During the first few weeks of my first maternity leave, I considered it a successful day if I was able to check brushing my teeth and showering off my to-do list. In comparison to my typically hectic days, these days felt oddly unproductive. It took awhile to get adjusted to this and stop feeling guilty about it. I eventually began to recognize how productive I actually was, as I was bonding with my infant, breastfeeding him, and helping him grow. And being a new mom is VERY hard work. As a mom who works outside the home, those weeks of maternity leave would be the longest extended period of time I would have home with my son and so I started to savor the time we had together.
For my second maternity leave, I was able to take more time off. With this additional time, I felt the need to make a list of things that I wanted to accomplish. This included things like attending a medical conference, refinishing a piece of furniture, taking a cooking lesson, going to a museum, and trying new recipes. I apparently forgot in the two years between my children how exhausting newborns are and how maternity leave isn’t meant to be about keeping busy but about bonding. So while I have tackled some of the things on my maternity leave bucket list already (with the help of friends and family), I am happy that the next few weeks are unplanned and uncommitted. I am enjoying the outings and hobbies that I am able to accomplish but not pressuring myself to do anything in particular on a given day. G and I have as much fun snuggling on the couch and cooing at each other as we do any other activity. My primary job these days is breastfeeding and watching my precious baby girl grow and learn, and nothing feels more productive than doing that all day.