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.