The other week I had a post-delivery appointment at my OB/GYN and there was another mother there, also with a newborn. She was impeccably dressed and immaculately groomed, like she just stepped off a runway somewhere. I was lucky to have showered that morning and managed to swipe some lipstick on, was still in maternity clothes, and feeling rather drowsy without my half-caf cup of coffee. Some people really do live the fantasy, I guess.
Here are some other fantasies I have had about how I would spend time during both of my maternity leaves, and the actual corresponding realities:
Maternity Leave Fantasy: Rent movies that I never had a chance to see/chick flicks that I would not make my husband see.
Maternity Leave Reality: Watch whatever I can get for free on basic cable. The other day the only decent thing on 800 channels of cable was a circa 1971 film about Tzar Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, Rasputin and the Russian Revolution – really uplifting!.
ML Fantasy: I will take the steps necessary to get my college honors thesis published somehow.
ML Reality: Writing 5 dozen thank you notes – seems more time consuming than getting a thesis published.
Fantasy: Take long walks with baby and feel really fit!
Reality: “Sleep when the baby sleeps.”
Fantasy: Read intellectually stimulating books I’ve been meaning to read.
Reality: Re-reading What to Expect to figure out just how many dirty diapers are too many…
Of course, there are things about being home on leave that have far exceeded my recollections or expectations:
- Being able to differentiate the “hungry” cry from the “I’m wet” or “I’m tired” cry.
- The lovely feel of peach fuzz on a little bald head.
- The sound of “Hi Mama” happily shouted up the stairs by my 4 year-old coming home from preschool.
- Visits with friends, even if I can’t complete a conversation because of kid interruptions.
- The freedom to not worry about work, probably for the last time in my life until I retire.
- The two minutes after both kids have gone to sleep when my husband and I relax and tell each other how lucky and happy we are.
Someone else can have my fantasy. I’ll take my reality any day.