If I had a coin for every time someone (read 'some man') has said "four months maternity leave? Jeeeeeez I could do with a holiday like that!" I'd be a bazillionaire. A bazillionaire in jail because after I had taken the coin I'd smash their (read 'his) head in with a rather heavy Nan formula tin.
With Emma I didn't get maternity leave. I was on contract at a company and her arrival was a little sudden which meant I hadn't given them the obligatory notice. Also I was at a place of work where I was older than the SVP, so parenting was as unfamiliar as using vowels in a text message.
I struggled through three hourly feeds, broken sleep, a full days work and new found motherhood. But the adrenalin kept me going and I juggled a nine to six job and being a mom to a brand new squishy bundle of poo and vomit.
If I knew what maternity leave ACTUALLY entailed I would have turned it down when Ben came along. Never ending days filled with drooling, dribbling and non-stop crying (me) and a colicky angry baby that wouldn't-couldn't sleep.
Night and day became a blur, with me getting up at 3am, way before the sparrows had even given farting a thought and Dawn hadn't cracked a smile. I would wash bottles, sterilize them, fill them with boiling water, wait for them to cool down, add formula, shake, feed and repeat. And repeat and repeat and repeat.
Some days included the intention of getting out to do grocery shopping. The list was ready. The cupboards empty. But I was on the couch, in my pyjamas, rocking a screaming baby backwards and forwards at three in the afternoon.
My to do list went from:
Decorate Emma's room
Reread The Odyssey
Write a best selling novel
Adult company was sorely missed and desperately needed, but if a visitor popped in all I could manage was mumbled incomprehensible words which might have included 'help', 'insane', 'me', 'going'.
I missed my old routine. I missed getting dressed for work. In fact I missed getting dressed. Sitting in traffic was something I reminisced about because it sure as hell beat sitting in a crumpled heap on the floor with a screaming toddler. Road rage has nothing on 'baby rage' and I would have happily taken on some egomaniac in his luxury car than an angry baby.
If time flies when you're having fun, then it drags when you're on maternity leave. Yes, the bonding with the new baby is great, and essential. The quick cat naps during the day are also necessary but by the time those four months are over you're rearing to get back to work...so that you can have a holiday.