Cons to being on Maternity Leave
Limited Adult Conversation
I admit I'm not that outgoing of a person naturally and I didn't have a job where I was in a lot of regular meetings or on the phone frequently, but I still had a lot more adult conversation than I do now! Most of my day is spent one on one with my son alone which is different than working in an office with little privacy, and lots of people dropping by to request help with one thing or another.
To keep myself from getting isolated because of this I try to go out at least once a day and connect with friends a few times a week, even if it's just through email.
Less Freedom to Come & Go
Some days it's such an effort to just keep up with my little guy, let alone think about going outside of the house somewhere! Luckily my son was born in the summer so the beautiful, warm, and sunny weather usually beckoned me outside at least for a little jaunt or two. It's not the same as before I was a mom, when at any moment you could just grab your purse and go with out a second thought. So although I have more freedom to do what I want with my time than when I was working 8 or 9 hours a day, it's not so simple.
To make things easier to do a quick get up and go, I keep baby essentials in a small bag at the door that can be grabbed quickly and put into any handbag. I also keep multiple toys and blankets in both cars and our little umbrella stroller in our small car and the larger stroller in the larger car. At least then I can leave and it's not as big of a planning expedition.
When I was working I used to shop quickly on my coffee break and at lunch time. Since I worked in downtown Toronto I had many different places to shop and I didn't have to rush. I also admittedly shopped for totally "selfish" reasons, including new shoes, purses, clothes, and other accessories. My only real limit was my budget. Now I technically have more time to shop since I'm not working but have to either push my son in a stroller or carry him in a baby carrier which I prefer. I hate maneuvering the stroller so most days I carry my son in the carrier which limits the number of bags I can carry since I'm already carrying him! Obviously the shopping budget is different now being on leave too...
I've found the best way to deal with the shopping changes are to go with the flow. Since my son prefers the baby carrier, that's what I use, just so I can at least go shopping and keep him happy and quiet. Sure it would be easier to have him sitting quietly in the stroller so I wouldn't have to schlep bags on top of carrying him. The problem when I put him in a stroller he always seems to only last 30 minutes before he starts screaming and then I end up carrying him and somehow pushing the stroller too. Not a good idea.
Having such a major change in your life as welcoming a beautiful baby comes with it's many adventures, delights and challenges. Everyone learns as they go along what works for them and their family and what keeps their little one happy. Everyday is a learning experience, way more than when I was at work.
How did being on maternity leave compare to working for you? What were the biggest pluses and minuses of your new routine?