Maternity leave is hard. No, maternity leave is definitely not a staycation. At the same time, it’s definitely been some of the most treasured days of my life. Here’s a look at my day to day:
I wake up int he morning usually because I hear his little grunts (if he’s hungry or needs a changing) or his coos (if he’s happy and awake and just waiting for the day to begin). I quickly change his full diaper and then I get my pump ready. I feed him one on side while pump on the other. Burp him if needed, put him down, then prep whatever was pumped to be put in the freezer. Take dogs out so they can do their morning business and so I can get a little Vitamin D. Clean dogs feet, change into day clothes, wash up. Check on caterpillar, usually change a poopy diaper, and then hold him for a little bit as he goes down for a morning nap. Heat up some coffee and try to find something quick to eat with it. Pending on the day, I either do some reading or log in remotely to work. Caterpillar wakes up for another meal or diaper change. When he goes down for another nap, I try to either rest or log back into work. At some point in the day I have him practice tummy time then lay him down as I read to him about 2-3 chapters of the Bible. He tends to usually enjoy this time, I think it’s the voices I make as I try to pronounce all the names (we’re still in the Old Testament). At another point in the day, I put on some Korean children songs so we can practice our Korean (okay so it’s just me practicing my Korean, whatevs). Towards evening I put on some worship songs or some bible verse songs so we can worship together. Every other day we give him a bath and then he has his last feeding before we fall asleep together.
The days don’t seem like much, but it’s been some of the most fulfilling days of my entire life. Someone described motherhood by saying the days are long but the weeks are short. I have to disagree, the days are incredibly short as I wish I could freeze time. Though it’s not over yet, I’m already mourning these final days of my maternity leave. In just a few short weeks I’ll be fully back at work and I’ll be looking back on these days of singing and dancing with him and grieving the days lost. I’ll be wishing deeply in my heart that I’m not missing any milestones and that he’s still smiling and cooing just as much without me. I’ll be wondering if his poop looks healthy and if he’s enjoying the thawed out milk I pumped weeks in advance. I’ll be wondering how long he’s napping and if he remembers our singalong times. I’ll be trying to remember his soft smell while in my cubicle and imagining kissing his nose in a way that makes him do a half scowl/smile. I’ll be picturing in my head which onesie he’s wearing at the next moment because he probably spit up so much he needed another change. And so even as I hold him and enjoy him during my maternity leave now, I already grieve the loss of our time together. I’m already missing the memories we’re making in this moment. I’m begging time to slow down so I can enjoy each and every second of each and every hour of every single day. Maternity leave is hard because it’s just too good.