So, I’m sitting here on my first day without Violet. I dropped her at nursery at 9am this morning and managed to leave without tears (from either of us!) As I ran through the reception I hoped no one would stop to chat as I felt the tears burning my eyes. I only just made it back to the safety of the car as they started to roll. It’s only natural right? Today is actually a really significant day for both of us. It’s not just the start of nursery – it’s the end of an era. Life is changing now in a big way. I’ve only had a couple of hours away from Violet since she was born so this will come as a big shock to me too. I think to myself – am I upset as Violet has to go to nursery or am I sad my maternity leave is over? Both. It’s been the best year of my life! Its not been the easiest but it’s been the most rewarding, hands down and I’ve loved every moment of being a stay-at-home Mummy to Violet.
So, with my new found freedom before work begins I’ve decided to treat myself to a ‘me day’ as a present to myself for surviving a years maternity leave and keeping another human alive for that time too. I’d saved some vouchers over from Christmas to I headed into Brighton and went head first straight into the make up stores (after a brief blip Mothercare, until I realised today is about ME for once and avoided ALL baby shops). Browsing the bright cosmetic displays I almost felt like an imposter – in my frumpy raincoat and maternity jeans, I certainly feel a different person to that before children but I’m determined to pick myself up some new treats and get myself back on my feet as ‘me’ instead of Violet’s Mummy. I pick up all the products I’ve lusted after over the last year, skincare to make me feel glowing, foundation, concealer, a new gel polish, it all goes in the bag – time for a treat!
Next up was my hair appointment, drab hair be gone! I finally tackled the roots that I’ve put up with for 10 months as I’ve not had time to get my hair done. I swear getting your hair done makes you feel like a new person again!
I’m feeling reflective today so looking back over my maternity leave – I feel like it’s gone by in a flash! The first few months was adjusting to life with a baby. I’d sit for hours on the sofa feeding Violet and watching endless Netflix series in a haze of sleepless nights and learning how to keep a baby human alive. The summer was packed with walks along the beach in the sunshine, I had the best tan I have ever had from being outside so much, I worked hard on my blog – mainly as Violet couldn’t move far so looking after her was a breeze! The last part has been busy – Violet is on the move and needs so much more interaction so I’ve been flitting between softplays, play dates or just chasing her round the house, she doesn’t stay still for two seconds, I think this has been the hardest part overall as it’s hard to get anything done with a baby who wants to pull the entire kitchen cupboard out, repetitively.
Before my maternity I wrote this maternity leave bucket list post – I think I’ve done pretty well ticking a few things off my list, I think Violet’s must have missed the memo when I said I planned to ‘rest and relax’ though! Crafting also went out of the window, Violet’s scrapbook is still in pieces will a stack of photos that need sticking in – I’ll get round to it one day (not sure when!).
I have spent 80% (at least) of my maternity leave at home with Violet and I wonder if maybe I should have got out more, made more Mummy-friends or given Violet more stimulation – but actually being a full-time Mum and looking after the house is REALLY hard, I don’t give myself enough credit for the amount of housework, cleaning, night feeds, nappies changes and meals I’ve cooked over the last year – that is a job in itself!
So, this is the end of my maternity leave and I can safely say being a parent has shaped me into a different person to that I was before. I’ve learned to be confident, to speak my mind, to be independent and to care unconditionally for others. I don’t feel I’ll be returning to work the person I was before, I am the same ‘me’ inside, but I’ve added so many more strings to my bow and my priorities have changed so much. All thanks to a little girl, named Violet.
It’s the end of an era. Onto the next chapter…