Despite my rage about maternity leave*, I have found myself daydreaming lately about my time at home with The Lad.
Between antsiness at being home and anxiety over going back to work and leaving my BABY!, I didn't fully appreciate my maternity leave with The Boy. Going in, I had no idea what caring for a newborn would be like and couldn't imagine how I'd fill the hours. (Quit laughing. I've worked since I was 16; I've never gone longer than 10 weeks without a job and that was when I was studying in another country.) Of course, as all parents do, I discovered plenty to keep me busy. Diapers and napping and tummytime and fretting over feeding schedules and endless loads of laundry ate up a day before I knew it. Yet, truthfully, I still was a little bored. I found a pleading e-mail sent to some girlfriends about three weeks after The Boy's birth begging them to meet for lunch or dinner, so I could have some conversation that didn't revolve around the color of the baby's poo.
But, looking back at my leave with The Boy, I see golden hours spent napping while he napped or lying on the floor next to him, reading aloud while he discovered his hands, or taking leisurely walks around our neighborhood. I read nine books the February after The Boy was born. I baked cookies and muffins and gave them away to neighbors. I spent hours trolling the Internet for parenting blogs. I arranged my day around the programming schedule of BBC America.
Work has been very busy lately. I could really use that kind of break again. I've been remembering how baby schedules work and debating if a morning or afternoon walk would fit in best, considering The Boy's daycare drop-off and pick-up times. (We've decided to keep The Boy in daycare while I'm on leave because we have to pay for the spot anyway and hope that keeping him on his regular schedule will minimize problems. Not having to wrangle a toddler makes baby-wrangling seem easy.) I have lists of books I want to read and shows I want to watch.
Of course, I am aware that the Universal Law of Parenting Contrariness means that because I am planning all of this, I will get a baby who never sleeps and demands constant attention, and instead spend my leave covered in spit-up and desperate for sleep. Still. A momma can dream.
What should I put on my to-do list?
*Also, some good news about maternity leave: Since The Boy was born, our company policy has changed so I don't have to use ALL of my vacation/sick time before unpaid leave kicks in. I just have to use up a week. Not sure how that changes things -- we need to do the math to see what we can afford -- but it was a pleasant surprise.