And just like that, my maternity leave is over. Like a giant countdown clock in the sky thats been ticking louder and louder until the familiar music plays, my time is up and it’s time to face the reality of working life again. In fact, this time tomorrow I’ll be at work, which seems a crazy, surreal feeling – but I’m sure I’ll settle back in quickly. It’ll be like nothing changed, I’m sure. I’ll just have added a nursery run to my old commute and have a little person in the back of my mind all day. Other than that, I’m sure the office looks, feels and smells like it always did. The same familiar faces will greet me and the same work I used to do with my eyes closed will continue. I’m sure it’ll all come flooding back to me – pregnancy and motherhood couldn’t have killed off too many of my brain cells, could it? It’ll be fine. It’ll be fine (can you tell I’m talking myself into this?).
However, feeling nostalgic on my last few moments, I’ve put together a round up of the most amazing year of my life – we’ll call it the year of Ultra Violet. We have done SO much together and I’ve honestly loved every moment of becoming a Mummy, the rough, the smooth, the exhausted and the ecstatic. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
So, here is a round up of our year…
JANUARY – MARCH : In January I waddled round, heavily pregnant. I took lots of long walks with Robbie and went for pregnancy massages. I nested, cleaned the house like a mad woman and had endless coffees and catch ups with friends. I thought maternity leave was going to be a piece of cake, I had so much time. Things were about to change….!! February brought along VIOLET! My birth didn’t go to plan at all, bringing her home was overwhelming – all this responsibility of a small person! We were up 24/7, she was feeding every 3 hours, we changed endless nappies, babygrows etc – with the washing machine on constant go. I had problems with breastfeeding and felt daunted to leave the house as Violet would just scream and scream. I felt like people were turning round and looking at me. (I’ve now learned – they weren’t, or if they were, they probably wanted to help) The first few months weren’t easy. We sat on the sofa a lot, we watched a LOT of Netflix. Eventually Violet calmed a bit and I got my confidence as a new Mum. We started off by taking little journeys into the village, then eventually into Brighton. I felt like a new person and enjoyed pushing my pram around with pride. I think this part of parenthood shocked me, I expected to be up and about within days of giving birth, baby happily sleeping in a sling. It wasn’t quite like that, but we got by!
APRIL – JUNE: Having a February baby meant Violet was old enough to enjoy some of the summer! We were out all the time, taking walks with Robbie, she laid in her little sun-tent on the beach whilst I read my book. It was just perfect timing with the weather. Violet started swimming lessons and I started to meet other Mums, which was really lovely for doing things together and getting out the house a bit more. Violet tried her first foods and rolled over. I was so proud.
JULY – SEPTEMBER: In July, Violet went on her first holiday. We went away to France which was lovely but it was a bit too hot for Violet. We got to play in the paddling pool, eat lots of yummy food and pose in the sunflower fields, so thats all that matters! In August, Violet met Peter Andre at a blog event and tried chocolate ice cream. I felt like I was getting used to being a mother – used to the chaos of each day, the exhaustion, the endless cleaning, laundry, preparing food, washing up, it was like being on a hamster wheel – but in a good way. I love caring for Violet and pretending I’m a domestic goddess, I was in my element. Especially when I realised Violet loved the hoover so we’d play music and dance around with the hoover. This is real maternity leave life – right?
OCTOBER – DECEMBER: I’ve absolutely loved the last few months of 2017 as Violet has been so much fun! She started crawling at 7 months so there was NO stopping her, she started to become more chatty and so fun to be around. We did lots of day trips to places like the Sealife centre, the circus, the zoo. She loved every moment. She made friends with other babies and joined groups like Music Bugs. I felt in my stride with maternity leave and like it would never end, we were in our routine now – surely this is just how life is going to be?
JANUARY – MARCH: And just like that, a year was over so my last few weeks were upon us. With the end in sight, I’ve tried to cram as much in as possible, although the early stages of pregnancy got in the way a bit – leaving me feeling pretty tired by the end of each day. We still met up with lots of friends and went for as many soft-play dates as possible, but with sensible things have taken over for the last few months – buying a house, settling Violet into nursery and the endless stream of colds and bugs, this has been a tough ending to an amazing year. In the last couple of weeks there have been many tears about the impending changes to come and the uncertainty. I have found the thought of being away from Violet absolutely heartbreaking, to the point I’d sit in her nursery in floods of tears during her nap, wondering if this was the right thing to do. But with time to get my head around it I think the sadness is over as much as it’ll ever be. I’m ready to just get going with it now and embrace the changes that are coming.
So, all in all – it’s with great sadness that my year is over, but here is to a new start back at work! Maternity leave has been an amazing time – it’s challenged me, taken me out of my comfort zone, pushed me to grow as a person as well as being exhausting, frustrating, stressful and chaotic. It hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been amazing. ?