby on social media to make all your friends jealous.*

*Okay, this is the exception. Otherwise holidays and maternity leave are NOTHING alike.

2 Comment

  1. wonderfulandaverage says: Reply

    This is great! People talked about my ‘year off’ work, when I was more exhausted during my maternity leave than I ever was when working full time! In fact I could have done with a holiday after my maternity leave… although it’s not quite as relaxing post-baby. I feel your pain with the night waking (at his worst T woke up every 45 minutes) remember the mantra of motherhood- this too shall pass. Xx

  2. That’s what I keep telling myself! Thankfully, we seem to be moving past the up-every-hour stage that plagued us for the last month.

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