Maternity Leave - the long and short of it

One thing I have noticed since becoming pregnant and having my beautiful tiny human, is that everyone and their Uncle has hundreds of opinions about the choices you make. 

It still amazes me that people have time in their busy lives to actually care about the choices I (and my husband - sometimes) make about our family!! It is so thoughtful of you to provide these unrelenting opinions... you really didn’t need too! Seriously!!  

Amongst the MANY opinions I have received during my baby’s five months of living, the one that really winds me up and fills me with a rage akin to hell’s fire, are the comments about my maternity leave.  

Let me paint a picture for you, when I found out I was pregnant I was in the middle of taking on a new job. Now I felt it was only fair that I tell them I was pregnant, it was still early days but I wanted to be up front. I was super lucky everything worked out well for me, the new company ( people I had know for a while) made everything work for me, even went above and beyond for my maternity pay) My being pregnant hadn’t deterred them from continuing with the hiring process, if fact they reiterated how much they wanted me on board! Talk about hitting the boss jack pot or what! 

Now for my maternity leave, I didn’t take what many would consider to be the traditional route (use of air quotes is encouraged!) Instead I opted to take four months off, after that I would return to work, key point here is that I work from home, when not travelling. Now when people heard that I was taking “only” four months off the comments were, well, rather annoying! 

That’s not long enough” “It’s not fair on the baby” “Not going back part-time?”  

Now there’s nothing like being made to feel like a shitty mother, or a selfish parent that comments like that. I have never justified myself to these people, I just simply smile nod and walk away, never letting the tirade of profanities leave my mouth.   “It’ll do you and the baby no good” “It’s a little selfish of you, your baby needs you at home”

I think I will always be astounded my peoples comments and opinions regarding my parenting skills and just how freely they are forced upon you. I didn’t realise just how much my actions affected them, maybe that makes me stupid!  (can you hear my eyes rolling?!)

I see it as a good thing going back to work, I am very lucky that my employer is so good to me. And in turn why shouldn’t I be the best employer I can be! I mean within three weeks of having my baby, my two bosses came to visit, bought gifts, sent flowers and really put me at ease. Everything was my choice and they supported that! And why shouldn’t I return to work, I can’t show my daughter what I can do and do, do with my life.  

Being a working mum doesn’t make you a bad mum. Working full or part time doesn’t make you a bad parent. If you are lucky enough to being with your babies all the time, then that is just as good. My point is really let’s stop being so judgemental, everyone situation is different, no one is perfect, no one else gets it right all the time. As long as you parent to the best of your ability and you raise a good person, what does it matter if you went back to work after a day, week, month, year or decade??? Surely there are more important things to worry about, like how am I going to make it through the rest of lent without chocolate? Will I be able to get tickets to the spice girls reunion? And hoping to all hopes that greys anatomy never ends!