Did you worry about staying relevant during maternity leave?

I know, I know. This photo is the ultimate motherhood cliché. The thing is, it’s real. It’s an honest depiction of what my life was like for a good challenging few months after Elliot was born. It may not be original (I certainly am not the first to travel this road.) but it is authentic. Jim quickly snapped this picture after walking through the door one evening after work.

Silly me, I thought that after having Elliot, it would be fine and fun to have Harper home with me full-time as well. So I yanked her out of daycare to save some money and to spend some more quality time with her, or so I thought. I was quickly tossed into a parallel universe where the days would go by so incredibly slowly and yet there was never enough time to do anything. I was freaking out that I was falling into this isolated world with no concept of what was happening on the outside and that I would somehow become completely irrelevant. I should mention that I lived 500 miles away from my friends and family at the time and making friends was as painful as childbirth recovery. (Ok, slight exaggeration.) I didn’t yet understand or appreciate that my mom experiences were the ones that would be the conversation starters. Not the pop culture current events or my opinion on the Congressional budget standoff. That said, it was important for me to have significance outside of this (photo above) world that seemed all-consuming. It was important for me to feel connected to something beyond my two most triumphant biological achievements.

Just as every baby, every birth, and every mother is unique, it only makes sense that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to maternity leave. I realize there may be other moms out there who had a completely different experience. Those who recognized that maternity leave is fleeting and sacred and had no problem with simply checking out for a few months without reservation.

I’m so curious, what camp did you fall into?  If you were like me, what did you do to stay in the know or connected at work? I found much comfort when one of my best friends at work would call to check in, even though they technically weren’t supposed to. I also relied heavily on The Skimm (and still do today) to be able to quickly digest the top headlines.

Now that I’m home with the girls more, there are still days when I feel disconnected, but at the same time, I am trying to limit the time the girls see me glued to my phone. When I try to sneak in a little NPR in the car, they catch me right away and enthusiastically shout out their playlist requests not unlike their mom used to from the heat of a raging dance floor.

At this moment in my life, the only thing I’m okay with being antiquated is my taste in music and my occasional nostalgic wardrobe preferences. With respect to everything else, I’m convinced there’s got to be an efficient way to stay in the know. I’d love to hear what has worked or what is working for you.

 

6 thoughts on “Did you worry about staying relevant during maternity leave?

  1. Thanks to your wonderful recommendation, I still read The Skimm as well. Maternity leave is also when I began to follow my local news outlets (TV and newspaper) on Twitter, just so I didn’t miss the main stories from the day. From a work standpoint, my awesome team let me completely check-out. That part was a dream!

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  2. I quit working and didn’t look back after our first. I had an amazing network of mamas I met up with every week and I was so absorbed and in love with motherhood. After our second, I was thousands of miles away from said mama group and had planned to go back to work after six months, which really ended up being one. I plunged into a terrible depression. It was lonely and awful and absolutely chaotic. I can’t really offer anything because my two situations were so different!!! But the fact is: we get through it. And when we need help, we’ve got to ask. I had lots of counseling after our second and it was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

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    1. Such a wonderful point, Lindsey. We do get through it, as tough as it may be. I also went to counseling after my first while I was pregnant with my second and I whole heartedly agree – best decision ever.

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