I recently asked my parent friends and followers a question; what’s the one thing you wish you had done whilst on maternity/paternity leave and didn’t get to do?
Here are their top 10
- Kelly Allen, a fellow blogger said: “I wish I had gone for a meal completely by myself with a good book. No talking or cold food.”
- “I wish I had started going to some mother and baby classes that were on the days I would not be working on, so that I could have kept them up when I went back to work.”
- Money issues seem to come up as a number one concern whilst off on maternity leave with a number of people saying they wished they hadn’t stressed about the pounds and pennies so much. Blogger Leah Lisgo Munden said “Money was really tight, but that time with your baby goes so fast. I was so worried about making some extra money that I missed out on just being with my baby.”
- Likewise Hayley Stainton who writes a blog called lifeasabutterfly.com said she went back early because she was worried about money. She regretted it ever since.
- Some useful advice if you tend to stay in the house a lot from blogger Victoria Glass. She said she wished she had met up with friends more often. Her little one didn’t sleep at night so she stayed at home a lot and wallowed in self-pity (her words, not mine!!) She said that when she did start going out she felt so much better just for being out the house, but then realised her maternity leave was nearly over
- Helen at Welsh Mum Writing advised parents to do taster sessions for classes like swimming and play. She said she dived into a few and committed early on, but in reality they weren’t always right for her and her baby. They were also difficult to maintain when she went back to work. Helen explained: “Trying out different activities and places while you have the time enables you to cherry pick the ones that suit your all best, including your return to work schedule. You are more likely to keep doing them and maintain a network of Mum friends and peers that way.”
- Lou Burns (who blogs about similar issues to me on her blog babyandtheboardroom) wished she had got out more and used her time wisely. Lou said, “I spent months sitting in my PJs with Phil & Holly on the TV because I couldn’t get myself going. It was just easier to stay at home and enjoy the time with my baby one on one. However, with hindsight doing this definitely impacted on my mental health. I got low and felt isolated. I opted to laze about in the house instead of getting out and meeting other mums and building relationships with others. It was just easier for me that way. The moment I went back to work I regretted not making more of the time I had off and I still feel that regret to this day. I enjoyed my time with my baby either way, but I definitely think it would have been so much better for myself and my baby’s wellbeing to get myself out there.”
- Napping was also a key topic of conversation, with many wishing they had made more of the zzzzz’s. One lady said, “I wish I had napped more in the day whilst my baby was asleep. Now I’m back at work I can’t take a quick 20 minute nap in the day. I shouldn’t have spent some much time doing chores and taken some more time for me.”
- Freelance writer and mum to two girls, Natalie confided “I wish I’d used my maternity leave with my eldest to build up a business that I could work on from home so I didn’t have to go back to work when she was three months old. It’s what I did when I had my second and ended up being happier and having more time with her as a baby.”
- Personally, I wish I had taken a few more long weekends away with James and Amelia. I spent so long worrying that she wouldn’t deal well with the change of location, change of routine, new cot environment etc that we didn’t head off somewhere even locally. Looking back now I should have done more of this whilst I still could knowing that I could have sorted the packing leisurely, rather than rushing back from work in a panic to load the car.