Maternity Leave Reflections
With only a few days left of maternity leave, I find myself a roller coaster of emotions. How did 18 months go so fast?! Actually, how did the last 3 years go so fast (I was only back at my nursing job for 7 months between maternity leaves). I now know why every person with kids over the age of 18 says “they grow up too fast”. They do, and it is terrifying.
When I was 9 months into this current leave, I was given the option to extend it to 18 months. My first reaction was NO THANKS (I can distinctly remember having a very rough morning with the girls). Because, here’s the thing, being home full-time with young kids is the hardest thing I have ever done in my whole life. It is a wild misconception that maternity leave is like vacation. I think I went into the second maternity leave with a lot more realistic expectations (ie. not a massive list of personal goals I was going to accomplish) and even still, adjusting to TWO was a whole new ball game. Crawling into bed at 8 pm with a parenting book to drown my mom guilt was a fairly regular occurrence. I would also find myself feeling like I was on vacation during rare/short breaks from the kids (like in a doctor’s office waiting room - so pathetic right haha). So the idea of getting out of the house to work while someone else managed the hooligans all day sounded like a dream right around the 9 month mark - I was craving adult conversations, pee breaks in privacy, and finishing a whole cup of hot tea.
BUT, as crazy as my kids make me sometimes, I love them more than anything else in this world. Every Mom has to make this incredibly tough decision of what the right balance is for them and their family among the realistic options. In the end, for me, it felt right for me to stay home an extra six months with our sensitive little firecracker who was already throwing big temper tantrums for a baby. And this strange thing happened - I actually started settling into my Mom-role and loving it more than I ever have. Being a Mom is now my favourite part of me. I’m not saying I greet every challenge with a warm embrace, but overall I think I’m finally learning to embrace that chaos. And no matter how imperfect of a parent I am, I now feel more confident that I am everything to my girls (even if I need a daily pep talk on this). The fact that Farrin finally started sleeping through the night after her first year probably helped with a bit more positive outlook too. And I also started focusing a lot more time to photography which gave me that kid-free break I was needing and a passion and challenge all to myself. So I think these past 6 months were actually so important for my family, and also for me.
These 3 family films below will be a good way for me to always remember this time in my life. In the past 6 months I learned how to make family films, and most importantly got to watch my own two girls grow in a very special time in their lives. At the end of maternity leave, it is very easy for me to get wrapped up on everything else I should have done - like taken a few naps, drank a few more lattes, read some more books, gone for some runs, etc etc, but in the end I know I was right where I needed to be, loving my two little girls and giving them all of me. I think these films will always remind me that I should have no regrets. And as I enter this new phase of life, trying to achieve a balance with more things on my plate, I know I won’t ever lose the effort and love I put into this past phase of life!